Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Death Penalty, Life, and Being Catholic

I've been identified as "conservative."

If "conservative" is taken to mean not following the values of liberal political philosophy as it exists in early-21st-century America: then yes, I'm "conservative" in my views.

For some folks, my being a convert to Catholicism is proof that I'm a conservative - and a hide-bound one at that. In some circles, 'everybody knows' that the Catholic Church is very conservative. It's 'obvious,' when a person looks at issues concerning human life: like abortion.

It should be equally 'obvious' that the Catholic Church is a run by a bunch of bleeding-heart liberals, when a person looks at issues concerning human life: like capital punishment.

A case in point:
"Execution opposed by California bishops will not proceed as planned"
EWTN News (October 1, 2010)

"A controversial execution which would have occurred on Thursday was called off, after a federal judge intervened with questions about new methods of lethal injection. Catholic bishops in California had opposed the execution of Albert Greenwood Brown, a convicted rapist and murderer, saying it would only demonstrate further disregard for human life.

"The state of California continued to press for Brown's execution, appealing against the decision of the federal judge who opted to delay it while evaluating new lethal injection procedures...."
As far as I can tell, those California bishops are no more 'for' rapists and murderers than I am. Rape is one of the many activities on the Catholic Church's no-no list. (July 25, 2009) A person might think that we don't want anybody to have fun: an idea that's been floated from time to time. That's another topic.

Personally, I think that part of the responsibility for Susan Jordan's death lies with the state - which released the perpetrator after he had served time for raping another youngster. There's charity, there's nitwittery - and there's a difference. Yet another topic. (Another War-on-Terror Blog (October 5, 2010))

EWTN News did a pretty good job of summarizing Catholic teaching as it applies to this case:
"...Although the Catholic Church does not universally forbid the death penalty, it does teach that capital punishment should be avoided except as a last resort for the defense of the public...."
(EWTN News)

Death, Vengeance, Feelings, and Justice

The family of Susan Jordon apparently want blood, and want it now. I think I can understand that. The desire for vengeance is a very human thing - and rooted, I think, in a sense of justice. That doesn't mean that taking personal vengeance is a good idea. Yet again another topic. (September 11, 2010)

My sincere hope is that the state of California will decide to restrain Susan Jordan's killer. And this time, keep the person restrained. American courts seem to be gradually learning that it's okay to protect people who obey the law from those who don't.

By the Power of the Supreme Court, Rise?!

My own take on capital punishment is that I'm a Catholic. I've studied what the Church teaches about killing someone in order to protect innocent people. It's allowed - but discouraged. (October 2, 2008)

I live in a society that can put on the Super Bowl, thousands of Independence Day celebrations, and the Walk for Animals every year. For crying out loud, Americans spend around $139,000,000 a year on Right Guard deodorant alone. We can probably afford to restrain the most dangerous offenders.

Besides, until the Supreme Court of the United States can unkill people: I don't trust the judiciary with the power of life and death.1 Annoying as unjust imprisonment is, an 'oops, sorry about that' is even less meaningful when addressed to a corpse.

Does this mean that I think the person who was convicted of Susan Jordan's death is innocent? No. It means that a person who committed rape and murder is - a person. It is possible, however unlikely, that in time a rapist and a murderer will repent. And that's - still another topic. (July 6, 2009)

Related posts:In the news:
1 Raising someone from the dead? It's been done: Matthew 9:23-25, John 11:1-44. The American Supreme Court justices aren't quite in the same league, though.

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.