The Virginia bishops said they "welcome with gratitude" the April 20 decision by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to commute the death sentence of Ivan Teleguz.
Amid his vetoes of several bills passed by the Virginia Legislature, Gov. Terry McAuliffe "made three decisions that contradict life and liberty at their core," said the state's Catholic bishops.
Virginia's bishops called on Catholics in the state's two dioceses to step up to change the debate about the use of the death penalty.
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington said it was time to shift the conversation from who should be executed and how to execute people to why the death penalty continues to be applied, especially when other means to protect society without taking a human life exist.
Virginia's two Catholic bishops have urged the state's lawmakers to enact health care reforms "that cover everyone and protect everyone, born and unborn."
A statement issued Friday by Bishops Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond and Paul Loverde of Arlington was prompted by the Virginia General Assembly's ongoing debate over health care reform during a special session on the state budget.
According to the Associated Press, one of the issues facing law makers is what to do about Medicaid expansion, which has resulted in an impasse, delaying passage of a state budget.