Two major crimes here in Canada have opened the capital punishment discussion. First the sentencing of Michael Rafferty for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a little girl and now the hunt for Luka Magnotta, a killer who sent body parts to two government headquarters, among many other suspected vile atrocities. Discussions online about these topics are full of rage with the main theme being kill the perpetrator. Sun News (known as right-wing & Christian) currently has a poll going on whether the country should reopen the capital punishment debate and the last time I looked the results were 93 - 7 yay. That’s huge! No second guessing for people here.
When abortion polls are run we usually get results of in the 50s for and 40s against. What does this tell us? That supposedly pro-life people are pro-death when it suits them. All the arguments Christians (and more specifically, Catholics) use for abortion, contraception, euthanasia fly out the window when that life is now deemed worthless in their own eyes. We can’t do this. Life is life, whether *you* find the particular life in question worthy or not. An innocent unborn baby or a ruthless, vile, murderer; they were both created in the image of God and given life by Him and He is the only one with the right to take that life away. It is hard to think this way but Truth is Truth.
Yes, the Catechism does allow capital punishment in extreme cases, but Pope Benedict has spoken on this and whether we want to or not, we must take heed to his logical words: That in *today’s* world there is no excuse for using capital punishment, the modern world has more than sufficient penitentiary means to keep those deemed so, away from society for the rest of their natural lives. We can argue the money and blah, blah, blah but guess what you are doing? The same thing that someone from the death culture does when they rant on about how much it costs to keep a down’s syndrome child alive. Equating life with money. The reason why doesn’t matter.
I am a Catholic convert and prior to becoming Catholic was always pro-life (in regards to abortion), on the line when it came to euthanasia and was always pro capital punishment. I had no problem with the conflicting views. After becoming Catholic, my reading forced me to face the issue of life. God created life and He takes away life. I really found I could not be as fervently pro-life as I was but *only when it suited me*. The innocent unborn deserve the life God has given them, the handicapped deserve life, the mentally challenged deserve life, those who will not live into adulthood deserve life, those who are dying deserve a respectful natural death, those who *think* they want to die today deserve to be made comfortable so they can live until tomorrow, or the next day, when God says their life is done living, and yes, those who have broken the law of the land and committed vile crimes deserve to live until God chooses to end their earthly life. They will meet their judgement in eternity. If you are Christian you believe in a just God and believe in final judgement.
So, even though it may be my initial knee-jerk response, I do not cry out ”Kill the bastard” when I learn of these horrific killers. I pray for the souls of their victims and their families. I am not a strong enough person to actually pray for the killers themselves, as we are called to do.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. ~ Matthew 5:44-45
But I do pray, in the meantime, that I will one day be given the strength to pray for my enemies, for the evil among us, because I know that Life is God’s to give and God’s to take away.
This is just about one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read about marriage!
Married on a Crucifix
Fr Michael Mullan, LC
Imagine a world without divorce. Imagine families without separation. Imagine no children or hearts torn apart.
People of one place in this world do not have to imagine.
In the town of Siroki-Brijeg in Herzegovina not one of the 13,000 inhabitants can recall a single divorce or broken family.
What is their secret? One look at their marriage rite says it all.
When the bride and bridegroom go to the church to be married they carry a crucifix with them. The priest blesses the crucifix and exclaims, “You have found your cross! It is a cross to love, to carry with you, a cross that is not thrown off but rather treasured.”
When they interchange the marital vows, the bride puts her right hand on this crucifix and the groom puts his right hand over hers. Both are united to the cross. The priest covers their hands with his stole while they pronounce their promises to love each other in good times and in bad.
Then they both first kiss the cross, not each other. If one abandons the other, they abandon Christ on the cross.
Afterwards, the newly-weds cross the threshold of their home to enthrone that same crucifix in a place of honour. It becomes the reference point of their lives and the place of family prayer.
In times of difficulty and misunderstandings, as all human relationships experience, they do not turn immediately to the lawyer or psychologist, they turn to the cross. They kneel, cry and open up their hearts begging for the strength to pardon and implore the Lord’s help.
The children are taught to reverently kiss the crucifix daily and to thank God for the day before going to bed. These children dream of enthroning one day a crucifix of their own.
The family is indissolubly united to the cross of Christ. Is this simply a morbid outlook on marital and family life? Or is it a piece of wisdom that few in our modern world can understand. Until our world does, it will continue to imagine and long for the unbroken hearth.
“The Sacrament of marriage comes as do all the sacraments from the wounded side of Christ as He lay ‘asleep’ in death, when Christ was pierced by a sword and blood and water and the Holy Spirit flowed out. At that moment the Church and all the sacraments came from the side of Christ as Eve was taken from the side of Adam. The Church is the Bride of Christ and the Catholic marriage is to be a living example of Christ and His Bride the Church. If the Catholic couple lives in a state of grace and has the sacrament of marriage they receive constant grace from God to love one another with the very LOVE of God. It is the vocation of the spouses to sanctify one another and be open to new life. According to Archbishop Sheen it takes 3 to get married: husband, wife and Christ. Marriage works in Christ.”
—my friend Kathleen Ann