|USA||BISHOPS TARGET EXECUTIONS|
The US Catholic bishops have urged President Clinton to suspend all federal executions.
''As you know, the Catholic bishops in the United States have long called for an end to the death penalty,'' wrote Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a recent letter to Attorney General Janet Reno. ''Today I want to add my voice to others who have called for a suspension of federal executions.''
Although Clinton has said he is not considering a moratorium on federal executions, he applauded Illinois Governor George Ryan's recent decision to temporarily halt executions in his state.
Ryan did so after revelations that a dozen death row inmates had been wrongfully convicted. Twenty-one federal prisoners face execution, but the last one put to death was in Iowa 37 years ago.
''The pope has said that because of our ability to keep society safe from aggressors, the need to execute individuals has become `rare if not practically nonexistent,''' Fiorenza, the bishop of the diocese of Galveston-Houston, said.
Boston Globe 22/2/00