N.C. bishops thank governor for vetoing repeal of Racial Justice Act
RALEIGH — Both of North Carolina's bishops, Bishop Peter Jugis and Bishop Michael Burbidge, have thanked Gov. Bev Perdue for her Dec. 14 veto of an effort by legislators to repeal a two-year-old law that lets death row inmates appeal their sentences on the basis of racial bias.
The state's Racial Justice Act, which Perdue signed into law in 2009, allows prisoners sentenced to death to use statistics to determine if race was a factor in their sentencing.
Both bishops had written a letter Nov. 30 to Perdue asking her to uphold the Racial Justice Act. Last week, they sent a second letter to the governor thanking her for the veto.
The Bishops have also urged Catholic Voice participants to contact their legislators, asking them not to override the governor's veto.
The state Senate had voted earlier to repeal the act, which aims to reject the influence of race discrimination in the administration of the death penalty, through Senate Bill 9, called the "No Discriminatory Purpose in the Death Penalty."
"We urge you to continue to keep North Carolina on the path to justice for all of its citizens that is guaranteed by the Racial Justice Act," the bishops wrote in their letter, asking her to veto the Senate's new bill.
Others voicing their support for the 2009 Racial Justice Act included the N.C. NAACP and People of Faith Against the Death Penalty.
For updates on this and other efforts by the N.C. bishops through their non-partisan advocacy website, Catholic Voice North Carolina, go to www.catholicvoicenc.org.
— Patricia L. Guilfoyle, editor
Editor's note: Here are the full texts of the N.C. bishops' letters:
December 16, 2011
Dear Governor Perdue,
We write to thank you for your decision to veto the No Discriminatory Purpose in the Death Penalty Act. Your action is an important step in working to ensure a fair and balanced justice system in North Carolina in capital murder cases.
We appreciate the consistency you have demonstrated since you first championed the Racial Justice Act in 2009.
Dear Governor Perdue,
In enacting the Racial Justice Act in 2009 the North Carolina General Assembly made clear that North Carolina rejects the influence of race discrimination in the administration of the death penalty. That was a laudatory goal two years ago and remains so today. Thank you for signing that legislation.
As the bill, No Discriminatory Purpose in the Death Penalty, which would repeal that historic measure, awaits action by you, we urge you to continue to keep North Carolina on the path to justice for all of its citizens that is guaranteed by the Racial Justice Act.
Please veto the No Discriminatory Purpose in the Death Penalty act.
The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Raleigh
The Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis
Bishop of Charlotte
Nancy Kopfle: Helping the hurtingI have been an advocate for the Tribunal for almost seven years, and I must say, nothing surprises me anymore! As an advocate, it is my job to lead someone through the process of seeking an annulment in the Catholic Church. It is a ministry...
Mercy Sister Jeanne-Margaret McNally: Marriage and education of childrenAccording to Church law (Canon 226), those who are married have the specific obligation to contribute, as spouses, to the building up of the People of God. The Second Vatican Council stated that the fundamental duty of married people is to...
Deacon James H. Toner : What we know that ain't so: Suicidal conscienceWhat we think is the right road The idea of "conscience" is oppressive nonsense. To believe that there is a conscience which should govern our conduct implies that we should let others define our identity or tell us what to do. I believe in...
April Parker: Raising priestsWhen I was 18, my grandmother introduced me to Proverbs 31, a scripture passage she has always tried to live her life by. In it, the "ideal wife" is described: "When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls..." Since then, I...
Barbara Case Speers: Where do you stand?"But early in the morning He arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to Him, and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in...
Mercy Sister Jeanne-Margaret McNally: The common good and individual rightsIn exercising their rights individually and in associations, the Christian faithful must take into account the common good of the Church as well as the rights of others, says Church law. In exercising their rights, individuals and groups are...
Dr. Kamila Valenta:'Brexit,' EU identity crisis are signs of decline of Christianity in EuropeLast month the citizens of Great Britain voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, and initiated a process known as Brexit that will release the United Kingdom from its obligations and privileges towards the old continent over the next...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Responding to commentary on Communion for divorced, remarried CatholicsIn the May 27 issue of the Catholic News Herald, a commentary by Father Noah Carter explains the Church's practice of denying Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried Catholic who has not...
Imitating the virtues of the Blessed MotherIn my work as a Catholic mother, nurse and birth and postpartum doula, I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on Mary, our Blessed Mother. Not only is she a supreme model of motherhood,...
Women volunteers are vital to prison ministryI am a prison ministry volunteer at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Maggie Valley. It was of great interest that I read the prison ministry article in the March 4 edition of Catholic News...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Roger Arnsparger at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Jason Christian at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Matthew Kauth at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Christopher Riehl's archive from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe. Listen to homily podcasts.
- Fr. Joshua Voitus at St. Mary, Mother of God Parish in Sylva, including homilies in Spanish
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Gospel reflection videos from St. Matthew Church
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen and watch homilies from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy