news about Kermit Gosnell. He has been found guilty of first degree murder of three newborn infants, and third degree manslaughter in the death of a mother, and guilty on racketeering charges and over 200 counts of violating Pennsylvania abortion laws.
I know many of you have, like me, been hoping that Gosnell would not be acquitted, so that there would be some justice for the murders of those babies. Allegedly there are over 100 more babies who got the same treatment, but he hasn't been charged in those deaths.
So we can all relax now, right? Not quite. The three first degree murders could get him the death penalty. As the trial enters the sentencing phase, I'm praying, and ask you to pray too, that Gosnell's life is spared. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.In other words, the death penalty isn't supposed to be a "revenge" of society for crimes, but a means to protect society when a criminal could be a danger. I don't think there's any danger of Gosnell practicing "medicine" (abortion is not medicine, but that's what it's called) ever again, and a life sentence (or three consecutive ones) would be a clear deterrent to others. Furthermore, a long prison sentence is conducive to repentance.
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."
And so if I may paraphrase two common prayers:
Jesus, I beg you to spare the life of Kermit Gosnell, who is in danger of execution. Lead him to heaven, who is in need of your mercy. Amen.