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Archbishop Chaput Calls for Day of Prayer and Penance in Response to Gosnell Conviction

The Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. announced today that the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are encouraged to observe Friday, May 24, 2013 as a day of prayer and penance, in response to the trial and conviction of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

Archbishop Chaput is asking that the faithful participate in this day, with others or alone, by: attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion, meditating on the Word of God, spending time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, making the Way of the Cross, or fasting and abstaining from eating meat.

I think whether you're in Philly or not, this is a worthy thing to do.

The recent trial and conviction of the Philadelphia abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell, for killing
three babies born alive, manifested in yet another vivid way the horrific details of the abortion
culture that confronts the Gospel of Life.

Christians have no option but to respond with prayer and penance in reparation for these crimes against the sacredness of human life, especially in the womb. The battle for the protection of human life is equally a spiritual battle as it is culturally, socially and politically.
The Archdiocese point out that this falls on the same day as the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. "Our prayers and penances in
reparation for the crimes against human life in our own city unite us to the same intentions for
our brothers and sisters in China," says the archdiocese.



*subhead*Penance.*subhead*

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18 comments:

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Of course, the good archbishop opposes the divinely recommended remedy for dealing with people like Gosnell. See Genesis 9:5-6. In First Things magazine several years ago, Absp. Chaput had the audacity -- and the ignorance -- to equate Supreme Court Justice Scalia (who publicly questioned the Catholic Church's revisionist, abolitionist stance on capital punishment) with Frances Kissling, the founder and president of the pro-abortion Catholics For A Free Choice.

Another reason why I left the Catholic Church is this emphasis on "reparation" for another's sin. There's absolutely no way Absp. Chaput, the citizens of Philadelphia nor anybody else can make reparation for Gosnell's crimes. Not even Gosnell can do that. He can repent and change his life but he can't undo the past. Nobody can -- and it's sheer arrogance to think it can be done. All we can do is work hard to make sure that such people as Gosnell are punished and discouraged from performing the acts he did.

Maureen said...

Joseph, we are all affected by the sins of our fellow man. That Gosnell operated for as long as he did without good people turning a blind eye or ignoring stories that popped up. If we are not actively stopping abortion (and other offenses) we tacitly approve it, and we are guilty in part.

bill bannon said...

Maureen,
I hope Joe returns to the Church at least in its essentials while I agree with him that Chaput is strange....and I agree with him that Chaput's death penalty position is the opposite of God's in Gen.9:5-6 where God gives the dignity of the VICTIM as the reason for the death penalty which Chaput and many Bishops have reversed in favor of the murderer.
But Penance by us is another red herring of Chaput if we are working against abortion within the limits of having a life outside that issue. We send money for years now each month ( an amount that hurts) to save thrown away sick new borns in Beijing. Then we have other parts of our life. Chaput is manipulating guilt perhaps of people who do nothing but he'd be better off challenging them to aid wherein they can... rather than do penance for guilt perhaps Chaput has and is projecting onto others. No desire to meet him...none.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Maureen, of course we are all affected by the sins of our fellow man. It's one thing to say that. It's quite another to assume guilt, especially collectively, for something outside of one's responsibility, direct or indirect. That is the behavior of a cult. I'm serious.

There's a reason why people talk about "Catholic guilt." It's not a joke.

Only Gosnell, those who helped him and those who knew but did nothing are the only guilty parties in this mess.

BTW, if Chaput is so enthusiastic about doing penance, he should start with his own clericalist attitude, careerist approach and character assassination of a Supreme Court Justice. To date, I know of no public apology Chaput made to Scalia for his asinine remarks.

Sherry Antonetti said...

We can pray for those in purgatory, offer up fasts and sacrifices and bear sufferings as a form of imitation of Christ's sufferings, to aid those who have not yet obtained the grace of Heaven. If we can do this for those who are deceased, then surely, we can also do this for the living. Rather than accuse and excoriate the Cardinal for those things he has written with which you disagree, why not consider the spiritual gentleness of obedience, of praying for a man you know to be a sinner, whose heart must be very hard from slaughtering the innocent, but who God still permits to live, perhaps in hopes of softening our hearts to the reality, the very hard to accept reality that even Gosnell is a child of God created in God's image, who (as our enemy), needs our prayers and fasting quite desperately. Perhaps too, Cardinal Chaput would benefit if you prayed for him, not for what he would say or write, but for him to receive the graces and gifts of God's Holy Spirit in his ministry.

bill bannon said...

