Connecticut's Danbury News-Times reports, "Professor speaks at anti-death penalty congress in Rome." It's written by John Pirro.
As one of the hundreds of Connecticut residents who worked for years to get rid of the death penalty, George Kain, of Ridgefield, said he was proud to attend the seventh International Congress of Ministers of Justice in Rome this week, an organization dedicated to abolishing capital punishment worldwide.
Then, late Monday, the Western Connecticut State University professor learned he had been chosen to address the group about the successful battle that made Connecticut the 17th state in the country to end the practice.
"We knew that we'd be asked to speak, but this did come as a bit of a surprise on such short notice," he said.
Early Tuesday morning, Kain, who teaches criminal justice at Western and serves on the Police Commission in Ridgefield, was putting the finishing touches on the speech he would deliver a few hours later.
According to an excerpt of the speech he emailed to The News-Times, Kain planned to tell his audience, "I am honored to be with you this morning as a representative of the state of Connecticut and proud to celebrate that we are the fifth state in the United States in the last five years to have abolished the barbaric practice of capital punishment."
Kain went on to quote former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who 40 years ago spoke of "a terribly flawed system which has put innocent men behind bars for the better part of their short lives" and has seen "surviving family members of those murdered dragged through a system that promises them closure but actually only adds to the pain and misery of having lost their loved one."
Kain, a member of the board of directors of the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty, was accompanied to Rome by another board member, Fernando Bermudez, a Danbury resident and criminal justice student at Western who spent 18 years in prison in New York for a murder he didn't commit.
Both men will have front-row seats for the lighting of Rome's Colosseum later this week celebrating Connecticut's abolition of capital punishment.
"Former death row inmate drawn to faith by Catholic activism," is the National Catholic Reporter article written by John L. Allen Jr. Here's part of the introduction before the interview:
During the October Synod of Bishops on New Evangelization, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson argued that the church’s social teaching is a powerful missionary tool, with the capacity to draw people to the faith.
If you need proof of the point, look no further than Curtis McCarty, who spent nineteen years on death row in Oklahoma before eventually being exonerated, and who now seems to be making a journey of faith toward the Catholic church because of the anti-death penalty activism of the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio.
Sant’Egidio hosted an international meeting of ministers of justice in Rome to discuss global abolition of the death penalty on Nov. 27, where the soft-spoken McCarty was on hand to share his experience.
Sant’Egidio is a Catholic movement founded in Rome in 1968 and dedicated to conflict resolution, ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue, and promotion of the other elements of Catholic social teaching. Of his encounter with the group, McCarty says bluntly: “They saved me.”
Related posts are in the international category index.