The following comes from a November 8 press release issued by Ned Dolesji of the California Catholic Conference.

The Most Reverend Gerald Wilkerson, President of the California Catholic Conference, released a statement today regarding the defeat of Proposition 34.

The California Catholic Conference is disappointed that the voters of California narrowly rejected Proposition 34, thereby maintaining the use of the death penalty in our state. The pain and anguish of all victims of crimes remains of significant concern to the Church and to all good people of California. The California bishops continue to pray for true healing for these victims.

Rejecting Proposition 34 represents a missed opportunity for us as a people. The penalty of death is not necessary to protect ourselves, punish the offenders or bring legal finality for victims. The alternate—the sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole— would have respected the dignity of each human life, no matter how flawed.

We will continue to look for opportunities to end the use of the death penalty and work with others to be a voice for inviting society to respect human life.

The Bishops of California are so very appreciative of the thousands of Catholics who worked tirelessly on this campaign, the many donors, and volunteers who joined us in appealing to our sisters and brothers in California.