From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Prayer vigil for Respect Life issues is Aug. 26

the Inland Register

(From the Aug. 23, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

Our Lady of Fatima Parish, 1517 E. 33rd Ave. in Spokane, will hold a prayer vigil for Respect Life issues on Sunday, Aug. 26, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Washington state plans to execute James Elledge in the state penitentiary in Walla Walla at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 28.

All are welcome to gather at the parish to pray during the vigil.

Elledge is being executed for a 1998 Lynnwood, Wash. murder. His will be the first execution in the state since Jeremy Sagastegui’s October, 1998 execution.

As with Sagastegui, Elledge has waived all appeals and welcomes his impending death.

An interview cited in a July 7 Seattle Post-Intelligencer article quotes Elledge as saying, “I should pay the maximum penalty for what I done.”

Elledge is not alone in this desire. If not granted clemency, he will become the third out of four people executed in Washington since 1993 who “volunteered” to be executed.

Elledge and others reflect a growing national trend: inmates convicted of capital crimes who want to die. Some refer to the phenomenon as “prisoner-assisted homicide.”

A clemency petition signed by numerous organizations, including the Archdiocese of Seattle, the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, and Murder Victims’ Families For Reconciliation, has been denied by the state Clemency and Pardons Board.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explains that “we oppose capital punishment not just for what it does to those guilty of horrible crimes but for what it does to all of us as a society. Increasing reliance on the death penalty diminishes all of us and is a sign of growing disrespect for human life.”

Pope John Paul II, during his 1999 visit to the United States, renewed “the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which I (believe is) both cruel and unnecessary.”

The prayer service at Our Lady of Fatima will not focus solely on the capital punishment, but will link that issue with all Respect Life issues, from abortion and family violence to euthanasia. The Washington State Catholic Conference urges these issues to be seen as one “seamless garment,” each part of a larger framework of respecting the sanctity of all human life.

Those attending the vigil will have an opportunity to sign Sister Helen Prejean’s moratorium petition against capital punishment as well as a petition to national leaders urging a ban on the use of embryonic stem cells.

The Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane will hold a walk for peace beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27, beginning in front of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office at 1116 W. Riverside, across the street from the Catholic Pastoral Center, and continuing to the Community Building at 35 W. Main.


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