Tag Archives: evangelium vitae

Seizing the executioner’s sword — Gov. Kitzhaber does the right thing, death penalty unnecessary

Moratorium is right

Gov. John Kitzhaber has done the right thing in following his conscience. Haunted by acquiescence in two executions during the 1990s, the governor would not sign off on another and has called instead for a moratorium on the death penalty and statewide discussion on the practice.

That means convicted murder Gary Haugen will not receive a lethal injection as planned on Dec. 6. Haugen wants to die and he bears great guilt as opposed to the thousands of innocent unborn babies killed each year in our state; we want no part of either kind of death.

The Catholic Church taught that capital punishment was allowable as a last resort to protect society. But in Evangelium Vitae in 1995, Pope John Paul wrote that modern methods of incarceration have made the death penalty unnecessary in almost all cases.
Had we killed Haugen, we would have borne guilt of our own.

The United States, in allowing executions, is in dubious company. No other developed nation allows capital punishment, but those that do include Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Somalia and Zimbabwe.

Haugen was slated to die on Dec. 6, the feast of St. Nicholas. That would have been a poignant date, since it was St. Nicholas who in the 4th century saved three prisoners who were about to be beheaded by the ruler of Myra in Asia Minor. Nicholas, bishop of the region, waded through a crowd of watchers, seized the executioner’s sword and threw it to the ground.

We are glad to be part of a church still keeping an eye out for justice and we thank Gov. Kitzhaber for his action. We can only hope that he will remember this experience of exercising conscience when time comes for him to consider conscience rights for health workers who choose not to be associated with abortion and contraception.

Catholic teaching on the death penalty…

Catechism of the Catholic Church – 2267

Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”  Catechism of the Catholic Church – 2267

SOURCE:  CATHOLIC SENTINEL

END OF POST

Pope Benedict XVI: The Gospel Of Life Is Also The Gospel Of Mercy

GOSPEL OF LIFE IS ALSO GOSPEL OF MERCY

VATICAN CITY, 5 APR 2008 (VIS) – Today in the Vatican , the Holy Father received 300 participants in an international congress entitled: “Oil on the wounds. A response to the blight of abortion and divorce”. The event is being promoted by the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in collaboration with the Knights of Columbus.

Benedict XVI expressed his satisfaction at the participants’ focus on the parable of the Good Samaritan in studying questions “which bring so much suffering to the lives of people, families and society”. He also recalled how in debating such matters, “often purely ideologically, a kind of conspiracy of silence is created. Only through an attitude of merciful love can we … bring help and enable victims to rise up again and resume the course of their lives.

“In a cultural context marked by increasing individualism, hedonism and, all too often, by a lack of solidarity and adequate social support”, the Pope added, people make “decisions that contrast with the indissolubility of the conjugal bond and with the respect due to human life freshly conceived and still guarded in the maternal womb”.

He went on: “Divorce and abortion are, of course, different choices, at times made in difficult and dramatic circumstances. They often give rise to traumas and are a source of profound suffering for the people who make them. … They leave wounds that mark life indelibly.

“The Church’s ethical judgement concerning abortion and divorce is clear and well-known to everyone: they are grave sins which – in various ways and with due evaluation of subjective responsibilities – injure the dignity of the human person, involve a profound injustice in human and social relationships, and offend God Himself, the guarantor of the marital bond and the architect of life”.

Nonetheless, “the Church, following the example of her divine Master, always has to deal with real people, especially the weakest and most innocent, … as well as other men and women who, having perpetrated those acts, are stained with sin and bear its interior wounds while seeking peace and the possibility of rehabilitation.

“The Church”, said the Pope, “has the primary duty to approach these people with love and delicacy, with kindness and maternal concern, in order to announce the merciful closeness of God and Jesus Christ. … Yes, the gospel of love and of life is also always the gospel of mercy” and, “on the basis of this mercy, the Church cultivates an indomitable faith in mankind and its capacity for recovery. She knows that, with the help of grace, human freedom is capable of the definitive and faithful giving of self which makes it possible for the marriage of a man and a woman to be an indissoluble bond”, just as she knows that “human freedom, even in the most difficult circumstances, is capable of extraordinary gestures of sacrifice and solidarity to accept the life of a new human being”.

