Capital Punishment: The Opposite Day Gospel by G. Vallido

“Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men.”

George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

 

Crime is without a doubt, a serious matter. It is considered to be just when a person is punished for their crimes (that is if the criminal is rightly accused). Punishment can range from simple fines and confiscation, all the way to imprisonment and even death. The latter  form of punishment is called capital punishment. Capital punishment is defined as the legally authorised killing of someone as a punishment for crime. Capital punishment is a highly controversial topic amongst numerous groups in society, including the Catholic Church. The question as to whether it is morally acceptable has been debated for centuries.

 

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In the secular society, there are several arguments in favour of capital punishment and several arguments against. People argue that capital punishment is morally acceptable because it is believed that real justice requires people to suffer for their wrongdoing, and to suffer in a way appropriate for the crime, and in the case of an atrocious crime such as murder, the criminal should be put to death. Other arguments for the practice of capital punishment include the deterrence of other criminals, the prevention of reoffending and the closure for victim’s families and friends.

 

Conversely, people argue against that the capital punishment is morally unacceptable under the belief that all life is valuable. So valuable that even the worst murderers should not be deprived of the value of their lives. Everyone has the right to live, therefore capital punishment can be considered to be the act of taking away that right. Those who believe in the abolishment of capital punishment also argue that the theorised deterrence of criminals is statistically flawed, and that “retribution” is only another excuse for revenge.

 

   

   

“We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing.”

U.S. Catholic Conference

   

The Catholic Church has a unique stance towards the issue. The Catholic Church has a mixed perspective about the practice of capital punishment because of the doctrine and theology found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Bible & Catholic Social Teaching. However, in the contemporary Catholic Church it is generally accepted that the death penalty should be abolished.

 

“The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation. A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. . . . I renew the appeal I made . . . for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.”

—Pope John Paul II Papal Mass, St. Louis, Missouri, January 27, 1999

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the exposition of Catholic doctrine and teaching, it is said that the death penalty is acceptable in the circumstance where there is no other form of punishment that is suitable for an extremely heinous crime. The Catechism states that:

 

“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.”

– Catechism of The Catholic Church #2267

 

In contrast, it is found in the Bible that the act of killing is a dishonour against God & is the transgression of His commandments. In the Ten Commandments, which are the foundational moral laws of Judaism/Christianity, it is stated that “Thou shalt not kill”, which implies that any form of killing is prohibited.

 

However, in the Bible it also states that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”. This verse establishes that sin only results in death and that all sinners deserve death, but since we’ve been given the undeserved gift of Jesus, we have life that is eternal. Since all of humanity has received Jesus, all of humanity has  received a second chance, therefore, capital punishment should be considered theft of this second chance.

 

It is quite clear that the Catholic Church has a very self contradictory, mixed and confusing stance towards the issue.

 

Personally, I believe that the practice of capital punishment is unacceptable since it proves to be the “opposite of the Gospel”.

 

The Gospel was all about forgiveness, grace and love. The Gospel was the greatest love story of all time: the God of the Universe stepping down from His throne to pay the world’s debt. Christians should adopt the attitude of Jesus and “forgive those who have trespassed against them”. The act of taking one’s life because of unforgiveness greatly contrasts what God has commanded us.

 

God has commanded that we love one another as He has loved us, in John 13: 34. This means we are to follow Jesus’ example of love. Jesus saw through people’s sin and loved them, regardless of what they have done. For example, in John 8, when the pompous Pharisees caught a woman committing adultery, Jesus forgave her, did not condemn her and was even an advocate for her. We are to imitate Christ in our love, in our faith and in our purity, as said in 1 Timothy 4:12.

 

Since I believe that capital punishment contradicts the Gospel’s message of love, grace and forgiveness, I stand for the abolishment of the practice. We are all sinners; we all deserve death; but God has given us a second chance- eternal life. We aren’t entitled to take away one’s second chance because we’re all in the same boat. We’ve all fallen short of God, but He stepped down and raised us up.

 

“So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

– John 8:7 NKJV

JUDAH SMITH: JESUS IS OUR ADVOCATE

HILLSONG UNITED: SCANDAL OF GRACE:

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Our Environment: Our Responsibility by G. Vallido

“The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.” —Lady Bird Johnson

 

The environment is one thing that is shared between all who have set foot on Earth. The Earth’s significance transcends the boundaries of religion, race, gender & even time itself. What we do with this planet today will affect the people of tomorrow; therefore, it is everyone’s responsibility to look after the environment to their best ability.

 

Because of the environment’s inclusive nature, the Catholic Church as well as the people of the secular world share the same view towards the responsibility of caring for the environment. These two groups share the same goal, but have different reasons as to why they believe that Earth should be looked after.

 

From a secular point of view, the environment should be maintained & looked after because of numerous ethical and scientific reasons. Sustainability is popular because people desire a world where the air is clean and without smog; where the planet is beautiful & landfill and pollution free; and where animals are thriving and surviving. What society wants is a world where their children can live and appreciate the beauty of nature.

