Vatican Appeals for Texan on Death Row

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ROME, SEPT. 7, 2007 ( Cardinal Renato Martino made an appeal for the life of a convicted killer in Texas, scheduled to face the death penalty this month.

Today the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace urged Texan authorities to commute the sentence of 42-year old Joseph Lave, who has been on death row for 13 years.

The cardinal made his statement during the 12th World Congress of the International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care, under way in Rome through Tuesday, according to a statement released by the dicastery.

Lave is scheduled to face execution Sept. 13. He was sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering two 18-year-old employees while robbing a sporting goods store in 1992.

The inmate is one of five prisoners on death row scheduled to be executed this month in Texas.

Cardinal Martino said in his appeal that "the inhumanity and uselessness of the death penalty ... impoverishes the society that legitimizes it and practices it and leaves no room for rehabilitation of the condemned."

The statement noted that the cardinal took up the cause in favor of Joseph Lave set in motion by the St. Egidio Community, which has been following the case for months.