The Gospel of Life and Capital Punishment

September 26, 2011

Statement of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops

July 1999

A critical hallmark of the Roman Catholic moral tradition is found in its insistence that the first right of the human person is the right to life. It does not belong to society, nor does it belong to public authority in any form, to recognize this right for some and not for others.

In September of 1985, in response to the reinstitution of the death penalty in the state of California after a moratorium of 21 years, we vigorously defended this fundamental right to life in A Call to Discipleship: The California Bishops’ Statement on Capital Punishment. Our intention was to “affirm our opposition to the use of the death penalty and challenge the people of California, particularly our own Catholic faithful, to examine the issue of capital punishment in the light of the fundamental moral and religious questions that it involves.”

Read the Statement