YAKIMA, Wash. — The Washington state Catholic bishops have sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, thanking him for imposing a moratorium on the death penalty.

The letter is signed by Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, both of Seattle, and Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane.

Inslee announced Feb. 11 he was suspending capital punishment in the state during his term.

“As pastoral leaders of more than 1 million Catholics in Washington state, we favor abolishing the death penalty, but also recognize the obstacles to achieving that goal,” the bishops wrote. They pledged their assistance in raising awareness about “the moral and practical reasons for ending executions.”

Acknowledging that criminals must be held accountable for their crimes, the bishops noted that Catholic teaching upholds the dignity of human life. They also argue that executions further violence and do not serve the public’s interest.