Catholic leaders in Ohio conveyed the significance to replace the death penalty with mercy and spiritual conversion, following the execution of convicted child murderer Ronald Philips. The July 26 execution was the first in Ohio since a botched 2014 execution. Philips was executed by lethal injection at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio. The Catholic Bishops of Ohio sought mercy for Mr. Philips because of their belief that spiritual conversion is possible and all life has value and dignity.

As reported by Catholic News Agency, the Ohio Catholic Conference asserted that “The Catholic Church believes that the death penalty is an unnecessary and systematically flawed form of punishment.” Further, he added “May the soul of Ronal Philips, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”

Since capital punishment resumed in Ohio in 1999, 54people have been executed.