Saturday, May 31, 2008

Modernism in Catholic Architecture

As someone who can appreciate modern architectonics, I have always been fascinated by the imagination of those architects who had enough creativity and vision to construct buildings and monuments that capture the attention of the multitudes, and withstand the test of time. Having said that, I cannot but feel deep disappointments at some of the current Catholic structures erected around the world. When you study some of these fallacious edifices, you wonder where the Catholic identity went. Consequently, there is no evocation of transcendence or mysticism to these farcical constructs, and you wonder with whose approval (and what were they thinking) were the final designs selected.

Feast your eyes on the Church of the Sacred Heart in Munich. Here you can see an exterior image of this Catholic Church, followed by an interior pic. I did not know that scaffolding became a fashionable component of sacred architecture.

Although simple in format, where is the Catholic identity in this architecture? All I see is a cube with what appears to be flimsy walls that a gust of wind can topple. Where is the crucifix? Can you see a tabernacle in this image? Any icons?

Here we have Christ Church in Austria. Do they celebrate the black mass in there? What does this hodgepodge of glossy panels remind you of? Is that a target off to the right, or was this picture taken through the crosshairs of a hunter's rifle?

While I remain overwhelmingly a traditionalist when it comes to Catholicism, I'm not an ultra-trad. or someone who practices a strain of truncated Catholic fundamentalism. This means I can appreciate progressive architecture as long as it edifies traditional Catholic beliefs, and is consistent with present liturgical praxis. But where is the edification or the Catholic identity in the structures above? Is this minimalism in the extreme [extreme minimalism sounds like an oxymoron (with emphasis on -moron)]?

On a related note, if you take a peek through the posts of the Catholic Church Conservation blog, you will find some of the most abhorrent and disrespectful liturgical abuses you never knew were possible.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Yes, I did like this movie...

And, no, I'm not gay. There seems to be a stigma attached to men who enjoy what might be commonly referred to as a "girly" movie. In my group of male friends, enjoying a film that has been labeled a chick-flick is looked down upon as being less than manly, and carries inherent suspicions about one's sexual orientation (what does one has to do with the other??). That's when the jokes and (friendly) harassment begin. Imagine the reaction I got a few nights ago when, during a casual conversation about New York, I admitted to liking the opening scenes of the classic Breakfast at Tiffany's. The jabs never ceased.

I do like this film, especially the beginning. With the theme playing in the background, an empty 5th Avenue in New York seems especially pensive and nostalgic. That Mancini sure knew how to write a melody!

By the way, for the most part, I find romantic comedies appalling. Breakfast at Tiffany's is a rare exception.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mel Gibson

I feel sorry for Mel Gibson. Even though he is a brilliant director - albeit with a penchant for bloody and violent imagery - his life seems to be characterized by instability and addiction. As it is well known, Mel Gibson is a Catholic who belongs to a splinter group that does NOT recognize the reforms adopted by Vatican II, nor the authority of Pope Benedict. In an interview he gave during the whole Passion of the Christ controversy, he stated he believed his wife's salvation was in question because she is an Episcopalian and practices her faith outside the his Catholic tradition. In July of 2006 he was arrested for driving under the influence, and supposedly, during his arrest, blurted out a series of anti-Semitic slurs that the media ran with and published everywhere. He also suffered for the public statements made by his father in which he denied the Jewish Holocaust.

Today, I read something about Mr. Gibson that I did not know before: he is bi-polar. Now, many people suffer from this serious illness but are treated with medication, therapy, and self-care. They should not be stigmatized or thought of as "crazies" for a condition that is manageable, but nonetheless challenging. Mel Gibson - as are many people who are bi-polar - is a productive human being and is in no way a threat to society.

There are many things which I admire about Mel Gibson. The first one I have to mention is his courage to produce and direct the film the Passion of the Christ when all the major movie studios, on politically correct grounds, refused to be involved with the project. Another fact worth mentioning is that to my knowledge, he has never buckled under pressure from politically correct sources to accept or bless any group's methodologies if they come into conflict with his religious beliefs. That is an attribute that is respectable no matter where you go. More so if the place we are talking about is Hollywood.

I hope to see more films from this very talented director, and I pray that despite the differences between where we are as a Catholic Church and where he wishes the Church would be, that he come back closer into the flock and worship alongside his Catholic brethren.