Sherry,
      I already prayed for Gosnell.  And I always pray for a criminal I nearly killed two years ago on the street.  And I've prayed for loan sharks I grew up near, for years every month...some years, everyday.  I'd still want God's word in Genesis 9:5-6 enforced against them if they murdered.
      Are you aware historically that your "sweet gentleness of obedience" would have allowed you to enslave those who resisted the gospel after Pope Nicholas V's "Romanus Pontifex" in 1455 ( mid 4th large par.); burn heretics after Pope Innocent IV's "Ad Extirpanda" of 1253; and burn heretics again after Pope Leo X's "Exsurge Domine" of 1520.  In fact you Sherry would have been excommunicated latae sententiae after 1520 if you believed with Luther that burning heretics was against the Holy Spirit.  Read it online...art.33 condemned...but now Catholicism rightly agrees with Luther.
       Those two...enslaving and burning heretics are now intrinsic evils in section 80 of Splendor of the Truth but in those years, Catholic culture did both slaving and burning heretics.  If your Bishop then said, " Sherry...help the prince burn an Anabaptist next week...gather wood with your family for that occasion."
       Obedience woukd have had you then help with what is now an intrinsic evil...an evil not excusable by historical factors.
       But you'll say the Church is super soft now...obedience is safe.  The Church lost her papal lands and kingly connections and now She no longer kills.  Are you sure?  Jeffrey Dahmer was murdered by a lifer in a state with no death penalty which means there is little you can do to his killer who is serving life anyway....so he killed with no fear in prison.  Brazil and Mexico are the two largest Catholic populations.  They have no death penalty...bad escapable prisons and astronomically high murder rates.  Obey Chaput and vote against the death penalty and you just might be getting a Jeffrey Dahmer murdered or a Fr. Geoghan murdered who also was killed by a lifer in prison in a no death penalty state.  
       Burning heretics was an extreme and not executing in clear cut cases of premeditated murder is our current opposite extreme.  We go from one extreme to the other.  Check UN figures for murder by country....six of the worst twenty countries as to murder are Catholic countries with no death penalty.

Unknown said...

Joe:

See Job 1:4-5 and 2 Maccabees 12:38-46 (the latter accepted by all ancient Christians) for the OT Biblical basis of making reparation for others. See also 2 Cor 1: 5-7, Philippians 3: 8, 10-12; Colossions 1:24 We are responsible for each other's spiritual well-being. Gosnell must pay for his crimes (and a life sentence will be a de facto death sentence for him at his age), but we also wish to meet him in Heaven (remember the meeting between the repentant murderer and his victim's brother in C. S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. The Orthodox also believe in reparation (called "expiation", but with the same intents and goals), and this is shared by the ancient Churches.

Bill Bannon:

I know a little something more about Dahmer's killer, as my father worked in the criminal justice system here in Wisconsin. Christopher Scarver was selected to kill Dahmer and another inmate because he (Scarver) was basically insane. If he hadn't done what he did, he most likely would have ended up in the psyche unit in due time. Also, Dahmer was offered protective custody, to prevent this from happening. He refused it.

Remember also the Talmud's commentary on the death penalty: "A Sanhedrin which pronounces the death sentence once every seven years is too hotheaded."

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Unknown, your OT citations reflect an era before Christ's death on the cross satisfied the divinely mandated penalty for sin. I challenge you to find any such call to similar reparation in the NT.

The Letter to the Hebrews states that Christ's sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to pay for human sin, making any other attempt at reparation irrelevant and moot. Indeed, Hebrews states that any such attempts after Christ's death and resurrection insult His act.

While we have some responsibility for the spiritual well-being of others, each individual is primarily responsible for how he deals with what life has dealt him. Besides, we can only have such responsibility for those with whom we come in contact, either deliberately or accidentally. We cannot be responsible for people we have never met.

