Seriously, so the pope is on the same page as me after the Vatican issued its statement last Thursday about capital punishment saying "because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person." I am edified because I have been preaching this position for so many years even with Roman Catholic priests who didn’t want hear the message!
The message is quite clear and uncomplicated, “you cannot support the death penalty and say that you are “pro-life”! Nonsense! Being pro death penalty and being opposed to abortions are diametrical opposing extremes! To put it in simple terms one is a contradiction of the other. You can’t have a foot in both camps. You either hate one or love the other!
I have always maintained that the church has “accommodated” the state when it comes to capital punishment. Capital punishment is barbaric and serves no useful purpose! It does nothing to relieve the sufferings of the victim’s family and it certainly does not assist them in getting closure;, it does nothing to help the perpetrator’s family except to ostracize them into thinking that they part of the “guilty party” when they had nothing to do with the crime. And that they are further proclaimed guilty because their loved one is the condemned person! Yes the victim has a mother and father who loved them and so does the condemned person also has a mother and father who equally love without reservation.
Capital punishment serves no purpose in our society! And it is even worse at its extremist level when most Americans, and I repeat, most Americans, are prepared to accept that innocent men go to the gallows to preserver this horrific crime that society is all very willing and able to perpetrate not only on the guilty but also on the innocent! And yet American society is quite able to comfortably live with chin held high saying that “In God we trust!” And we say that we are a Christian country! Hypocrites of the first order! America is not a Christian country and let’s be clear about that! And let’s also be clear that its founding fathers were not Christians!
As for these “so called” conservative Roman Catholics who proclaim the pope is in error and his teachings are unbiblical, then I can only suggest to them, as a theologian, that they don’t understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ and need to read it and study it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about proclaiming “the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor and happy is the man who does not lose his faith in me”. (Jerusalem Bible, Mt. 11:5-6).
I think that just about sums it up the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is all about forgiveness and for those who think the death penalty is the way to go! It is not! And it has never been the way to use the Bible to justify slavery, discrimination or the death penalty! It is not and if you think it is than I would suggest that you are an errant Christian person!
Very Rev Archpriest (Andrew) Keith W. Lowe, M.Div.