Prayer against death penalty

 

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle

After reading that Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle released a prayer against the death penalty, which no doubt will surely be passed by Congress sooner or later, to be said in Masses throughout the Christmas season, I immediately asked myself if this was the right thing to do.

I am not saying that I don’t pray or that I do not believe in prayers, but for this particular purpose, is the Catholic Church well advised to write one and force it upon its followers to say it?

Thus, what I did was took time looking up for some opinion about prayers and my attention got riveted to the following two quotations by these famous men:

“Forgive me my nonsense as I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense.”
Robert Frost

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
Søren Kierkegaard

I could not agree more with each of the author’s belief about prayer for clearly from the point of view of Tagle he seems to be more concern about the criminal’s life and less about the crime committed, the loss of life and the agony suffered by the victim’s family at the other end of the equation.

“There is in our land a cry for vengeance and a move to fill up death rows and kill offenders, but disguised as a call for justice”, part of the prayer says. And it goes on as if the state is craving for revenge.

How melodramatic can Tagle be!

Justice in disguise, Tagle says?

Death penalty is JUSTICE, period. No ifs and buts about it. It is proper and legal as it is now the law of the land for specific crimes deserving of death.

Who are you anyway to willfully commit a heinous crime and expect to be spared just because you are poor, uneducated and unemployed?

Some people and organizations, like the Catholic Church, say that the death penalty is not a deterrent. Well, for what is happening to this country, with drugs, criminality and corruption trying to destroy people’s lives, sooner or later it will become a deterrent. Make the implementation consistent and continuous and it will become a deterrent.

I am posting the prayer against death penalty for those who care to read it and make your own assessment whether or not the two quotations above about prayers make a whole lot more of sense compared to Tagle’s prayer.

Full text: ‘Prayer against the Death Penalty’

Below is the full text of the Archdiocese of Manila’s Prayer against the Death Penalty:

Leader: Father, source and giver of life, we lift our hearts and voices to you. Help us to build a society that truly chooses life in all situations.

Let our response be: Lord, heal our pain.

For those experiencing pain and anguish because of violence and crime,
Lord, heal our pain.

For perpetrators and victims of atrocities who both struggle with anger and hatred,
Lord, heal our pain.

For our broken world, enchained by the desire for revenge,
Lord, heal our pain.

For our wounded society misled by the illusion that one must take life in order to defend it.
Lord, heal our pain.

Leader: Let us say together: Help us to make peace.

For our country, tempted to accept violent revenge.
Help us to make peace.

For the conviction to recognize and uphold the dignity of all people.
Help us to make peace.

For the wisdom to see poverty, injustice and lack of educational and employment opportunities as likely causes of criminality,
Help us to make peace.

For guidance and compassion in addressing the pain of both victims and perpetrators of wrong-doing,
Help us to make peace.

For the fortitude to find solutions that protect the dignity of all people and bring about true reconciliation,
Help us to make peace.

For the inspiration to renew society on the basis of love and restorative justice,
Help us to make peace.

Leader: Let us pray

Father of compassion,
You let your rain fall on the just and the unjust.
Give us a heart like yours
so that we may love as You love,
even those who have caused us pain.

There is in our land a cry for vengeance and
a move to fill up death rows and kill offenders
but disguised as a call for justice.
Let true and lasting justice spring forth.

Jesus, our brother,
you suffered execution in the hands of the powerful
but you did not let hatred overcome you.
Help us to reach out to victims of violence
so that our enduring love may help heal their wounds.

Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life
You strengthen us in the struggle for justice.
Help us to work tirelessly against state-sanctioned death
and to renew society in truth, justice, love and respect
so that violence will cease and peace may prevail.

Amen.

O Mary, Mother of Life, protect the Filipino people from the forces of death.
San Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.
San Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.

 

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