Regarding the Talmud, it also says, "those who are merciful to the cruel will be cruel to the merciful."

http://scorchintorah.blogspot.com/2009/03/quote-for-day-cruel-to-be-merciful.html

IOW, a broken moral compass results from not knowing how to deal with situations in a morally appropriate manner. Compare the Catholic leadership's compassion for murderers and its lack of compassion for victims of clerical sex abuse. Indeed, the Church has viewed those victims as threats to its secular interests, and only recently (and grudgingly) admitted its role in creating them.

Regarding that last point, I suggest you preach your sermon about being "responsible for each others' spiritual well-being" to Roger Mahony, Bernard Law and Rembert Weakland, for starters.

Sherry, I no longer consider myself Catholic so I don't believe in the kind of reparation for the dead you mention. Besides, how do we know how much and what kind of reparation the departed need, since each individual case is unique? If you say, "Well, the Church knows," then how does it know? Only God can know such things because only God knows the depths of each person and circumstance -- and far more profoundly than we can ever realize. Therefore, interceding for the dead is an arrogant act, especially since God is the Ultimate in righteousness. His justice and mercy do not conflict with each other; they complement each other.

Regarding capital punishment, if God is the Author of life and death, then He has the prerogative to determine under which circumstances life may be taken. He determined those circumstances regarding murder but the Catholic Church ignores His judgement.





Unknown said...

Unknown, your OT citations reflect an era before Christ's death on the cross satisfied the divinely mandated penalty for sin. I challenge you to find any such call to similar reparation in the NT.

I have. 2 Cor 1: 5-7, Philippians 3: 8, 10-12; Colossions 1:24. There is a share in the sufferings of Christ, and what affects one member of His Body affects all of His members. And are the Orthodox, Copts, and Armenians likewise wrong for their similar interpretations? Why should I take the private exegesis of Mr. D'Hippolito over one dating back to the Early Church? I ask this honestly.

Besides, we can only have such responsibility for those with whom we come in contact, either deliberately or accidentally. We cannot be responsible for people we have never met.

Tell that to St. Therese of Lisieux:

http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/12/therese-and-the-death-penalty

Mind you, I admit this could be considered an argument for the death penalty (of which I have an ambivalent stance). But the point is, she may have had a role in the murderer's repentance. I have known other "prayer warriors" who have done wonders through similar means.

Regarding the Talmud, it also says, "those who are merciful to the cruel will be cruel to the merciful."

http://scorchintorah.blogspot.com/2009/03/quote-for-day-cruel-to-be-merciful.html


Well done, but not incompatible with the previous quote. My reservations about the death penalty are numerous, and I won't go into them here. We could also trade quotes from Blackstone and other people regarding this. Also recall that in the Mosaic covenant, the death penalty was made deliberately difficult to attain. If the forms were not followed exactly, it didn't happen.

I suggest you preach your sermon about being "responsible for each others' spiritual well-being" to Roger Mahony, Bernard Law and Rembert Weakland, for starters.

Rembert was my archbishop for 25 years, and I was part of an organization who reminded him of that constantly. Needless to say, he did not appreciate it, especially when we tried to block his wreckovation of the Cathedral. Right now, I am happy with the fact that he must watch his work being undone. The newer priests are more traditional, and there is a more "Catholic" feel to the Archdiocese



Unknown said...

Sorry, that should have read "which reminded him of that constantly". That and any other bloopers may be attributed to fatigue after a nighttime feeding of a newborn. Apologies to Joe and all.

bill bannon said...

Unknown,
You wrote: " I know a little something more about Dahmer's killer, as my father worked in the criminal justice system here in Wisconsin. Christopher Scarver was selected to kill Dahmer and another inmate because he (Scarver) was basically insane. If he hadn't done what he did, he most likely would have ended up in the psyche unit in due time. Also, Dahmer was offered protective custody, to prevent this from happening. He refused it."

