There was a recent USA Today opinion article by Rob Borsellino titled, "What has happened to America’s Jesus?" There is a lot in this short article that needs to be addressed, both regarding the misconceptions and inaccurate generalizations in the article, as well as the general attitude of the author about what he saw in Italy. (note: all quotes from the article are indented below.)
They say Jesus is "pro life," but he doesn’t seem to have a problem with the death penalty.
Yes, he does. See "Evangelium Vitae" about how the Catholic Church strongly denounces the death penalty in the modern world a) because there are methods of keeping the criminal from harming society w/o taking his life, and b) the death penalty has become more of an instrument of vengeance than justice.
— brief aside —
I was asked if any Catholic politicians have been denied the Eucharist based on their stance on the death penalty, since some clergy have advocated such a stance in the case of "Catholic" advocates of abortion.
No Catholic politicians (that I know of) who support capital punishment are denied the Eucharist because the position against the death penalty is not canon law. This means that, although the Catholic Church disagrees with the death penalty in *most* cases, there are still some instances (e.g., a terrorist or crime boss who cannot be isolated from contact with his associates via his lawyer, and is still coordinating/masterminding crimes or terrorist acts), where the only way to protect society from the criminal is the death penalty. This is an exception that the Church leaves open to the conscience of those making the necessary decisions (i.e., judges, governors, presidents, etc.).
Abortion has no such "exceptions of license" – all abortions are intrinsically evil. Canon Law also states that those that publicly condone abortion shall be denied the Eucharist until such a position is recanted and the person has received the sacrament of Reconciliation.
I know it sounds like splitting hairs, but there’s a big difference between almost 1,000 death penalty executions in the U.S. since 1970 and 44 million abortions in the U.S. since 1970 (nearly 3,500 every day! So much for making abortion "safe, legal, and *rare* – how rare can it possibly be, when 1 in 4 conceptions ends in abortion?).
Also, the death penalty in this country is not taken lightly – the appeals process is so long and drawn out that most criminals on death row in California die of natural causes/old age. This is sadly not the case with abortions, where politicians urge that there should be no more thought about an abortion than about getting a tooth pulled. The Church is trying to get people to realize the severity of abortion – people already realize the severity of the death penalty.
It appears that judicial opinion is starting to give both abortion and the death penalty more serious thought to see how they reflect the attitude of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".
— brief aside finished —
And he thinks stem cell research – something that would save lives – is no different from murdering babies.
This is a half-truth. Stem cell research that does not destroy an embryo (a.k.a. adult stem cells) is completely licit and is in fact meritorious, due to the mercy of its lifesaving properties. Embryonic stem cell research, however, not only destroys an embryo (which, in and of itself, is morally reprehensible, i.e. abortion is evil), but it is also usually done through cloning (which is morally illicit) and it has not yet saved a single life anywhere. Adult stem cell therapy, however, has had numerous success cases and is demonstrably more promising and moral than ESRC.
So, "something that would save lives" – that’s conjecture only; no proof yet that it would even work.
"No different from murdering babies" – that’s fact.
They say he’s the embodiment of kindness, love, decency and compassion.
He is also the embodiment of Truth. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." (John 14:6) Yes, "God is Love" (1 John 4:8), but there is also something called "tough love", in which discipline is called for, because we love the sinner, but hate the sin. "Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent." (Rev 3:19) "He who loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid." (Proverbs 12:1)
But he hates gays, lesbians and Muslims.
(saracstic commentary alert: nice of the author to lump Muslims in with gays and lesbians – nice, clear categorization there!)
God does not hate homosexuals – He hates the homosexual act the same way He hates murder, rape, theft, envy, pride, etc. and wishes to rid us of these faults. A chaste/celibate homosexual is as prized to God as anyone who keeps themselves pure to marriage.
(To be continued…)