In the Catholic Church in the United States, pastoral statements are offered by individual bishops in particular dioceses, state Catholic conferences of bishops, regional synods of bishops, or the national conference (USCCB) when seeking to apply universal church teaching to particular circumstances or issues. In the case of the death penalty, U.S. bishops have often been strong anti-death penalty advocates for persons sentenced to be executed. Often the Holy See (the Vatican) has also advocated on behalf of the condemned. The list below includes more recent papal and episcopal statements relating to Catholic teaching on the death penalty and its application to particular laws and state-sponsored executions.

Bishop John M. Smith Supports New Jersey's Repeal Of The Death Penalty

In 2007, Bishop John M. Smith came out with a statement praising the state of New Jersey for abolishing the death penalty. Here is a portion of his interview:

"Bishop Smith, who testified before state lawmakers to oppose capital punishment, likewise said the legislators showed “a great deal of courage” to take an unpopular position against the death penalty.

North Dakota Bishop Speaks Against A High Profile Death Penalty Case

In 2006, North Dakota Bishop Samuel Aquila made a strong statement from the Catholic Church opposing the first death penalty case in 100 years in North Dakota. Here is a summary of Bishop Aquila's statement:

"Bishop Samuel Aquila heads the Fargo diocese and says the church recognizes the government has the right to take a life, however Aquila says those cases are rare and that the church believes that life in prison is preferred to the death penalty. Aquila says he hasn't met with Sjodin's family but he realizes the family wants justice.

Catholic Bishop Speaks Out Against the Federal Death Penalty for Terrorism

D.C. has abolished the death penalty. However, the church still speaks out against the federal death penalty. In 2004, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, who at the time was the Archbishop of Washington, came out with a strong statement against the expansion of the federal death penalty for terrorists. Here is a portion of his statement:

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