To the editor:
This is in response to Mr. Ciambor’s letter to the editor in the November 2007 monthly edition (“Don’t mix ‘life issues'”).
Mr. Ciambor, though certainly well-intentioned, makes the same mistake he accuses others of making. He picks and chooses those teachings of the Church’s Magisterium which suit his particular world view and, I suspect, are consistent with his own socio-political outlook. He seems to dismiss the social justice teaching of the Church beginning with Pope Leo XIII to the present day.
For example, if Mr. Ciambor cannot see the connection between economic justice and the preservation of human life, then perhaps he has never seen the lines of homeless men standing outside of the House of Mercy, nor the poor having to choose between food and life saving prescription drugs. He may not realize that poor AIDS victims die within six months while their wealthy counterparts live for 10, 20, 30 years. These lives are as equally precious in God’s sight as the unborn.
Like many well-intentioned members of our church, Mr. Ciambor lifts quotations from papal documents to support his position. A quotation from our beloved Holy Father of happy memory, John Paul II, is quoted in his letter. This is done without regard to the context or nuances which John Paul, himself, made regarding the death penalty. It is clear that, while supporting the right of the state to impose the death penalty, the Holy Father indicated that recourse to such action was not necessary in our modern day. The state has the means to protect society without resorting to the Old Testament adage: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” The Holy Father followed up on this principle by consistently intervening in death penalty cases. Mr. Ciambor conveniently forgets John Paul’s embrace of the “spirit of the law” and chooses instead the “letter of the law.”
Robert J. DiFulio