Canada: church says government must continue to oppose death penalty

 In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops voiced its concern yesterday that Mr Harper and the Canadian government are endorsing capital punishment for Canadians being tried by governing bodies in other countries. The 12 members of the Permanent Council are calling on the federal government to reconsider its present stance and return to the earlier policy of intervening with other governments when Canadians are facing a sentence of execution. Capital punishment was removed from Canada's Criminal Code in 1976. After years of debate, the Canadian Parliament decided that capital punishment was not an appropriate penalty. The reasons for this decision were due to the possibility of wrongful convictions, concerns about the state taking the lives of individuals, and uncertainty as to the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent. The their letter the bishops write: "It is basic Catholic teaching that the life and dignity of each human person must be respected and protected without exception. This should especially be true for democracies which are founded on respect for the rights and dignity of each person. As taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2267, civil authorities should limit themselves to non-lethal means to defend and protect people's safety from an aggressor, "as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person." Capital punishment is a serious undermining of human dignity and of basic respect for human life." A Canadian is presently facing the death penalty in the U.S. state of Montana. Source: CCCB

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