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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.

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