Cardinals criticize impending McVeigh execution

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two American cardinals criticized next week's planned execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, saying his death ''will not bring back to life those who died. It will just be one more killing.''

They also noted that McVeigh ''apparently will get what he wants -- more attention and notoriety.''

The statement came from Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops' pro-life committee, and Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, chairman of their domestic policy committee. The American hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has urged an end to the death penalty for a quarter century.

''The use of the death penalty diminishes us as human beings,'' the cardinals said, and the execution involves ''every man, woman and child in the United States'' because it is carried out in their name.

Though some believe McVeigh's execution will serve justice, they said, the church insists that ''we are called to uphold the life and dignity of every human being at all times, including the lives of those justly convicted of horrible crimes.''

Archbishop Daniel Buechlein of Indianapolis, whose diocese includes Terre Haute, Ind., where the execution will occur, has called for a day of prayer to end violence on May 15, the day before the execution.

Pope John Paul II has appealed to President George W. Bush to grant McVeigh a life sentence. The pope has made similar clemency pleas in at least 20 other death penalty cases in the United States and more elsewhere.

McVeigh was convicted of killing 168 people in the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City's federal building.

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