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Catholic Nebraska Governor To Go Ahead With Execution Despite Papal Protests

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter
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Nebraska’s Roman Catholic governor will go ahead with the execution of a convicted murderer later in August despite the pope’s assertion that executions are never justified.

Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts has long been an advocate of the death penalty in Nebraska, tapping his personal fortune to put forward a referendum to reinstate capital punishment after it was banned in 2015, The New York Times reported Friday. Nebraska is poised to execute its first inmate in 21 years at the end of August, convicted murderer Carey Dean Moore. Ricketts released a statement Friday saying his role as governor prevents him from following Pope Francis’s claims.

“While I respect the Pope’s perspective, capital punishment remains the will of the people and the law of the state of Nebraska,” the statement read. “It is an important tool to protect our corrections officers and public safety. The state continues to carry out the sentences ordered by the court.”

Pope Francis called the death penalty “inadmissible” and said it “attacks” the dignity of all humans Thursday. (RELATED: Nevada Asks Supreme Court To Let It Execute Inmate Despite Drugmaker Objections)

“Consequently the church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” Francis claimed. “And she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

Cardinal Luis Ladaria, head of the Vatican’s doctrine office, said no person is ever beyond redemption — even those who have committed unspeakable crimes.

“If, in fact the political and social situation of the past made the death penalty an acceptable means for the protection of the common good, today the increasing understanding that the dignity of a person is not lost even after committing the most serious crimes,” Ladaria wrote in a letter explaining the new change.

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