View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Catholics Start Anti-Death Penalty Network

A new Catholic organization to end the death penalty was launched January 25 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Death Penalty is a lay-run group that apparently has support from the U.S. Bishops, but will be run independently from the USCCB.

A CNS story says it "will be designed particularly to reach out to young people and Hispanic Catholics on the issue of capital punishment."

The story notes that the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille - the congregation of Sister Helen Prejean, who has battled for years against the death penalty - provided the seed money.

I am all for such an effort - even though my own brother was murdered. Just as I oppose unjust war and abortion, I am opposed to the death penalty in the U.S.

And that's in line with what the Church teaches and Pope John Paul II has said.

As the CNS story points out, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that "the traditional teaching of the church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor." It quotes Pope John Paul II as saying that "the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity 'are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."

In the U.S, that is the case.

The U.S bishops have also spoken out against the death penalty for decades, in 2005 issuing "A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death."

In that statement they said ""We renew our common conviction that it is time for our nation to abandon the illusion that we can protect life by taking life. We encourage reflection and call for common action in the Catholic community and among all men and women of good will to end the use of the death penalty in our land. Ending the death penalty would be one important step away from a culture of death toward building a culture of life."

We need to oppose the culture of death in all its manifestations.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post and I'm very sorry about your brother. Like you I believe that all life is sacred, but I did vote for Obama. I'm not apologizing for it either. I voted for him because of his stance on Univeral Health Care Inurance. My oldest brother is mentally disabled and is unable to afford health insurance and my mother who died a few years ago was unable to afford health insurance when my father died and the Union cut off my father's benefits to my mother. I had to help support both of them on my income.

Did you see this article?

7:16 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Obama did support some expansion of health care - but not as much as Clinton, and I got the feeling he was reacting to her proposals politically more than out of any enthusiasm for the issue on his part.

I suspect we will see some - the SCHIP will get through, for example - but given the nature of his support and the state of the economy, I don't think it will be as much as some people hope.

Given his extreme views on abortion, and his support for millitary aggresssion, the death penalty, embryonic stem cell research, and more, and given his consistent fudging of the truth and his questional associations, I could not in good conscience vote for him.

Yes, I saw the article. If Kmiec does get to be the ambassador, I don't see the Vatican snubbing him the way some folks suggest (or would like to see!), but I would not be surprised if behind the scenes Vatican officials are indeed suggesting he would not be a good choice.

Then again, given Obama's snubbing of Catholics, and the Vatican's criticisms of his abortion policies, maybe he will stick it to the Church and name him! After all, he's the candidate who told his followers to get in people's faces.

6:06 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I sympathize with your family situation. My dad had a massive stroke and is in a nursing home, my father-in-law is dealing with all sorts of health issues that are really curtailing what he can do, and my brother-in-law is also mentally disabled. There are lots of bills and worries.

6:15 AM  

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