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Catholic Latino Group Urges Californians to Lead National Trend to Abolish Death Penalty

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October 29, 2012

SAN ANTONIO (October 29, 2012) –The Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL), a national organization of Hispanic business and professional people with chapters in Los Angeles and Orange County, today publicly endorsed Proposition 34--the Death Penalty Repeal Initiative. “With this endorsement,” stated CALL president and CEO Robert Aguirre, “CALL issues an urgent appeal to all Californians of good will to lead the growing number of states moving toward a restorative justice model that helps transform a culture of death into a culture of life.” The organization urges all California voters to vote “Yes” to the proposition which will appear on the November 6, 2012 ballot as “Death Penalty. Initiative Statute.” If passed, Proposition 34 will replace the death penalty in California with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“As a community of faith, we must proclaim the intrinsic worth and the God-given dignity of all human life, whether innocent or guilty. We are all created in God’s image," stated Robert Aguirre, president and CEO of CALL and former law enforcement officer of twelve years. "I have always believed that the death penalty was morally wrong," he added.

CALL’s position on the repeal of the death penalty remains in line with the Catholic Church’s teaching on social justice. In 1980, the Bishops of the United States called for ending the use of the death penalty. The Bishops pointed out 32 years later that capital punishment is still failing to protect the nation from those who commit violence and that its continued use feeds into a seemingly endless cycle of violence.

“We recognize the profound anguish of those who have lost a loved one to violence and offer them our prayers and the hope of a fuller sense of justice,” explained Aguirre.  “Nothing can undo the terrifying memories of violence that have been inflicted, not even taking the life of the convicted killer. Justice demands that those who have committed crimes should be punished and society must be protected. Ultimately, violence does not end violence. Killing in the name of justice does not end killing," Aguirre concluded.

The Catholic Association of Latino Leaders is a national organization comprised of business and professional people dedicated to promoting the common good of Latinos, the Church and our nation. Established on the premise that it is the particular vocation to transform the world through “faithful citizenship,” CALL members do so by finding new and culturally relevant ways to promote the values of their faith--especially within the historical context that Hispanics were the first American Catholics. CALL provides a forum for members to strengthen their faith in community through prayer, education, service and leadership. CALL provides programs, services and events for the benefit of their community and country. CALL has chapters established in Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, Denver, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Milwaukee, Miami, and Washington DC.