Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 9:1-13; Mark 8:27-33)
When Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals, there was no outcry from Catholic hierarchy. Pope Benedict must have recognized the legitimacy of the execution even though there was never a trial. Taking alive bin Laden, whose guilt for mass murder was widely recognized, and putting him on trial would have surely resulted in violent outbursts around the world. The incident provides the exception that proves the rule for the Church’s opposition to capital punishment.
Following today’s passage from Genesis, the Church does not deny the validity of capital punishment when a life has been unjustly taken. It also notes, however, that there are an inordinate number of innocent lives taken today, especially by procured abortions. To bolster its affirmation of life, then, Pope St. John Paul II and his two successors have taught that the state should never execute a human being except in extraordinary situations like bin Laden’s arrest.
We need to constantly reassert our support of life. We should be participating in the campaigns abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia. We might also check our appetite for violence in entertainment. If we relish viewing wanton slaughter, we are abetting the culture of death which will inevitably hurt those whom we love.