Bishops of Florida Appeal to Spare the Life Jerry Correll

October 28, 2015

Catholic Bishops Appeal to Governor Scott to Spare the Life of Jerry Correll;
Community to Pray for an End to the Use of the Death Penalty

October 27, 2015

Tallahassee  – The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops urges Governor Scott to commute the sentence of Jerry Correll, scheduled for execution on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 6:00 p.m., to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Mr. Correll is scheduled to be the 22nd person executed during Governor Scott’s tenure, the most to take place under the watch of any one Florida governor since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.

A just punishment is deserved for the 1985 murders of Susan Correll, Tuesday Correll, Mary Lou Hines and Marybeth Jones. However, in echoing Pope Francis’ call for an end to the use of the death penalty in his September 24, 2015 address to a joint session of Congress, we call on Governor Scott and all leaders to recognize that “a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope”. Spending the remainder of one’s life in prison is a severe punishment, which allows for the prospect of conversion for the sinner and the opportunity to forgive the aggressors wrong doings.

Through advances in our penal system, the state can keep society safe from an aggressor and justice can be served without resorting to the deliberate taking of a person’s life. Everyone, even people who have caused great harm, possess a human dignity that is sacred. State-sanctioned killing is unwarranted, promotes vengeance rather than justice, and reinforces a growing disrespect for the sacredness of all human life.

Catholic faithful and members of the community will gather to pray for both victim and aggressor, and their families, for our society which continues to impose violence in return for violence, and for an end to the use of the death penalty.

To read the statement and a listing of prayer vigils, visit the Florida Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops website.