NEWS BRIEFS Jan-15-2003
By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — It’s been close to a decade since Sister Helen Prejean first wrote “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States” and triggered a renewed look at capital punishment nationwide. Now the Sister of St. Joseph of Medaille is hoping the Catholic Church will take the next steps toward bringing an end to the death penalty. Sister Prejean’s best-selling book was made into a movie. An opera version is making the rounds of major cities, and this year Georgetown University will produce the first performances of a stage play based on the book. U.S. bishops individually and collectively have issued numerous statements of opposition to the death penalty. But a majority of American Catholics haven’t accepted the church’s position on capital punishment. And Sister Prejean wants the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to take a more comprehensive approach to changing that — with an eye toward influencing society to end the practice. She spoke with CNS Jan. 14 when she was in Washington to address members of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Policy.