INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s Catholic bishops are calling for a renewed moratorium on executions at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute.

The bishops of Indianapolis, Fort Wayne-South Bend, Lafayette-in-Indiana and Evansville and the administrator of the Diocese of Gary issued a joint statement Friday saying the Justice Department’s decision in July to end a 16-year moratorium on executing federal inmates “is regrettable, unnecessary and morally unjustified.”

Five inmates sentenced to death are scheduled to be executed over a six-week period starting in December. There have been only three executions since the federal death penalty was restored in 1988, the most recent in 2003.

The bishops’ statement, issued as Catholics observe Respect Life Month, said, “We respectfully implore that the sentences of all federal death-row inmates be commuted to life imprisonment.”

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