The Bishops of New Jersey came out with a strong statement in opposition to the death penalty. Here is a portion of their statement:
"Consistently, over many decades, the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey have called for the abolishment of the death penalty. Most recently, we spoke out on this issue on February 4, 2005, on July 19, 2006, and on May 8,2007. Our message always is simple – the death penalty takes a human life and should be abolished. Many others have pointed out that the death penalty is not consistent with evolving standards of decency.
The Catholic Church is guided by our belief that every person has an inalienable right to life, because each human being is made in the image and likeness of God, who alone is the absolute Lord of life from its beginning until its end (cf. The Book of Genesis 1:26-28).
We acknowledge that the subject of capital punishment is controversial, emotional and not an easy matter to address. All murders are violent and shocking; some are savage.
They all stir emotions of revulsion and anger. We grieve for the victims of murder, for the brutalization and loss of life. We commiserate with the families and friends of
victims who must suffer with their loss through the years. We recognize the need to improve our criminal justice system and the need for a greater societal commitment to preventing crime and to providing assistance for victims of crime."