There is no way either Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City, S.D., or America could have anticipated the confluence of his unambiguous defense of all life (How Unconditional Is the Right to Life? 1/29) and the New York federal jury’s imposition of the death penalty on Ronell Wilson. Perhaps it was the work of divine providence. Bishop Cupich recognizes that such verdicts spring from compassion for the victims of horrendous crimes, a desire to right the wrong and a desire to bring about closure in those affected by the taking of innocent life.
Closure was certainly on the minds of the victims’ widows, who applauded the verdict and saw in it the hand of God, who somehow orchestrated this horror in answer to their distraught prayers. Gone from their tortured memory is the age-old reminder that God, who hates the sin, still loves the sinner and wishes for each person, even the apparently remorseless ones, salvation.
Bishop Cupich draws from a deeper wisdom when he writes that taking a human life in the name of retribution does not breed justice or bring closure, but only continues the cycle of violence and hatred.
Camille D’Arienzo, R.S.M.
Sacredness of Life
As someone who has prayed and counseled before abortion clinics and who regularly visits prisoners on death row in Tennessee while advocating for the abolition of capital punishment, I was most inspired by Bishop Blase J. Cupich’s article (1/29). The consistent ethic of life/seamless garment teaching promoted by Bishop Cupich is one of the best-kept secrets of our Catholic Church, something that could very well launch a movement to unite our country politically around the theme of nonviolence and the sacredness of life across the board. Let’s get the message out there!
Bruce Nieli, C.S.P.
Best Possible Light
In his letter (2/12) Bishop Thomas V. Curry continues to portray the church in the best possible light and asserts the church was ahead of the curve in dealing with sex abuse probems. In his new book, Holding Bishops Accountable, Timothy Lyton argues quite persuasively that the lawyers who sued the church were the ones truly responsible for bringing about reforms to date, by trying to deal not only with the individual injury but with the deeper causes of the problems and with the policy makers who must correct them. Of course, Bishop Curry can also sweep aside the varied scholars at Boston College in their work as well. It should also be noted that the Los Angeles area he represents has been less than forthcomingin fact, hostileto discovery attempts by lawyers for abuse victims there.
Los Alamos, N.M.
Insights That Inspire
This is just a general fan letter occasioned by True Happiness (The Word, 2/5). As a parish priest with limited research time for each Sunday’s sermon, it often feels as if I am writing the same sermon over and over. This is my first reading of The Word column by Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., and it has set my week of preparation for next Sunday in a prayerful light with insights that inspire my prayers and thoughts on a passagethe Beatitudeswhich so many have heard a thousand times.
(Rev.) Ian Montgomery
Palo Alto, Calif