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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
April 5, 1996     The Message
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April 5, 1996
 

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12 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Death penalty debate stirred by movie, tv, bi From Catholic News Service, Message Reports Sister Helen Prejean, a Sister of St. Joseph from New Or- leans, has been the spiritual ad- visor to four men on Death Row over the last 13 years. What she witnessed, described in her 1993 book, Dead Man Walking, has transformed her into one of the nation's leading advocates aainst the death penalty. The motion picture based on her book, starring Susan Saran- don and Sean Penn, has cata- pulted her into the public spot- light. The public television pro- gram, Frontline, explores the reinvigorated public debate over the death penalty through the eyes of victims, their fami- lies and Sister Prejean herself in "Angel on Death Row," on WNIN TV, Evansville, Tues- day, April 9, at 8 p.m. Sister Prejean is among some 2,400 people who have signed a "Declaration of Life." The docu- ment says that if the signer dies as the result of a homicide, he or she does not want the per- son responsible to receive the death penalty. "During my life, I want to feel confident that under no circum- stances whatsoever will my death result in the capital pun- ishment of another human being," the declaration says. Other signers include actor and activist Martin Sheen, for- mer New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and Carolyn McCarthy, a nurse from Mineola, N.Y., whose husband was killed and son severely injured by Colin Ferguson during a shooting spree on the Long Island Rail i LinCo Coffee Services Total Beverage Distributor Indiana-Illinois-Kentucky 46 Varifies of Coffees and Teas i_WHATEVER YOUR TASTE, WE CAN MATCH IT f|  Washington 254-4409 Evansville 422-1833 #3 metal ....... $18.95 to $29.95 sq. 5V and 1-1/2"galv. In Stock OVERHEAD DOORS Over 300 in Stock 9 x 7 Insulated ................. $239.81 TRUSS RAFTERS Any size up to t 00' span POST BUILDING PKGS Any Size -- Call for Free Quotes DMIESS C0. METAL SALES Hwy. 50 E., Cannelburg. 4 mi. E. Montgomery 812-295-4229 Road in December 1993. "I believe that it is morally wrong for my death to be the reason for the killing of an- other human being," the decla- ration reads. "I request the court to allow this declaration to be admissible as a state- ment of the victim at the sen- tencing of the person or per- sons charged and convicted of my homicide; and, to pass sen- tence in accordance with my wishes. "This declaration is not meant to be, and should not be taken as, a statement that the person or persons who have committed my homicide should go unpunished," it adds. The two-page document must be signed, witnessed and notarized The Declaration of Life Cam- paign was organized more than two years ago by Sister Camille D'Arienzo, president of the Sisters of Mercy Brooklyn Regional Community. For information about the Declaration of Life, contact Sis- ter Camille D'Arienzo at the Brooklyn Regional Community, Sisters of Mercy of the Ameri- cas, 273 Willoughby Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205-1487. In New York, New York Car- dinal John J. O'Connor told a group of police officers March 24 that he opposes the death penalty but said Catholics could legitimately make a judgment in favor of it. He said that he and most other U.S. bishops of the United States are against capi- tal punishment, and he said RUXER FORD - LINCOLN - MERCURY Sister Helen Prejean meets with convicted murderer and rapist Robert Lee Willie prior to his execution in 1984. -- Photo Mary Ellen Mark/VOGUE sial action of District Johnson from a the killing of Kevin Gillespie son would sider asking f0 penalty. After years of Mario M. death penalty Pataki won on a supporting allowing became effective in * $ In WarsaW, retary-ge bishops' cized demands the death pen of a growing "The death penalty, treme cases other solution ensure protect!on that Pope John Paul II is dis- couraging its use. But the cardinal emphasized the right of individual Catholics to make their own decisions. "A good Catholic can responsibly be for or against use of the death penalty under certain re- stricted conditions," he said. "It is a matter of judgment." Cardinal O'Connor spoke at an annual Mass for a Holy Name Society organization for police in the three New York City boroughs that are in the Archdiocese of New York -- Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx. St. Patrick's Cathedral was packed, with people standing in the aisles as hundreds of soci- JASPER 482-1200 ety members and their families swelled the usual Sunday morning attendance at the car- dinal's Mass. Having a congregation made up mostly of police officers and the current political situation in New York City and elsewhere in the state produced a charged atmosphere for a homily on the death penalty. Three days earlier Gov. George E. Pataki took the highly unusual and controver- Funeral Homes Four Convenient Locations threat of Bishop TadeuSZ "However, ,we tion in Poland to impose the he said. In an ish Press said he should follow "worldwide re! knowledge "the _, in every perSoi, ing . _,., gerous criminal' ZIEMER 800 S. TAWIL ELECTRONICS, INC. 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