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Former governors Pat Quinn and George Ryan remain firm against death penalty

Pope Francis, shown praying Wednesday during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, on Thursday said the death penalty is never justified. | Andrew Medichini/AP

The death penalty.

A tripwire?

Pope Francis’ recent declaration the death penalty is wrong in ALL cases is bound to challenge Catholic pols, jurists — and those officials whose job it is to pull the plug on the condemned.

So Sneed made a few calls.


First up: It was former Gov. Pat Quinn, a Catholic of Irish descent, who signed the bill abolishing the death penalty in Illinois in 2011.

“I got a call from South Africa’s [Anglican] Bishop Tutu sending word via Nelson Mandela to sign the bill,” said Quinn. “Thanks to House Speaker Mike Madigan honoring my request to let the members vote their conscience, we won.”

“But I wanted [former Gov.] George Ryan to be given the pen I used to sign the bill abolishing the death penalty,” said Quinn . . . “because it all began when George was in office.”

It was Ryan, a Protestant of Irish descent, who was the first person to declare a moratorium on the death penalty.

“I was and still am against the death penalty, period,” said Ryan.

“And it’s not specifically for religious reasons or because of the pope.

“It’s because the system is fraught with error. In no way is it a perfect system. If the system isn’t perfect, there can be no ultimate penalty.

“Since the moratorium, no one has been executed in Illinois — and people who were incarcerated twenty-five years unjustly went free. But let’s give credit where credit is due. It was Pat Quinn who finally got rid of the death penalty.

“And tell Quinn I did get the pen.”

The countdown begins . . .

Pat Quinn is inviting Chicago voters to show up at 4 p.m. Monday at the city clerk’s office at City Hall to witness the filing deadline of the FIRST binding referendum to be placed on the ballot in the city’s 181-year history!

“It’s a great cause for celebration,” said Quinn — who continues to gather signatures that could force Mayor Rahm Emanuel into retirement by limiting a Chicago mayor’s tenure in office to two terms. Emanuel is running for his third term in office in the February election.

“City Hall belongs to the public!” said Quinn.

“Chicago is the only major city in America without mayoral term limits,” he said.

“Our goal is 100,000 signatures; we have 78,000 already — and we only need 52,519,” Quinn said.

• The end shot: “We are FILING one book with the city clerk’s office filled with thousands of signatures on numbered pages with punched holes bound up in strong cable wire,” he said.

“And we looking for a big enough wagon to haul it in,” chirped Quinn.


Cardinal Cupich wishes Scalia had lived to see pope’s new death penalty teaching

EDITORIAL: Take it from Pope Francis and Illinois: the death penalty should go

SNEED EXCLUSIVE: Pat Quinn seeks referendum that would block mayor from 3rd term

Ignoring Quinn appeal, City Council crowds term-limits question off the ballot

Pat Quinn touts poll showing 59 percent support for mayoral term limits

Brit b-day bit . . .

It’s just too, too!

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry’s wife, celebrates her 37th birthday Saturday and is likely to raise a toast to one of the legendary royal tipplers, the late Queen Mum (mother of Queen Elizabeth) — who was born on the same date!

Now aren’t you glad you read this column?

Malia’s man . . .

Former first daughter Malia Obama, 20, wasn’t a regular at Lollapalooza this weekend, having instead been spotted recently with her Brit beau, Rory Farquharson, 19, taking in a play in London.

So who is this Harvard sophomore from the UK?

Facts reported hither and yon claim:

• He attended the elite Rugby School in England.

• His father is a chief exec at an investment firm.

• His mother is an accountant.

• He has a relative who was an aide to the queen.

• He once tweeted President Donald Trump wouldn’t last more than a year.

• He no longer tweets.

I spy . . .

RPM eateries were busy this past week.

Shameless’ Cameron “Ian Gallagher” Monaghan spotted dining at RPM Italian on Tuesday. Ditto for Taylor Hawkins and Nate Mendel of Foo Fighters fame.

• Ding! Round 3: Boxing sensation Floyd Mayweather, who ate dinner in a private room (yet still drew a huge crowd of fans) at RPM Steak following a recent charity event. “Empire” actress Taraji P. Henson also in attendance. Fellow “Empire” star Terrence Howard hit up RPM last week with his wife.

• Lights, camera, action: Actor/ model and son of the legendary Clint Eastwood, Scott Eastwood, at Aba eatery Thursday.

Sneedlings . . .

Saturday’s birthdays: Barack Obama, 57; Meghan Markle, 37; Jeff Gordon, 47; and Lori Lightfoot, priceless. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Jesse Williams, 37; Lolo Jones, 36; and Patrick Ewing, 56.