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Federal Judge Carolyn Dineen King Speaks on the Death Penalty at Red Mass
October 4, 2006 marked the annual liturgy held for members of the legal profession called the Red Mass. This year’s keynote speaker in Corpus Christi, Texas, was Judge Carolyn Dineen King of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She chose to speak about the death penalty from both a legal and moral point of view, while clearly stating that her religious views are not a part of her judicial rulings .

From a legal perspective, she stated:
[P]rofoundly troubling is the risk that an innocent man will be executed. I must say that from my experience with capital cases, there is usually a great deal of evidence that the defendant is, in fact, guilty. But the lengthy investigation of the Houston crime lab, which exposed evidence of serious problems such as falsified test results, including DNA test results, and the tailoring of reports to fit police theories, certainly suggests that even scientific evidence, to which we normally attach considerable confidence, can be flawed. Only God’s justice is perfect justice. The assessment of the death penalty, however well designed the system for doing so, remains a human endeavor with a consequent risk of error that may not be remediable.

From a moral perspective, she told listeners :
Catholics, the people of life, have an opportunity to advocate to our legislators changes in our laws that will align them more closely with the moral law. For the solution to the problems that we face with the death penalty is a political one (not a judicial one), and each of us, as a Catholic citizen and voter, is called upon to promote it.

The Catholic bishops have recently issued a call to the Catholic community, inviting every Catholic to join in the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty, not as a partisan campaign but as a moral commitment.

The Church’s campaign has been long in coming, centuries long, but at last it is here and all of should actively and prayerfully support it.
To read her entire speech go: HERE