by Jim Forest
It never ceases to amaze me that many of those who describe themselves as “pro-life” are, when it comes to capital punishment, passionate supporters of death as a method of improving the world. Most notably in America, not a few of those who wear a symbol of an earlier method of execution, the cross, would be more than willing to volunteer their services to end the lives of people now on Death Row whether by injection or hanging or the electric chair or firing squad — or, why not, crucifixion?
Many Catholics and other Christians were outraged when the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had authorized a modification of the Catholic Catechism. That basic text will now include the declaration that the death penalty is an attack “on the inviolability and dignity of the person” and can no longer be regarded as an appropriate means “of safeguarding the common good.” (Full text of the changes)
Christians of the Church’s first few centuries would be astonished at the number of pro-execution Christians they would find in a twenty-first century country crowded with churches. In the early Church even soldiers and judges entering the catechumenate couldn’t be baptized until they vowed not to take the lives of fellow human beings.
Take for example this third-century canonical text attributed to an earlier Bishop of Rome, St. Hippolytus (170–235 AD), who stressed that the renunciation of killing men, women and children was a precondition of baptism: Continue Reading…
by Fr. James Martin, SJ | ελληνικά | ру́сский | српски
One of the most effective collaborations among the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions in the United States has been the pro-life movement, which for more than 40 years has sought to give witness to the Christian confession that all life is sacred, including life in the womb. Indeed, while some Christians in each tradition have, sadly, maligned one another in other contexts, they have largely pulled together for the cause of the what’s become known as the pro-life movement.
But if we are to take the next step in the ecumenical vision of the sanctity of all life, then we must collectively move beyond the divisions of party politics and bring the pro-life movement to its ineluctable conclusion. This means that we must advocate for the sanctity of all life, not just life in the womb.
What Christians of all traditions are increasingly coming to understand is that to be consistently pro-life also means to be pro-social justice. Continue Reading…
by Fr. James Martin, SJ | ру́сский
I am pro-life.
That means that I’m also pro-social justice.
That means that I am not only for the dignity of the human being from the moment of conception, but also for the dignity of the human being until the natural end of life. For life does not end with birth. A person who is truly pro-life is pro-all life, pro-every stage of life, pro-every stage of life for every person. For all life is sacred, because all life is created by God.
That means that I support anything that helps a person live a full, healthy and satisfying life, in every part of the world. Continue Reading…