Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Conscience Informed by Politics or Faith?

I saw a link to this over at Father Z's place yesterday.  The comment I left at Crisis was not published.

What I said in my comment  is that I'm not sure what point Father Rutler was trying to make with his article which he wrote on the notion that the death penalty can be "medicinal", as  knowing of one's impending doom may lead the criminal  to concentrate on his sins and beg God's forgiveness.

In this country, the judicial system is not without corruption.  Some time ago I wrote about judges who sentenced barely marginal delinquent juveniles to detention centers owned by political cronies.  The two judges lined their pockets with more than $2.3 million by sending kids as young as ten years old to privately-owned prisons for juvenile offenders.  One teen committed suicide as a result of his unjustly harsh sentence.
 Kids were effectively put up for sale in cases where even the prosecutor argued that the charges were too harsh for the offense committed. One of the judges, nicknamed  "Mr. Zero Tolerance",  had a reason for his toughness - cold, hard cash.

The innocent and the mentally challenged both have been sent to their deaths by a judicial system that favors those who can afford the best defense and puts the innocent as well as the guilty at the mercy of corrupt and evil political hacks like the judges described above.  Even traffic court is not without the kind of "patronage" that favors the politically connected.

I found this an odd subject for a priest to tackle, particularly when the death penalty is seldom applied in this country any more and when the Catholic church in America is in its own crisis, with scores of its members not in a state of grace.  How do we get lapsed Catholics back in the pews and in good standing with the Almighty?  How do you get the stray sheep  to concentrate their minds so that they return to the fold?  Are those who freely engage in abortion, birth control, euthanasia, promiscuity and same-sex marriage fornication in any less danger of Hell than those on death-row?  Only God knows.

And only God has the right to take human life,  with very few exceptions.  Valid cases of self-defense, just wars and police actions that prevent the innocent from harm are some of them.  Capital punishment, at least to this consistently pro-life Catholic,  isn't one of them.

Remember: just because we can do something doesn't mean we should.

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