Politics

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."

Bishops call for 'mutual respect' in 'necessary dialogue' on RFRA

Indiana's Catholic bishops on Wednesday urged people to show mutual respect for one another and allow "the necessary dialogue" to take place to make sure no one in the state will face discrimination, "whether it is for their sexual orientation or for living their religious beliefs."

Remarking on the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law March 26, they said it "appears to have divided the people of our state like few other issues in recent memory."

Panel says assisted suicide operates with premise 'some lives are unworthy'

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Physician-assisted suicide "violates the Hippocratic oath" and operates under the premise that "some lives are unworthy," said participants in a panel discussion Monday at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

The panel, which consisted of speakers from the areas of public policy, medicine and religion, was titled "Living Life to Its Fullest: Supporting the Sick and Elderly in Their Most Vulnerable Hours" and focused on recent public discussions of physician-assisted suicide.

Life and death justice issues face court, draw faith leaders' voices

In separate cases, the Supreme Court will consider persistently unsettled angles on criminal sentencing, including death sentences for people with mental disabilities and life sentences for juveniles.

The court heard oral arguments Monday in a Louisiana case that challenges the death sentence of Kevan Brumfield, who his attorneys say should be exempt from capital punishment because he is intellectually disabled. The case asks the court to allow evidence of disability to be considered in a reconsideration of his death sentence.

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February 24-March 9, 2017

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