“Hence”, Pope Benedict went on, “it may be seen that the ‘noes’ pronounced by the Church in her moral guidelines, and upon which public opinion sometimes unilaterally fixes its attention, are in fact so many ‘yeses’ to the dignity of human beings, their lives and their capacity to love”.

Turning to consider the consequences of divorce, the Holy Father recommended that pastoral efforts be concentrated on ensuring “that children do not become the innocent victims of conflicts between divorcing parents”, and that efforts be made to ensure “as far as possible” the continuity “of the bond with parents and of the relationship with their family and social origins, which are indispensable for well-balanced psychological and human development”.

“How much selfish complicity often lies at the roots of a difficult decision that so many women have had to face alone and of which they still have the open wound in their soul!” said Benedict XVI talking of abortion. Then, echoing John Paul II‘s words from his Encyclical “Evangelium vitae”, he added: “Do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. … The Father of mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation”.

In closing, Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation for “all those social and pastoral initiatives which seek the reconciliation and cure of people affected by the drama of abortion and divorce”. They are, he concluded, “essential elements in building the civilisation of love of which humanity today has more need than ever”.

Looking Back And Pressing Forward For Christ: Reflections of an advocate for life in the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon

From his perch of absolute human torment, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man listened to the men beneath his cross. “Save yourself,” they said. ‘Come down from the Cross!'” He did not until after all was accomplished: for their sakes…

In many ways today, this same scenario is being carried out in the lives of all those who have chosen to remain with Jesus on their cross. And they themselves hear the very same: ‘Come down from your cross.’ “Save yourself, but, leave us alone.”

This is particularly true of all men and women of goodwill in this age who carry the cross ofdec28_massacre_innocents1.jpg convincing the world concerning the grave sin of abortion. If one has spent time protesting outside of any abortion clinic, stood on a street corner with a sign, or simply marched for life–that one has known and experienced in some form derision. Yes, the words they sometimes hear are surely different, but, the meaning is the same, “Come down from your cross.” “leave us alone.” “This cross is senseless to us.”

And it is, presently.

Below I offer the reflections of a pro lifer found in the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon. I was attracted to her article not so much because of her complaints, (for there are always aches, pains, irritation and turmoil when one is carrying their cross) but, instead for the simple reason of her perserverance for the sake of love and life–and it is the same love of Christ Jesus hanging on the cross in whom she perserveres for the sake of life, for both know that in order for one to enter life the commandments must be kepted… On earth as it is in heaven.

From the beginning, the living Tradition of the Churchas shown by the Didache, the most ancient non-biblical Christian writing–categorically repeated the commandment “You shall not kill”: “There are two ways, a way of life and a way of death; there is a great difference between them… In accordance with the precept of the teaching: you shall not kill…you shall not put a child to death by abortion nor kill it once it is born…. The way of death is this: …they show no compassion for the poor, they do not suffer with the suffering, they do not acknowledge their Creator, they kill their children and by abortion cause God’s creatures to perish; they drive away the needy, oppress the suffering, they are advocates of the rich and unjust judges of the poor; they are filled with every sin. May you be able to stay ever apart, O children, from all these sins!” 

Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II 03.25.95.

Dear Advocates for Life,

As we look back on 2007 we thank the Dear Lord for giving us grace to persevere through many obstacles.  We remember:

  • how at the 2007 Session of the legislature the Catholics were poorly represented by Roger Martin the lobbyist who had voted to legalize abortion as a legislator in 1969. 
  • how the Catholic hospitals didn’t squawk at the thought of giving “Emergency Contraception” to women as matter of course if they said they were sexually assaulted, with no definition of “assault”.
  • how Our chancellor, Mary Jo Tully, is the on the Ethics Board at these hospitals didn’t submit testimony to fight for the life of children at the earliest stage.
  • how the Archdiocese of Portland didn’t fight for our right to vote on homosexual issues
  • how the Archdiocese has still not disclosed the letter from Bishop Vigneron from Oakland regarding the scandalous homosexual workshop at St. Philip Neri parish with Father Jim Schexnayder.
  • how the Justice and Peace Office has tens of thousands of dollars in her budget and the Respect Life Office has none.
  • how our battle against Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon participating churches and them allowing “masses” for Toni Tortorilla, the “first ordained woman” (impossible, VOCAL) in the Archdiocese and the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council still saying that we should be involved with this pro-abortion/pro-homosexual group of Churches.

