HH: So you’re a thorough going Catholic, Governor, and do you consider the death penalty to be consistent with the obligations of your faith?
BJ: I do. You know, the Holy Father, both this one and the last one, have taught that certainly, the death penalty should not be used casually. They’ve criticized the application of the death penalty in the United States. My belief as a Catholic, and I don’t pretend to be a theologian, I don’t pretend to be an expert or try to guide others. But my belief as a practicing Catholic is that the Catholic Church is right, that the death penalty should be used sparingly and in rare, the most extreme cases. The Church has never, throughout its history, taught that you could never use the death penalty. It has always taught that we should first look to see if there are other alternatives.
Here's the Pope in 1999:
I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary. ... Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.