Interesting detail but it sheds no light on the other 655 inmate homicides between 2001 and 2009 in both jails and state prisons by Dept. Of Justice figures....almost double the executions in the US which would lead one to think that John Paul II should have been twice as zealous about inmate homicides as about executions but he wasn't because ccc 2267 is public relations and an attempt to fight the burning of heretics legacy repeatedly rearing its head
in places like the history books, encyclopedias, and the History Station. Rome and the Bishops are trying to cover up one extreme with another...while ignoring Gen.9:5-6 which was addressed to Jews and Gentiles and is not Mosaic or Talmud relevant.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Unknown, there's no need to apologize for typos. I make them, as well. That's what happens when anyone responds passionately to any subject on the Internet.

Regarding your NT citations, there's a major difference between "bearing Christ's sufferings" and atoning for another person's sin, especially someone whom we have never met.

Christ bore many sufferings during his ministry: being lied about and harassed, feeling compassion for the vulnerable, being misunderstood by those closest to Him, experiencing grief at a friend's death (Lazarus)
and such fear and anxiety at Gethsemane that an angel had to comfort him, among other things.

But only Christ could atone for human sin --all human sin, past, present and future -- because Christ was the only perfect sacrifice God could accept for such large-scale redemption. Christ is perfect; we are not. We cannot atone for our own sin because to do so would mean our own death, since "the wages of sin is death," as St. Paul wrote.

True, all people die and that's a consequence of sin. But Christ died so that those who embrace His death as our vicarious sacrifice need not fear divine condemnation. The OT's sacrificial system pointed toward that ultimate sacrifice. Any human attempts to atone for others' sin following Christ's resurrection are merely unnecessary, useless -- and, ultimately, vain and arrogant.

Regarding St. Therese of Liseux, no moral contradiction exists between praying for a murderer's repentance and executing him. As St. Thomas Aquinas said in Summa Contra Gentiles:

The fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgment that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

One more thing, Unknown: I claim no special insight into Scripture. But just because groups of Christians have believed something for centuries doesn't necessarily make their interpretation right. I'm not setting myself up as a "substitute Magisterium." I'm challenging the conventional wisdom, popular piety and apparent misinterpretation that pervades all Christian churches.

bill bannon said...

Correction...executions are less in number than inmate murders but not half...I extrapolated from 2008 which one shouldn't do. Executions are 77% of the number of inmate murders for 2001 to 2009 because the front half of that period had far more executions than the recent half.
656 inmate murders...505 executions for the nine years....DOJ figures for inmate homicides.

Sherry Antonetti said...

Not gathering wood for burning heritics...just fasting and praying...big difference.

bill bannon said...

Sherry,
I love your belief in prayer but you suggested we obey Chaput. I don't have to... for the same reason I don't have to obey the bishop of Portland Maine. I don't live there. I have to obey my Bishop who has been repeatedly in the news for coddling sex abusers. Maybe I'll move to Maine.

Unknown said...

there's no need to apologize for typos. I make them, as well. That's what happens when anyone responds passionately to any subject on the Internet.

Typing at 1:30 am after dealing with a fussy week-old baby will do it, too. :-)


Also, my Google ID comes up as unknown for some reason. As I have no intention to hide behind that, I'll identify myself. I'm Dave. We've crossed swords before, and we've gotten heated up in times past. But I've appreciated the civil conversation on this round, even as we disagree (and occasionally agree, which has been known to happen). Thank you.

Quick summary, as this thread has apparently run its course:

Regarding the death penalty: you do make some good points. Again, I'm ambivalent. I have some reservations, such as prosecutors going for the conviction rather than real justice (you may know the quote by Blackstone regarding the prosecutor's role), and the immoral and unethical means used to attain them(withholding of evidence, questionable witnesses). Also, public defenders should be trained in criminal law, and especially for capital cases. I would not want my life on the line with an attorney whose primary specialty is divorce or patent law. OTOH, abusus non tollit usum.

About theology, we will have to disagree. My one remaining point is this: if a belief has spread as far east as India (St. Thomas) and as far south as Ethiopia (via the Copts evangelized by St. Mark), there might be something to it...

Two off-topic things (if our gracious hosts allow):

1) I never got the chance to compliment you on your article on the Afghani women's basketball team. Well done.

2) If you ever find yourself in the Milwaukee area, my door's open.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Dave, thanks so much, especially for your gracious invitation. How did you hear about the story I wrote on the Afghan basketball team (men's, not women's)?

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