Issue Date: May 27, 2005
Connecticut bishops continue efforts against capital punishment
By DENNIS CODAY
The death of Michael Ross, the convicted rapist-murderer whose May 13 execution was the first in New England in 45 years, is about much more than a person on death row, according the head of the Connecticut Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the states Catholic bishops.
It is about us as a human society. We failed to prevent our own denigration by this execution, said Marie T. Hilliard, the conference executive director. The bishops had used their pastoral role and the conference offices to lobby for keeping Ross alive, citing in a Jan. 29 news release our deep belief in the need to end a cycle of violence, based on the Gospel imperatives.
Connecticuts bishops have been active this year trying to halt executions.
Hilliard said those who opposed Ross execution were left numb by his execution. Now we have rallied, she said, and are focusing on the future.
With the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty, we are focusing our efforts for the legislative session of 2007, she said, explaining that the legislature focuses on fiscal matters on even years.
Also by 2007, legislative elections will have occurred. There may be some new faces in the legislature, Hilliard said.
The Connecticut bishops got a boost in their efforts in March when the U.S. bishops conference launched the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty, an education program for Catholics and a lobbying effort for state legislatures and Congress. With all of this happening, Hilliard said, we will have enhanced opportunity to change hearts and minds.
Dennis Coday is an NCR staff writer. Claire Schaeffer-Duffy, a freelance writer from Worchester, Mass., contributed to this story.
National Catholic Reporter, May 27, 2005
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