Saturday, September 25, 2010

Virginia executes first woman in a century

From CNN
Teresa Lewis, called the mastermind in the murder-for-hire deaths of her husband and stepson, was executed Thursday night, Virginia Department of Corrections officials said.

Lewis, who was given a lethal injection, was pronounced dead at 9:13 p.m. ET at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt.

Death penalty opponents argued that Lewis, a 41-year-old grandmother, should not have died for a 2002 conspiracy that spared two triggermen a capital sentence. Instead they got life without parole...Lewis and her lawyers argued to the governor that she had an IQ that was borderline mentally retarded and that she was manipulated into committing the crimes by a dominant male co-defendant. She pleaded guilty to her participation in the murders but later regretted her actions, they said."

The actual triggermen, one of whom admitted targeting and manipulating Lewis to commit the crime (he subsequently committed suicide), were given life without parole. Lewis was called the "mastermind" of the plot, despite having an IQ that borderlined mental retardation, and as such her clemency pleas were rejected by the Governor and the Supreme Court.

It was right that Teresa Lewis was punished...but did she deserve death, especially if the triggermen did not??? The Holy Father Benedict XVI has come out strongly against the death penalty, as did his predecessor Venerable John Paul II. Where was the condemnation on behalf of Ms. Lewis by the US Bishops, who constantly remind us of the dignity of life "from conception to natural death"? Where were Priests for Life, Missionaries for the Gospel of Life, or any other Catholic organizations that work tirelessly against abortion and euthanasia, but are rarely seen speaking up for those executed by the state? To be fair, Priests for Life does have a page on its site dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty (the last news item on that page however, is PFL calling for a halt to Timothy McVeigh's execution in April of 2001.)

Building a culture of life means all life, not just the lives we think have worth. To quote Sister Helen Prejean:
"The profound moral question is not, 'Do they deserve to die?' but 'Do we deserve to kill them?'"

And from Romans 12:
"Vengeance is MINE, says the Lord. I will repay"

May God have mercy on the soul of Teresa Lewis...and on all of us.

Daily Mass Readings
Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:8
Psalm 90:3-6,12-14,17
Luke 9:43-45

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