Circle of Prayer - Capital Punishment
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"Dear Lord we ask you to cover us with Your protection against all harm and evil and to bind every spirit that may come against us. Into Your hands Dear Lord I commend my body, mind, soul and spirit. St Michael the Archangel pray for us"

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The section on Life contains the following links:

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Euthanasia
Capital Punishment

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!!!!!  WARNING  !!!!!

The link to the page below offers links to a selection of almost 100 of the most harrowing pictures ever. The pictures are very disturbing but sadly they are the TRUTH of what we are allowing to happen to our children!!

Abortion Pictures
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Survivors of Abortion
Uninformed Consent
Maternal Deaths
Health Carer Testimonies
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The death penalty diminishes us as human beings. We recall the words of the poet who explained that "No man is an island, entire of itself" and that therefore "any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." How much more so are we diminished when a man is killed on our behalf.

The following extracts are taken from a Statement Most Rev. Daniel M. Buechlein, O.S.B. Archbishop of Indianapolis in April 2001, on the Scheduled Execution of Timothy McViegh

"....Jesuit theologian Avery Cardinal Dulles traced the history of religious teaching on the death penalty through the ages and demonstrated that the Catholic Church has consistently asserted that the state has the authority to exact capital punishment and, in principle, does so today.

"It is agreed," Dulles said, "that crime deserves punishment in this life and not only in the next. In addition, it is agreed that the state has the authority to administer appropriate punishment to those judged guilty of crimes and that this punishment may, in serious cases, include the sentence of death."

But what is "appropriate" punishment? This is the question raised for our day by Pope John Paul II. Dulles outlined the four purposes of criminal punishment in general:

  • Rehabilitation. The penalty should try to bring the criminal to repentance and to moral reform. (Under certain circumstances this could lead to a return to normal civil life).
  • Defense against the criminal. The government is obliged to protect society by preventing the criminal from committing additional crimes. For heinous crimes, the Church favors life imprisonment without parole rather than death.
  • Deterrence. Punishment should discourage further violence and crime. We believe life without parole does so.
  • Retribution. Punishment should try to restore the right order violated by the crime. A criminal should pay a price for the offense committed. If possible, the victims of the crime should be compensated for the wrong suffered. This does not mean revenge.
Dulles also summarized four objections to capital punishment in our day.
  • Wrongful death. The possibility that the convict may be innocent is the more common reason for opposition to the death penalty. A significant number of wrongly accused criminals on Death Row have been proven innocent.
  • Revenge not justice. The death penalty seems to fan the flames of revenge (and violence) rather than foster a genuine sense of justice in society.
  • Devaluation of human life. Capital punishment contributes dramatically to the devaluation of human life in an escalating culture of death.
  • Incompatibility with Christian forgiveness. While pardon does not remove the obligation of justice, capital punishment seems incompatible with the teaching of Jesus about forgiveness.
The Church's teaching about the state's authority does not change, but the state should not exercise its right if the evil effects outweigh the good. In recent times, the death penalty does more harm than good because it feeds a frenzy for revenge, while there is no demonstrable proof that capital punishment deters violence.

Revenge neither liberates the families of victims nor enables the victims of crime. Only forgiveness liberates.

To be sure, we, as a society, must never forget the victims of crime and their bereaved loved ones. The truly honorable memorial is to choose life rather than death...."

Life or Death Issues

In late 1999 I read an article in the local Galway paper, the Connacht Tribune. It caught my eye and even though it was a contentious issue, I wrote some comments on it. It was about a group called The Lazarus Trust, registered as a charitable trust here in Ireland. Its aim is to lobby for the abolition of the death penalty abroad. It reported at the time that in the US alone 40 states still have the death penalty as a form of punishment with over 3.600 people on death row. It is reputed that at least a couple of hundred of these are mentally retarded, mentally ill or juveniles.

The group was formed when two former prisoners given death sentences for the alleged murder of policemen, met and shared their experiences. One was Irish and had served time for the murder of an Irish Garda in 1980, the other an American who was jailed for murdering two policemen in 1976. Both had their convictions overturned and she was released from her US prison in 1992 and he from his Irish prison in 1995.

In the case of Sonia Jacobs, she and her partner Jessie were convicted on the evidence of a third person in the car, and according to her, the actual killer. She served 5 years on death row before being released into the general prison population in 1981. In 1992 a friend and filmmaker took up her case and uncovered undisclosed evidence which proved the innocence of both her and her partner.

Too late for Jessie, he was electrocuted in 1990, in what turned out to be a watershed for many people. He took thirteen and a half minutes to die with horrific scenes of a burning body in the throes of torture. There was nothing humane about his death. In fact, so horrific was it that campaigners from the families of victims started a movement in the US to abolish the death penalty in all states. It is called the Journey of Hope.

