Igitur non dormiamus sicut ceteri.

Cardinal: Americans Are Too Hard On A Mass Murderer

From the BBC:

Image from Life Magazine

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has attacked the US over the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien said the Scottish government was right to free Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi last year on compassionate grounds.

Am I frustrated and annoyed?  Absolutely.  Surprised? Of course not; after all, this isn’t the first time that a high ranking bishop chose misplaced charity over justice.  The Cardinal makes a good point and Scotland certainly has the right to its sovereign discretion for the implementation and carrying out of its justice system.  I’ll even grant that Scotland, one of the great centers of studies relating to jurisprudence for the last three hundred years, could offer the United States some great lessons in upholding justice while also being open to mercy.  When the mercy of freedom is extended to a man convicted of 270 deaths, on the other hand, then I begin to wonder if justice was sacrificed to the sentimental shadow of Christianity.  Al-Megrahi is free and hundreds of American families were denied justice.  However, as they provide no avenue for publicity, I doubt His Eminence gives a damn about the injustice to American victims in this case.

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4 responses

  1. I feel the inclination toward pissitude, as well, although I feel as if there is a pearl in the lukewarm mud here. Maybe it’s my being loath to deal harshly with a member of the clergy – excepting a happy few such as Mahoney, Weakland, and NH’s own – but the term that O’Brien used, “culture of vengeance,” I think is apt. It’s not altruistic justice that causes us to get hot under the collar here, after all. Lestways, I think my gut would be much less vexed if it had been 270 Englishmen and not Americans who perished.

    Of course, you’ve seen the post over at The American Catholic so I know you know my concerns here. 🙂

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    8 August, 2010 at 6:18 pm

  2. Also, props on the redesign. Quite kicking, if I say so myself. And whose desk is in your header image?

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    8 August, 2010 at 6:19 pm

  3. M. Jordan Lichens

    “Culture of vengeance” is quite apt indeed and it was a point I normally agree with most clerics on. Our idea that the death penalty will somehow make amends when an evil like murder is done is a fallacy of logic and not at all in union with Catholic Social teachings. I agreed with your statement at the AC blog that even if al-Megrahi had been executed or died in prison there would have been no change to the deaths as the result of the bombing.

    I do need to say that the reason I have taken an overly-harsh tone with His Emminence (aside from my general disgust of most bishops over the age of 40 at the moment) was prompted by my growing tired of sentimentality that has truly turned Western Christianity into a slave morality. I had let my cynicism and hand-me-down Nietzscheanism get the better of me and I’ll be sure to re-edit this post in a day or two. For now, thanks for the input.

    Oh, and the desk header is a picture I took of C.S. Lewis’ work space at the Kilns in Oxfordshire.

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    8 August, 2010 at 6:30 pm

  4. Oh, I wasn’t attempting to say that you were out of line. Far from it. Respect for the position of the clergy cannot be allowed to transform into clericalism, either. There’s just a fine line that must be trod between the two. I think that Mr. McClarey over at TAC kind of crossed that line, but then again Mr. McClarey is probably equal parts devout Catholic and devout Republican.

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    8 August, 2010 at 6:48 pm