Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
July 8, 1990     Arkansas Catholic
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July 8, 1990
 

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PAGE 3 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC JULY 8, 1990 Msgr. John F. O'Donnell Worse than death I've been asked by the Arkansas Catholic to offer a reflection on the recent execu- tions in our state. I agreed to do this because I feel deep!y that there s a whole dimension that Couldn't be ad- dressed by the Secular media. That dimen- sion is healing. It's 0nly in the Catholic press that one can face that is- Sue without being apologetic or self- conscious. h By whatever course of history or the oly Spirit, I was destined to be advo- Cate and companion to John Edward Swindler before he was put to death. From the pages of mail I have re- Ceived, I can say that there are many Thanks, Msgr. These people carry the gall of their own bitterness. people in need of deep healing. The guilt, shame and revenge stored within them against God, Church, society and self finds a fitting place in the person doomed execution. It's almost as if there's a transfer of frustration and rage s to catharsis and satisfaction. of long-sitting pain and hurt Were never resolved in an appro- It all seethes and fegters and Outstanding work Abbot erome's work erupts whenever a scaDe- oat is found. " Unfortunately, these people carry the gall of their own bitterness. How A owerful statement and unhappy they must be. these emotions are the demons :can be cast out only by prayer and as Jesus warned. Spiritual coun- Would be a good place for the to starL Cently, I saw a bumper sticker read: "Abortion: The Ultimate Abuse." And I thought, "How yet, it's difficult to get "pro- to understand this since there baby sho ,wi'ng the scars and What you don t see is really not and doesn't count. destroy them is...not "killing," it's simply a "problem." Excellent work if there isn't some kind of Lship here to the people on public doesn't see these they're numbers and statistics, persons. To destroy them in (or retribution) is just to Some kind of procedure. It's not really "killing," it's simply removing a "problem." The possibility of several more exe- cutions before the year is out should prompt us to use grace and intelligence in bringing long-term healing to the condemned. The converted/changed personality can be a reservoir for good in an environment which, while con- trolled, is nonetheless sensible and human. For example, the prison population could be an enormous prayer force (through intercessory prayer). There are many other ways that the combined energies of these individuals could be marshalled for the good of society. We have yet to find the genius or the intel- ligence (or maybe the will) to address this. But address it we should. It will only be in healing the total person in our society that life will make sense for any of us. (Msgr. John F. O'Donnell is pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in North Little Rock and a minister to inmates on Death Row.) One person who never surfaced in the ordeal of the recent executions is Fr. Lou Franz, CM. Fr. Lou is an outstanding priest and missionary, and the appointed Catholic chaplain to the penitentiary system. Through his Vincentian order, he was given leave recently for a well-deserved and needed sabbatical. He left for Africa never knowing that some of the people he befriended and ministered to would be coming to sudden death. Given his devotion to the inmates over the years, his absence at the final moment must give him pain and regret. Fr. Lou stands in need of healing. His healing will come from the mem- ory of his historical ministerial pres- ence to the men on Death Row. On the other side were state per- sonnel appointed to carry out the executions. Warden Sargent, Asst. Warden Hoffman, Asst. Director of Treatment Services Max Mobley - none took sat- isfaction from his appointed task. A cordon of state troopers rimmed the perimeter to keep peace between the capital punishment supporters and opponents. The troopers were professionals who maintained poise and courtesy whatever their personal feelings may have been about "cop- killers" and mass murderers. There was a respect between them and the prayer group as the prayers of heal- ing were said and sung. These people, too, were in need of healing. I think the Holy Spirit pro- vided that. Msgr. John F. O'Donnell July Survey Question: Is the death penalty moral? [:1 Yes No Responses need not be signed, but only this form (no photocop- ies) will be accepted. No phone calls, please. Mail to: Arkansas Catholic Survey PO Box 7417, Little Rock, 72217 Additional comments welcome. June's question: Is the existence of the State of Israel a question off Religion 0% Politics 0% Both 100% Dear Editor: '%Vhatsoever you do to these, the least of my brethren, you do unto me." Thank you, Monsignor O'Donnell, for clearly demonstrating to us the meaning of these words, and for re- minding us of Jesus' command that we love one another~ Patrick Harding, Jr. Little Rock Dear Editor: OUTSTANDING work on that June 24 edition. Sr. Cabrini Sehmitz, OSB Fort Smith Dear Editor:. After all the gory newspaper articles on John's [Swindler] execution, I felt the ones in the Arkansas Catholic were like a breath of fresh air. You did a good job of covering everything but you didn't sensationalize things or turn it into a scene, I really have been proud of Father John [O'Donnell] and the way he stood by John S. He has made a powerful statement for the Catholic Church and against capital punishment. He has given a lot of people food for thought. Your coverage was good. Thank you for it. Darrel Hill Maximum Security Unit Tucker Dear Editor:. Thanks for the great story on the Swindler execution. I haven't seen that kind of stuff anywhere around here. Excellent work. Thomas N. Loranng Director and Editor in Chief Catholic News Service Washington, DC Dear Editor: I've asked our Lord to help me understand why there is so much made over the death penalty for these mur- derers and killers. My husband and others like him are facing the death penalty any day now being a cancer patient, but I don't see any bishops, monsignors, priests or nuns giving these people much support. These people have not done any harm to anyone. It's so easy to tell suffering people that it's God's plan or will. Doesn't that go for the killers and murderers, too? We are all born to the death penalty in some fashion, some even are killed before they are born. As for my husband and me, at times we are so hopeless and helpless that all we have to hang on to is the crucifix and the holy water. Cancer is very costly and we of little means have a hard time beside the sickness. The Arkansas Catholic devoted much of the paper [6/24] to these demons on Death Row. They have asked for what they are getting. There's worse things than dying. Suffering is worse. The cross gets mighty heavy on the sick and those that care for them. Thanks for your valuable time. Mrs. Ed Pion Rogers Dear Editor: In the June 17, 1990 issue of Arkan- sas Catholic, Jack Moseley stated in Viewpoint that the last book that Ab- bot Jerome Kodell had written was Catholic Bible Study Handbook, pub- lished in 1985. The most current work of Abbot Jerome is The Eucharist in the New Tes- tament, published in 1988 by Michael Glazier. This book is an excellent his- torical treatise of the development of the central part of Catholicism. He discusses the varied opinions of the origin of the Eucharistic meal in the context of Judaism and then brings the discussion into the New Testament. The Alpha and Omega. I believe this book is an asset to any private library, and a wonderful learn- ing tool that all people serving as ministers of The Body and Blood of Jesus the Christ should read. For a copy, call Fr. Aaron Pirrera, OSB, New Subiaco Abbey, Subiaco, 72865, 934-4411. Same Robert Texarkana