Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do Catholics have to vote for Romney?

Short answer: no.

Longer answer here.

The bottom line: whether or not one truly believes that Romney will do more to limit harm (despite also supporting intrinsic evils) than Obama and that there are proportionate reasons to vote for him will determine whether or not a Catholic can vote for Romney.  Those of us who remain unconvinced that Romney will limit harm and/or that there are proportionate reasons to vote for him despite the intrinsic evils he supports should not feel pressured to vote for him.

Of course, those of us who think that about Romney have long ago ruled out Obama, and most Democrats...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Archbishop Charles Chaput on the death penalty

Interesting words recently from Archbishop Charles Chaput on Americans and the death penalty:

Turning away from capital punishment does not diminish our support for the families of murder victims. They bear a terrible burden of grief, and they rightly demand justice. Real murderers deserve punishment; but even properly tried and justly convicted murderers — men and women who are found guilty of heinous crimes — retain their God-given dignity as human beings. When we take a murderer’s life we only add to the violence in an already violent culture, and we demean our own dignity in the process.

Both Scripture and Catholic tradition support the legitimacy of the death penalty under certain limited conditions. But the Church has repeatedly called us to a higher road over the past five decades. We don’t need to kill people to protect society or punish the guilty. And we should never be eager to take anyone’s life. As a result, except in the most extreme circumstances, capital punishment cannot be justified. In developed countries like our own, it should have no place in our public life. [...]

Most American Catholics, like many of their fellow citizens, support the death penalty. That doesn’t make it right. But it does ensure that the wrong-headed lesson of violence “fixing” the violent among us will be taught to another generation.

As children of God, we’re better than this, and we need to start acting like it. We need to end the death penalty now.

Read the whole thing here.

May God bless Archbishop Chaput for his leadership on this and many important issues!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Indefinite detention: the cost

From the "How could we have known?" files: another death at Guantanamo:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The latest prisoner to die at the U.S. base in Guantanamo, Cuba, was identified Tuesday as a Yemeni man with a history of mental illness who battled guards inside the prison and challenged his confinement all the way to the Supreme Court.

Adnan Latif spent more than a decade at Guantanamo, where he repeatedly went on hunger strike and once slashed his wrist and hurled the blood at his visiting lawyer. He also received mental health treatment at the detainee hospital, according to his lawyers and court records.

The government accused him of training with the Taliban in Afghanistan but he had never been charged and the military said there were no plans to prosecute him.

Latif was found unconscious in his cell inside the maximum security section of Guantanamo known as Camp 5 on Saturday and pronounced dead a short time later, according to a statement from the U.S. military's Miami-based Southern Command. It said the cause of death remains under investigation. He was the ninth prisoner to die at Guantanamo. [...]

Latif was well known in the small community of lawyers and human rights activists who focus on national security issues and Guantanamo because his legal challenge, which was turned back by the Supreme Court in June, was considered a major setback in the battle against the policy of holding men without charge at the U.S. base in Cuba. [...]

At one point, military records show, Latif was cleared for release. But the U.S. has ceased returning any prisoners to Yemen because the country is unstable and its government is considered ill-equipped to prevent former militants from resuming previous activities. There are about 55 Yemenis among the 167 men held at Guantanamo.

To sum up: a man never charged with the crime of terrorism, or with any crime, was held by our country because at one time we thought he might have been a threat; and though he was cleared to be released he couldn't go home, because his country is too unstable to prevent him from returning to the terrorist activities we never actually charged him with we let him deteriorate mentally and physically until he ended up dead.

But we're the good guys. Right? Right?