Real Christians uphold ‘Gospel of Life’
Fr. Ronaldo Quijano, Academic Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family and Chairman of the Diocesan Commission on Family and Life, Bacolod, in his talk “Upholding the sacredness of human life and no to the re-imposition of the death penalty” in front of San Sebastian Cathedral, Bacolod, during the prayer rally for life on Dec. 12, 2016.
BACOLOD – After the overwhelming vote at the House of Representatives approving a measure to revive capital punishment, a priest reminded Catholics that authentic Christians are those who uphold the values of the Gospel of Life.
“The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life… A sign of hope is the recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil,” said Fr. Ronaldo Quijano in his homily during a Mass in defense of human life held at the University of St. La Salle on March 8.
Landmark teaching of St. John Paul II
Citing a landmark teaching of a Pope of undisputed in wisdom and holiness, the Academic Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family said, “John Paul II, in his encyclical ‘The Gospel of Life’, pointed out that cases warranting the death penalty now are very rare if not practically non-existent.”
Putting into proper context the traditional Church doctrine of legitimate self-defense, which included the possibility of the imposition of capital punishment, Quijano said, “Modern society has the means of protecting itself. There is no reason of definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.”
Quijano recalled the insistent appeals of John Paul II, and of the succeeding popes, for “a consensus to end the death penalty which is both cruel and unnecessary”.
Hope, not vengeance
The priest revealed: “Pope Francis sent a message to the Sixth World Congress against Death Penalty in Oslo, Norway, in which he pointed out, ’Indeed, nowadays, death penalty is unacceptable; however grave the crime of the convicted person. It is an offense to the inviolability of life and to the dignity of the human person; it likewise contradicts God’s plan for individuals and society, and His merciful justice. Nor is it consonant with any just purpose of punishment… It does not render justice to victims, but instead fosters vengeance. The commandment ‘thou shall not kill’ has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and to the guilty.’”
Quijano warned that the restoration of capital punishment could lead to a society that has lost its humanity.
“During the Jubilee Mass for Prisoners in 2016, Pope Francis called for a criminal justice system that gives hope – that is to improve the condition of life in the prison cells so that human dignity of detainees is fully respected, and that criminal justice should not exclusively be punitive but open to the prospect of reintegrating the convict in society.
“When we start thinking that a human being is not a person, created according to God’s image, then it is easy to depersonalize him. When we treat the person no longer as a person, then it’s easy to dispose of him,” he added. CBCPNews