A group of Catholic bishops will visit San Quentin Prison’s death row inmates on Tuesday as inmates await transfer to other facilities in light of California’s moratorium on executions.

The visit is “simply extending a pastoral presence to those whose lives are on the line and on a time clock,” Bishop Oscar Cantú of San Jose told CNA March 6.

Cantú is scheduled to visit the prison with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, and Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland. The California Catholic Conference organized the March 7 visit.  

In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed a moratorium on executions and ordered the closure of the execution chamber at San Quentin Prison, the Marin County facility near San Francisco that dates back to the 19th century.

Though the death row inmates have “committed some heinous crimes,” Cantú said, “we recognize that human dignity does not disappear when one commits a crime,” even if sometimes that dignity is “marred and scarred.”

“We know from our theology, our Catholic theology of grace, that God’s grace is available until the moment of death. We’re simply practicing and following up in a very practical way on that theology of grace,” the bishop said.

Full story at Catholic News Agency.