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Subject: Father John Brosnan, 83; Prison Chaplain Was Capital Punishment Foe

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Date Posted: March 28, 2003 1:14:18 EDT

Father John Brosnan, 83, a Jesuit priest who read the last rites to the last man executed in Australia after unsuccessfully campaigning to spare his life, died Wednesday of undisclosed causes in Melbourne.

A longtime opponent of capital punishment, Brosnan served as prison chaplain at the top-security Pentridge Prison in Melbourne for 30 years.

His campaign to spare convicted murderer Ronald Ryan from being hanged in 1967 made national headlines. Although his campaign failed, Brosnan is credited with helping end capital punishment in Australia.

In 1977, he helped found the Brosnan Center, a community-based organization that helps young ex-prisoners cope with life after their release and operates programs combating drug abuse and youth suicide.

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