ATLANTA (AP) - Citing a parade of witnesses who have since recanted, the Vatican joined supporters of a condemned and urged Georgia's governor to commute his sentence.
Troy Anthony Davis had been scheduled to be executed Tuesday for the shooting death of an off-duty police officer, but he received a 90-day stay from the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.
The letter to Gov. Sonny Purdue from the Vatican Embassy in Washington arrived Monday, the same day the stay was granted.
``In the name of Pope Benedict XVI, I am respectfully asking you to commute Troy's sentence to life in prison without parole,'' wrote Monsignor Martin Krebs, the office's charge d'affaires.
The Pope's intervention in this case is fairly significant. When it comes to the death penalty the Catholic Church teaches not that there isn't a moral justification for the death penalty that is valid, rather that one doesn't exist at the present time.
For the Church the use of force is justified in self defense. And in history the use of the death penalty may have been the only way to prevent a violent person from continuing to be violent.
In today's day and age throwing someone away in prison and locking away the key is a reasonable proposition. So the justification of self-defense becomes pretty lame. The last time I checked there wasn't an epidemic of prisoners escaping prisons, so the argument in favor of capital punishment effectively becomes mute.
Besides the church's position there is one more reason to oppose the death penalty: giving the state the right to decide who will live and who will die should be terrifying to everyone.
I don't trust the Dalton McGuinty's of the world to make those decisions one ayota.