SEATTLE – The Catholic bishops of Washington state applauded the October 11 decision by the state Supreme Court striking down the death penalty in Washington. The bishops have long been on record as opposing capital punishment.
“We applaud the unanimous state Supreme Court decision issued today finding the death penalty unconstitutional,” Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle said in a release from the Washington State Catholic Conference, which represents the bishops on matters of public policy. “The Catholic Church’s consistent belief is that every human life is sacred from conception until natural death — it is this principle that has energized our efforts for decades to abolish the death penalty.”
Earlier this year, Washington’s Catholic bishops provided testimony in support of legislation to repeal the death penalty, citing the country’s imperfect record in imposing the death penalty, the potential for racial biases, and specific instances where innocent people have been executed for crimes they did not commit. Since 1973, more than 160 people sentenced to death in the U.S. have been exonerated, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
The bishops of Washington include Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and Auxiliary Bishops Eusebio Elizondo and Daniel Mueggenborg of Seattle, Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane and Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima.