The death penalty "offends my faith," one pastor said. "It doesn't deter crime, and it puts vengeance ahead of justice. It is an international embarrassment.
Florida's Catholic bishops on Wednesday urged Gov. Rick Scott "to demonstrate mercy and commute" the death sentence of inmate William Frederick Happ and give him life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Happ, 51, is scheduled to be executed the evening of Oct. 15 at Florida State Prison near Starke.
He has been on Florida's death row for 24 years. Happ was convicted in 1989 in the kidnapping, rape and murder of 21-year-old Angela Crowley of Lauderdale Lakes. He received the death penalty as well as three consecutive life sentences.
Using capital punishment to show that killing is wrong "sanctions revenge," Florida's seven Catholic bishops said in a letter to Gov. Rick Scott.
Asking that Scott commute the death sentences of inmates Elmer Carroll, William Van Poyck and Marshall Gore to life in prison, the bishops said the violence of capital punishment would do little to relieve the pain of the survivors of the men's victims or be helpful to society.