Last month, when Villa Zoomers discussed the encyclical Fratelli Tutti, they zeroed in on war and the death penalty—two methods some see as ways to eradicate personal, national and international problems. It goes without saying, that these two solutions are only temporary fixes for situations that delve deep into the human spirit and sear the collective psyche of a nation. Inevitably their intended outcome only intensifies conflict and imposes further suffering and misunderstanding.
Since the Civil War, we in the United States have been spared the catastrophic effects of war in our homeland. However, those who have fought overseas, lost loved ones, or suffered the horrifying results of combat, know well that “war is hell.” Century upon century has proven this.
War does not stand alone in its capacity for devastation and death. Capital punishment is yet another means of eliminating society’s perceived problems—this one aimed at individuals rather than at countries. The Church teaches us to live as a people of justice and mercy. Taking the life of another flies directly in the face of this teaching.
Respect for another’s life is something we all must be concerned about, especially since not all battles are fought on foreign soil, nor are death sentences confined to court rooms and prisons. How many times have little annoyances disturbed our peace or have disagreements shattered the stillness of our heart? When did we last “write someone off” because they differed from our cherished views?
These lesser battles are struggles in everyone’s life. They serve to ground us in our humanity and force us to seek peace at all levels, both within ourselves and among others. Only when we embrace this reality can we say we have fought the good fight and have kept the faith.