GOOD NEWS – Our faith in Jesus Christ and His Church won many battles in this spiritual warfare. 

  • The embryonic stem cell/cloning bill lost by one vote.  Even though Oregon Catholic Conference didn’t lobby against this, Oregon Right to Life fought hard and had their conference speaker Father Tad Pacholczyk from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, stay two more days and change the course of this vote.
  • The two referenda petition drives for the right to vote on “Domestic Partnerships” and “sexual behavior/activity as a protected minority status” truly succeeded. Thousands of Catholics, Protestants from different backgrounds came together to gather 130,000 signatures, all voluntary, in a true ecumenical effort, and NO DEBT.
  • Sidenote — February 1st a judge will determine whether the “domestic partnerships” will be voted on without another signature drive…the signature drive to put “sexual activity/behavior” with no definition WILL go forward.  So….keep praying.
  • The Right to Life is still alive and well in the pews.  Even though this is not a top priority with the Archdiocese, the Life is Sacred conference coming up on January 26th at the Expo Center will have thousands of lovers of life gathering.  And the churches that have respect life offices are doing such good works to save lives.
  • We had a very successful Justice in Pieces series of workshops with Oregon Catholics understanding how dangerous to our souls the Saul Alinsky/Chicago/Portland connection is.  We are learning and acting on this education.  For a CD contact me and I’ll send it out….

This year is one where we will need more perseverance aka”; persisting in anything undertaken; maintaining a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly. ‘ 

We really need to persist in prayer for our Archdiocese. 

On a personal note, I was “dismissed” from a volunteer position, by the Archbishop,  with the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women as Church Commission Chairman.  I had been with these great ladies for almost five years and did the prayers for priests in the Sentinel each month for almost four years. 

I kept VOCAL separate from the ACCW in many ways….I respected this relationship and didn’t misuse it.  However, the Archbishop isn’t happy with me and there was mention of the Campaign for Human Development in the “dismissal” conversation by the president of ACCW and my problems with the CHD.

There were already problems for me with ACCW because, in my opinion, we were not respected for our opinions.  For example, our evaluation of the “Safe environments” programs that our children are subjected to. A four month ad hoc committee led all ladies to submit a letter to the Archbishop stating this was not appropriate for the children. He fell back on information by Sister Rita Rae Schneider, who was very psychological, but not maternally protective and dismissed our concerns.  Mom’s know best.  There just aren’t any in leadership in the Archdiocese that I can think of.

And remember when I was “escorted out” of the Pastoral Center when I mentioned a meeting with the School Superintendent, Bob Mizia, to discuss an opt out form that Cathy Shannon, the Safe Environments director said was not a parental option in all cases.   So…..let’s keep on our knees.  For me too please. 

Remember, we are having a Spring talk by Donna Steichen of “Ungodly Rage” fame.  She is just finishing up a new book.  We will have to raise funds, I would think lots, her fee is $1,500 and she needs travel expenses from California and a hotel.  This is a great opportunity and I will have all monies posted with donors initials on the VOCAL website www.vocalnews.org so you’ll know where we are and what we need.

I pray that you had a wonderful Christmas Season and Happy New Year.  It’s going to be a good one serving Jesus Christ and His Church.God Bless you and yours,
Carolyn
www.vocalnews.org

On Sunday April 24th 1994, Pope John Paul II recommended this prayer be used by all Catholics as a prayer for the Church when he said:

‘”May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.“‘

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.