Often I have heard it stated that we live in a culture of
death. It seems like harsh words. However at the forefront
of this are the debates on war, murder, abortion and euthanasia. In a crass way it seems that things have gone beyond
hatred to simply an approach that some lives have value
while others do not. As Catholics we believe that all life is
a gift from God. Only our creator is the master of both life
and death. St. John Paul II made the focus on life a central
part of his pontificate. He gave public addresses that became a part of his Theology of the Body.
John Paul gave us great insight in his teachings. His life
demonstrated even further what he believed. During the
last months of his life, he reminded us that the sick and elderly have much to teach us and certainly his determination
to honor God with his life inspired millions, both Catholic
Early in his Pontificate Pope John Paul II was shot in St.
Peter Square. His actions of reaching out to his assailant,
Mehmet Ali Agca, give us a practical understanding the
opposition of Churches view on Capital Punishment. The
image of the Pope visiting Mehmet in his jail cell is one that
taught all of us how to respect the value of every life, even
those who attack us.
Before entering Seminary, I was involved in a young adult
group called the Frassati Society. For Respect Life Month
we brought in a Religious Sister to speak of the friendship
she developed with a Death Row inmate in TX. She read
from his letters that he sent her. The inmate pleaded that
punishment is setting in the cell and execution an easy way
out for both society and the inmate. The time in jail allows
for repentance and conversion of heart. When I heard this,
my view of Capital punishment began to evolve.
You may think it simple but when I look at this issue, I recall the basic teaching my parents taught me as a child. Two wrong actions do not make a good action. Life is a precious gift not to be taken from someone. Today pray for a conversion of heart, pray for mercy and pray for love of God and Neighbor. Take an opportunity to educate your self on issues of life and Catholic Church teachings. Read the Catechism and look to scripture and the interaction of Jesus and Mary Magdalene as she was accused. Learn and live as Christ taught us.