Sunday, July 20, 2008

Regarding the Death Penalty

Love Your Neighbor
By John Horejsi
Played poker recently? Played a while winning only one pot. Time to bow out—remembering Kenny Rogers’ song, “You gotta know when to fold ‘em.”
Capital punishment, without sounding flippant, is a lot like “knowing when to hold ‘em (incarceration) and knowing when to fold ‘em” (execution). We recall recent court decisions re-affirming capital punishment not being cruel and inhuman punishment and wonder if it’s the right thing to do. Probably not according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It says that the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be stopped from causing harm. And that he should be punished proportionate to the crime. (Kind of like dealing with the playground bully.) The church teaches that an aggressor be given the death penalty only if it is the only possible way of defending innocent lives from the aggressor. Even in the case of Saddam it seems he could not hurt anyone anymore from his prison cell. Probably only more harm has come from sectarian warfare, fueled by Saddam’s “martyr statues” with his fellow Sunnis.

But aside from Saddam, all criminals have lives to be respected. True, all innocent lives must be defended and protected by an unjust aggressor, and justice be met and restitution be given. We do not forget the crime, but we must forgive. Jesus said, “Love your neighbors” and did not make an exception. In fact, He wanted all to put away “the eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’ mindset.

Only true “closure” will happen, if we forgive, pray for, and yes, even "Love your neighbor" enemy he may be.
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