DULUTH, Minnesota (CNS): A US bishop has cancelled the appearance of Sr Helen Prejean at a diocesan education dinner after the death penalty activist signed an advertisement calling for a campaign to “drive out the Bush regime”.
Duluth diocese decided to combine two annual dinners into a single event on October 1 to accommodate Sr Prejean, the Sister of St Joseph who has written two books about the death penalty.
But Bishop Dennis M. Schnurr cancelled her appearance after lay people and clergy in the diocese brought to his attention a full-page New York Times advertisement that Sr Prejean initially endorsed, along with a host of activists and celebrities.
The August 3 ad was sponsored by an organisation called World Can’t Wait.
It called for Americans to “drive out the Bush regime” for a list of reasons including “the murderous and utterly illegitimate war in Iraq” and policies such as support of torturing prisoners, jailing people without charges and “moving to deny women here, all over the world, the right to birth control and abortion”.
Sr Prejean’s Web site posted an August 11 clarification about her participation in the campaign, asking that her name be withdrawn and noting that her reasons for participating were not related to abortion, but to the US President’s positions on the war in Iraq, torture, imprisonment, the death penalty and government fiscal policies she believes harm the poor.