July 14, 2006

Letters to the Editor

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Urge Congress to abolish the death penalty

When I read in the June 30th edition about the president of the Philippines and Pope Benedict XVI, I rejoiced. I feel it is significant that another country has passed a law to abolish the death penalty.

President Nacapagal-Arroyo’s presentation of this law to the pope acknowledges the Church’s stand on this issue.

The United States is now one of only a few countries to hold to this unnecessary practice. I pray that our people will press Congress to follow the example of the Philippines.

The death penalty does not deter crime. The people on death row are not a threat to the lives of others. The cost to keep an inmate on death row is significantly higher than one serving a life sentence. The only real reason left for the death sentence is the understandably human inclination for revenge and/or retaliation.

The Mosaic law contains mandates to control the excessive tendency toward revenge. “But if injury ensues, you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Ex 21:23-24), and “Limb for limb, eye, tooth for tooth! The same injury that a man gives another shall be inflicted on him in return” (Lv 24:20).

These laws were made so that a person used only equal injury in payment for harm done. They reflect the minimum of justice.

That was then. Jesus Christ has come among us to call us to a higher standard. He came to fulfill the law in love and mercy. Read all of Chapter 5 in the Gospel of Matthew, but especially Mt 38-39: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.”

And Mt 44-45: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”

Let the teachings of Jesus move you to contact your state and federal representatives about abolishing the death penalty.

- Nora Cummings, Indianapolis

Vocations camp story is worth the read

Sean Gallagher’s story about the vocation exploration retreat was really well done in the June 30 issue of The Criterion.

Some of the quotes from the participants were amazing, and I was moved that someone so young could be so aware of his future.


- Andrea L. Fagan
Director of Marketing and Communication
Marian College, Indianapolis

Continue to pray for the poor souls in purgatory

We must not forget to pray for the poor souls in purgatory. Many have no one to pray for them.

Purgatory is a place where a soul goes at death if it has sins on its soul that have been confessed and forgiven, but for which the person must do more penance.

We must not think that the one, two or three “Our Fathers” that the priest gives us as a penance after confessing our sins pays the full price for these sins.

Of course, they are forgiven, but a time of cleansing, or purging, is necessary before the soul may enter heaven. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#954, #1031 and #1472).

We can shorten this purging process for the dead by praying for them, and by fasting and making other sacrifices offered up for them. We can also shorten our own cleansing time while still here on earth by accepting our crosses cheerfully, without complaining, offering them up as repentance for our sins and failures.

Our grandmothers and mothers had a good point when they told us to “offer it up” when we complained about some problem, sickness or hurt.

So, pray for the souls in purgatory, either for specific souls or for all souls. If a soul is in purgatory, it needs the prayers of the living. They can no longer help themselves.

- Winferd E. Moody, Indianapolis

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