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USA    LEGISLATOR SAYS POPE CHANGED HIM ON DEATH PENALTY
Democratic state representative Chris Liese of Maryland said at a workshop on the death penalty during the annual Missouri Catholic Conference Assembly earlier this month that he was in favour of the death penalty until Pope John Paul II's visit to St Louis in January 1999.
    He said that Gov. Mel Carnahan had just been told by a Vatican-based cardinal that the Pope would personally ask the governor to spare the life of convicted killer Darrel Mease.
    Liese, who accompanied Carnahan to St Louis that day, said the governor turned to him and said, "You're Catholic. What do I tell him?"
    Liese recalled: "I told him, `Governor, this is not an ordinary Pope. If I were you, I'd listen to him,"' Liese said. "From that moment on, I knew I had to change my position. I couldn't be in favour of the death penalty."
   
CNS
   
14 Sep 00



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