Resolution against Capital Punishment
A Resolution Passed by the United States Catholic Conference
November 18, 1974
1. Early in the November 1974, NCCB meeting, the Social Development
and World Peace subcommittee, headed by Bishop Ernest Unterfoefler, of
Charleston, South Carolina, submitted a Statement opposing capital
punishment, which was even then being discussed on the national level. The
seven-page Statement was rejected as inadequate in expressing the reasons
for the bishops' opposition by a vote of one hundred nineteen to one hundred
three with three abstentions on November 19, 1974.
2. That same afternoon, Bishop John May, of Mobile, Alabama, proposed
a brief resolution which said simply: "The U.S. Catholic Conference goes on
record in opposition to capital punishment." Presiding Cardinal Krol at
first ruled that a resolution also needed a two-thirds vote, but Bishop May
said he offered a simple motion which needed only a majority vote. The
motion was accepted by a vote of one hundred eight to sixty-three.