Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Abolishing the Death Penalty
The Church in Korea has for some time educated Catholics to oppose the death penalty. The Catholic Times has an interview with a religious sister who has been working with prisoners, and since 1988 with those condemned to capital punishment.
"There repentance was as great as the evil perpetrated... their appearance was beautiful to see...." She kept repeating these words indifferent to whom might hear them. She had a lot to do with preparing a grave site for those whose life had been taken, and for good reason called the mother of those condemned to die. When her thoughts become deep or when cares are many, she makes the trip to the cemetery where 30 condemned men are buried. The existence of the burial grounds are unknown to most. At death they are accompanied only by a few; she stayed with them to the end.
One of the condemned men said he received love for the first time while in prison. Hearing these words she couldn't help but cry. We have been born to receive God's love, and those condemned to die need to receive that love.... Are we able to imagine the pain they feel?
She was given the prison pastoral mission in 1976 and in 1988 she began pastoral work among those condemned to die. She remembers how she felt with the new assignment: afraid and began to tremble. With frequent visits and contact all changed. She began to see the condemned men as they were meant to be seen. They also with time began to change. The secret was love. Those who never received love are not able to love.... Receiving love they are changed. This is the reason she shows concern for them.
Is it not a miracle to see these men who have committed horrible crimes and by receiving love are born again as angels? She realizes this is a gift of God's grace and the reason that in her eighties she is against capital punishment. When a person has changed and the life is taken away is this not another evil?
She is present at events that work for the abolition of the death penalty. She also visits the homes of the victims of the horrible crimes and in the name of the condemned offers her sorrow and help.
Those sentenced to death have done wrong, but God is the one who gives life and we who are creatures do not have the right to take life away, and when we do we add another offence. She hopes more people will come to realize this truth.