Back to Ireland and Peter Pringle, who was sentenced to death in 1980 for the murder of Garda Morley. Although the death penalty was in place for the murder of a policeman, it was not expected to be carried out as Ireland’s last execution was back in the late ‘50s. However it was only in 1990 that Ireland formally abolished the death penalty. Pringle served 15 years before his conviction was overturned.

Sonia – Sunny – Jacobs was invited to speak at a meeting of Amnesty International here in Galway in 1997 and met Peter Pringle. Pringle had decided to dedicate time to raising funds for those on death row and for the victims of miscarriages of justice. Last year a gentleman called Steve Earle was in Galway having carried out the death wish of an executed prisoner in the US with whom he was in contact. This prisoner’s conversion in prison led to him becoming a member of the Dominican Third Order. He had asked Earle to bury his ashes in the Dominican Monastery in Oxford and after doing so Earle then traveled to Ireland to recover from his traumatic witnessing of that execution.

I have to say that, although I have never been the victim of a brutal murder in my family or close circle, I would hope I never see the ‘eye for an eye’ fundamentalist revengeful legal murder as the answer to the problem. The death penalty has long been the subject of debate as a possible deterrent yet the numbers of murders continue to rise, both here and around the world. 

Society in the US lives by and with the gun, as evidenced frequently when we hear of mass killings by mere children. Now is the time, as we are blood-soaked in violence everywhere and every day, to look inwards and try to see why and how it can be stopped. Individual freedom of rights may sometimes have to take a backseat for the common good. The Lazarus Trust aims to do that and as the stone mason carves away patiently at his work of art perhaps this group can chip away at hardened hearts and the establishment to have this barbaric form of punishment abolished at last.


Moytura has several other sites with a 'Christian flavour'. Prayerful Thoughts & Thoughtful Prayers is a little collection of prayers and thought-provoking stories, and a few links to some other really nice websites. Reflections for Lent offers a daily meditation for the 40 days of lent and the week leading into Easter. As part of my Journey section of the website join me to learn a little of the Early Christian Church in Ireland by visiting Clonmacnoise, founded by St. Ciaran on the banks of the River Shannon in the 6th. Century. Read about Saint Brendan the Navigator who started a Monastic settlement in the tiny village of Clonfert in the 6th century, located on the Galway/Offaly/Tipperary border. Travel on my journeys to two of Canada's most famous Catholic Shrines - Saint Anne de Beaupré and Cap de la Madeleine, both on the shores of the Saint Lawrence river in Quebec. Finally I welcome you to come with me to see a little of Medugorje, a peaceful haven in a war-torn country - Bosnia-Herzogovina. Please also pay a visit to  Moytura's Irish Bookshop where you can find books on the history of Christianity in IrelandIrish Prayers and Celtic Christianity

Below are some of the other areas of Moytura's web site.

Mary Mullins, Cregmore, Claregalway, County Galway, Ireland.   Phone: +353 91 798407


© 2002 Moytura Graphic Design

Join the Circle of Prayer
or
Send Your Prayer Request
"Dear Lord we ask you to cover us with Your protection against all harm and evil and to bind every spirit that may come against us. Into Your hands Dear Lord I commend my body, mind, soul and spirit. St Michael the Archangel pray for us"
If you think this website is of value then you might like to BOOKMARK us below or perhaps send the link to a friend too?

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E-mail this link to a friend by entering their e-mail address: 
Moytura has several other sites with a 'Christian flavour'. Prayerful Thoughts & Thoughtful Prayers is a little collection of prayers and thought-provoking stories, and a few links to some other really nice websites. Reflections for Lent offers a daily meditation for the 40 days of lent and the week leading into Easter. As part of my Journey section of the website join me to learn a little of the Early Christian Church in Ireland by visiting Clonmacnoise, founded by St. Ciaran on the banks of the River Shannon in the 6th. Century. Read about Saint Brendan the Navigator who started a Monastic settlement in the tiny village of Clonfert in the 6th century, located on the Galway/Offaly/Tipperary border. Travel on my journeys to two of Canada's most famous Catholic Shrines - Saint Anne de Beaupré and Cap de la Madeleine, both on the shores of the Saint Lawrence river in Quebec. Finally I welcome you to come with me to see a little of Medugorje, a peaceful haven in a war-torn country - Bosnia-Herzogovina. Please also pay a visit to  Moytura's Irish Bookshop where you can find books on the history of Christianity in IrelandIrish Prayers and Celtic Christianity

Below are some of the other areas of Moytura's web site.

Mary Mullins, Cregmore, Claregalway, County Galway, Ireland.   Phone: +353 91 798407


© 2002 Moytura Graphic Design