National Catholic Reporter

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Massachusetts

Bishops object to death penalty as punishment in Boston bomber case

As the trial of Boston Marathon bombing defendant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went to the jury Monday, the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts released a statement reiterating the church's teaching on the death penalty.

If convicted, Tsarnaev could be sentenced to death or to life without the possibility of parole.

The Catholic church opposes the death penalty except "if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor," but such cases "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."

After court strikes down buffer zone, Massachusetts approves new law

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Attorneys for pro-lifers have decided not to do anything yet about the new buffer zone law around abortion facilities that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed July 30.

But they took issue with the law on various fronts.

"We believe the new buffer zone law is a backdoor attempt to interfere with the constitutional right of free speech in the service of women seeking abortion, whose minds are not made up, women who are looking for the hope, help and love which is Eleanor McCullen's mantra," and that of other sidewalk counselors, said attorney Philip D. Moran.

'Restorative justice,' not death penalty, urged for accused bomber

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In light of the proposed death penalty for 20-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, "Jesus weeps ... again" at the injustice, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men said in a statement Wednesday.

"Christ calls us to love our enemies and travel the long, difficult, but humanizing and liberating road to reconciliation," the conference said.

The CMSM statement came in response to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announcing the federal government will seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev, currently being held in federal prison for his alleged role in the Boston Marathon attacks.

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