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The Catholic Church, among other ethical issues, shares this perspective of the environment & the responsibility associated with it. However the Catholic Church has some additional reasoning behind the care of the environment, which distinguishes their perspective from others.

 

“We must respect the integrity of all Creation” – Catechism of the Catholic Church #2415

 

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Base upon the Genesis account, Catholics believe that the Universe, and everything in it was created by God, with the intention for good. God being the Creator, created humanity along with the environment, and had given humanity dominion over the earth’s resources (Gen. 1:28). God had gave us this dominion so that we may care for His Creation; to be stewards of this beautiful gift.

 

Because of this belief of being assigned the role of “Steward of Creation”, it is considered by Catholics that polluting the environment is a dishonour towards God, since it goes against God’s command to look after Creation.

 

Also, the Catholic Church believes that the Earth should be looked after because of Catholic Social Teaching. The Catholic Church Social Teaching sums up the teaching of the Church on issues of justice between groups in society. Teaching draws on sources of insight used in Catholic ethics; such as Scripture, reason, tradition and experience. Its primary principle is dignity of the human person, which surrounds other principles such as common good, participation and subsidiarity.

 

The Catholic Church would support the care of the environment since it is concurrent with the Catholic Social Teaching principles. The most relevant principle is the tenth, which is “Care of Creation”. This principle demands that the earth is to be looked after since the Earth is God’s gift & all species have a rightful place in it. Another is the principle of common good . Since the goods of creation are intended for the common good of all living things, it would be considered right to look after Creation, so all may enjoy it. Lastly, the principle of participation closely relates to sustainability. Sustainability is all about preserving and using environmental resources to avoid depleting them. By living sustainably, the future generations will be able to participate in delighting in Creation.


I believe that the Earth should be looked after not only since God has given humanity the duty to look after His Creation, but for reasons such as the preservation of plant and animal life; the prevention of smog and health issues, and the ability to provide the future generations with environmental resources.

 

A video about the Earth Hour Movement & Spider Man being the first superhero ambassador for the world initiative: Here

What the Bible says about the Environment: Here

Surrogacy… Betrayal? by G. Vallido.

Surrogacy is defined as “The practice by which a woman (called a surrogate mother) becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby in order to give it to someone who cannot have children.”  Surrogacy is a practice that is most commonly performed for couples who either have medical issues that make pregnancy not possible or risky, or male same sex couples. Surrogacy is a complex arrangement which involves medical, emotional, financial and legal issues for all those involved. The concept of surrogacy has a variety of standpoints from varying groups in society.

 

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Most people from a secular standpoint believe that the practice of surrogacy as permissible, since it enables couples who can not have children  to experience parenthood. These people argue that without the process, they wouldn’t be able to have the joys of having children.

The Catholic Church however, strongly opposes this practice.

The Catholic Church Social Teaching sums up the teaching of the Church on issues of justice between groups in society. Teaching draws on sources of insight used in Catholic ethics; such as Scripture, reason, tradition and experience. Its primary principle is dignity of the human person, which surrounds other principles such as common good, participation and subsidiarity.

It would seem that the Catholic Church would support surrogacy because it enables the participation in parenthood, forms community between the child and parents; and is beneficial to all parties and involved (since it gives the child the experience of life and the parents at parenthood. However, the Catholic Church believes that surrogacy is  gravely and morally incorrect since it “infringes the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage” and “ betrays the spouses’ right to become a father and a mother only through each other.” This belief is based upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in Article Six, Section 2376.

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 I believe that this stance is somewhat interesting, knowing that the practice of surrogacy has been performed even in the early chapters of the Bible; namely, Genesis 16. In this account, Abram (who is referred to as Abraham later in Genesis), went into Hagar in order to produce a son for his wife Sarah, who could not give birth to a son at that time. Hagar was Abraham’s concubine; a wife of a lower status. Therefore, Abraham did not commit adultery because Hagar was given to Abraham through marriage. This case of surrogacy is different to modern surrogacy, since it was within the bounds of marriage.

Since I believe that the Word of God is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, (see 2 Timothy 3:16) I believe that the process of surrogacy is permissible only in certain circumstances. The practice is not acceptable if a man was to have sexual relations with a surrogate mother who is not his wife, or woman to a man who was not her husband. This would be considered as adultery since it is outside the bounds of marriage. It would also be considered adulterous if a man’s sperm were to be deposited into a woman who is not his wife without sexual intercourse, since his seed would make a woman who his wife pregnant.

I believe that the practice of surrogacy is acceptable in the case where a pre-fertilized egg that isn’t involved with killing of other fertilized eggs is implanted into the woman, or where it is within the bounds of marriage (however, polygamy is rare in today’s society).

 

For a similar stance by the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, click here

For a greater understanding on polygamy and the Old Testament godly men, click here