Catholic Conference of Ohio
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

News & Press - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Pope Francis Promotes Further Understanding of the Death Penalty

Calls the Death Penalty an "Inhumane Measure"

In an Oct. 11, 2017 speech to members of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Pope Francis said the topic of the death penalty should have “a more adequate and coherent space” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

"...It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity.  It is per se contrary to the Gospel, because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator and of which – ultimately – only God is the true judge and guarantor.  No man, “not even a murderer, loses his personal dignity" (Letter to the President of the International Commission against the Death Penalty, 20 March 2015), because God is a Father who always awaits the return of his children who, knowing that they have made mistakes, ask for forgiveness and begin a new life.  No one ought to be deprived not only of life, but also of the chance for a moral and existential redemption that in turn can benefit the community..."

Read the full statement

Calls Urged to Governor Kasich to Commute Death Sentence of Alva Campbell

Execution scheduled for November 15, 2017

Alva Campell's legal team is asking that Gov. John Kasich commute his sentence to life in prison. Or, failing that, the attorneys are asking Kasich to delay Campbell’s execution for a year, expecting him to die in the interim.

Campbell’s attorneys say he is debilitated by cardiopulmonary issues. Most of his right lung has been removed, and he has emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and possibly cancer in much of his remaining lung tissue, Campbell’s application for executive clemency says. In addition, his prostate gland has been removed, as has a gangrenous colon. A broken hip last year has confined him to a walker.

Also justifying mercy for Campbell, his attorneys say, was a nightmarish childhood of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of a drunken father.

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CONTACT GOVERNOR KASICH:

CALL THROUGH THE OTSE HOTLINE: 1-855-782-6925

Catholic Mobilizing Network: Ending the Death Penalty

Respect Life Month Toolkit

Building a Culture of Life: Ending the Death Penalty 
Respect Life Toolkit

2017 Respect Life Program Brochure on Death Penalty

 

 

 Death Penalty: Catholic Q & A

 PDF Version

 

 

 

 

Respect Life Program 2017

"Be Not Afraid" is this Year's Theme

Respect Life Sunday is observed every year on the first Sunday in October (Respect Life Month). This year's theme, "Be Not Afraid," is featured October 2017 - September 2018.

NEW materials are produced each year to help Catholics understand, value, and become engaged with supporting the God-given dignity of every person—which naturally leads to protecting the gift of every person's life.

Digital Resources

Gary Otte Executed on September 13, 2017

Pronounced dead at 10:54 AM

Gary W. Otte Gary Otte was put to death at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville with a lethal combination of three drugs.

In his final statement, Otte professed his love for his family, sang a Christian hymn and quoted the Bible. He said: “God is good all the time,” and added, “I’m sorry.” Then, he sighed deeply and began singing “The Greatest Thing,” with words such as “I want to know you more” and “I want to serve you more.” He stopped singing at 10:39.

Otte quoted the Bible with his last words: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they’re doing. Amen.” The words were derived from a Bible account of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.

Forty-five-year-old Gary was convicted of the murder of 61-year-old Robert Wasilkowski on February 12, 1992, and for the murder of 45-year-old Sharon Kostura on February 21, 1992, both in Parma, Ohio.  Gary has spent the last 24 years of his life on Ohio’s death row.

May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

We offer our prayers and condolences to the family and friends of Robert Wasikowski and Sharon Kostura. We pray for Mr. Otte and his family and friends.  We pray for governor Kasich and all who must participate in our state executions.  We look forward to the day when the death penalty is only remembered as part of Ohio’s history.

Letter to Governor Kasich asking for clemency

Letter from Gary Otte on Drug Addiction

Harvard Study Finds Most Ohio Death Row Inmates Have Serious Impairments

Ohio Public Radio Reports on this Study

Of the 26 Ohio men set to be executed in the next three years, a review by Harvard Law’s Fair Punishment Project shows almost two thirds suffered serious childhood trauma. Nearly a quarter are likely severely mentally ill and 42% have other impairments such as brain injuries.

Ronald Phillips Executed in Ohio

Declared dead at 10:43 AM on Wednesday, July 26, 2017

After a three-year break, Ohio resumed executions by giving a lethal injection to Ronald Phillips. Mr. Phillips became the 54th person executed in Ohio since executions resumed in 1999.

The Catholic Church believes that the death penalty is an unnecessary and systemically flawed form of punishment. The Catholic Bishops of Ohio sought mercy for Mr. Phillips because of the belief that spiritual conversion is possible and that all life – even that of the worst offender – has value and dignity. 

May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Statement by Sister Helen Prejean

Take the National Catholic Pledge to End the Death Penalty

Catholic Mobilizing Network encourages signers to educate, advocate, and pray for the end of the death penalty

"All Christians and people of good will are called today to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty, whether legal or illegal, and in all its forms, but also in order to improve prison conditions, with respect for the human dignity of the people deprived of their freedom” - Pope Francis

The belief in the dignity of the human person is a pillar of our Catholic faith. The death penalty represents a failure of our society to fulfill the demands of human dignity.

 

Ohio Catholic Bishops Urge Support for HB 81 & SB 40

Prohibiting the Execution of Individuals with Severe Mental Illness

The death penalty is not the answer to the problem of violence committed by persons with severe mental illnesses. The better policy is access to appropriate mental health care.

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