Oh, by the way, here is a list of what Mel has made from some of his films, so don't feel too bad for him. This list also brings to mind the Vatican's clarification of the Seven Deadly Sins. Is Mel too rich? Wouldn't matter since he doesn't recognize Vatican authority anyway.

Signs (2002): $25,000,000
We Were Soldiers (2002): $25,000,000
The Patriot (2000): $25,000,000
Chicken Run (2000): £ 1,000,000
Conspiracy Theory (1997): $20,000,000
Ransom (1996): $20,000,000
Maverick (1994): $15,000,000
Lethal Weapon 3 (1992): $10,000,000
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985): $1,200,000 (Australia)
The River (1984): $500,000
Attack Force Z (1982): $1000 / Week
Gallipoli (1981): $35,000
Mad Max (1979): $15,000 (Australia)
Summer City (1977): $400 (Australian)

Source: IMDB

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mary Co-redemptrix

The movement to to apply the title of Co-redemptrix to Mary is still alive and well. Spearheading the effort is a group called Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici ("The Voice of the People for Mary Mediatrix"), who assert that Mary's role in the unfolding salvific ministry of her son was innermost and too involved to settle for her status as just saint. They are pushing to attach the title "Co-redemptrix" to her saintly standing, which they feel in no way infringes upon the divinity of her son, Jesus Christ. Over a decade ago supporters of this dogma presented Pope John Paul II with a letter outlining their affirmations:

"When the Church invokes Mary under the title, "Co-redemptrix", she means that Mary uniquely participated in the redemption of the human family by Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. At the Annunciation (cf.Lk.1:38) Mary freely cooperated in giving the Second Person of the Trinity his human body which is the very instrument of redemption, as Scripture tells us: "We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb.10:10).

And at the foot of the cross of our Saviour (Jn.19:26), Mary's intense sufferings, united with those of her Son, as Pope John Paul II tells us, were, "also a contribution to the Redemption of us all" (Salvifici Doloris, n.25). Because of this intimate sharing in the redemption accomplished by the Lord, the Mother of the Redeemer is uniquely and rightly referred to by Pope John Paul II and the Church as the "Coredemptrix."

It is important to note that the prefix "co" in the title Coredemptrix does not mean "equal to" but rather "with", coming from the Latin word cum. The Marian title Coredemptrix never places Mary on a level of equality with her Divine Son, Jesus Christ. Rather it refers to Mary's unique human participation which is completely secondary and subordinate to the redeeming role of Jesus, who alone is true God and true Man."

While I can understand the rationale of Mary Co-redemptrix on behalf of Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, I think applying that title is both misleading and theologically unsound. I accept (and defend) the notion that Mary is THE greatest of all saints, and holds a unique status in Catholic spirituality. Through her was born the Redeemer (Theotokos), and undoubtedly she played a major role in facilitating the salvation of mankind. I believe I can pray to her so that she, in turn, can pray for me. But I have difficulty accepting the notion that Mary is somehow a complement or supplement in the direct salvation of my soul, which is what the fifth dogma would imply. To do so would indicate that Jesus Christ's divinity is somehow incomplete. Many of the supporters of Mary Co-redemptrix rebuttal by stating that "Co-redemptrix", if properly understood, means "she who buys back with [the redeemer]."

It's my conviction - and by all means correct me if I'm wrong - that there is only one Redeemer, One God, and One Trinity. And while I honor Mary as a saint unlike any other, the differences between her and God is still God, and God alone is the sole judge of my actions. Redemption and salvation belong to Him exclusively, and no co-pilot is needed when he is capable of handling that job just fine by hinself.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cooking in Broad Daylight Part 1

Okay, folks, it's here. It arrived in Las Vegas a few days ago with temperatures over one hundred degrees, with the promise of continued high and scorching heat all the way into October. It should have also reached most of you by now, but hopefully with a more moderate and gradual onset. What do I speak of? Well, summer, of coarse!

The following tunes are some of my favorites which I also associate with summer. Although not all of them have the word "summer" in it, I think they're all imbued with an estival spirit that evokes images of late-night get-togethers with friends by the beach or a lake; starry night skies in the woods; or azure with lots and lots of sunshine. They (the songs) simply feel like summer to me, although to you that same inspiration might not come across.

What songs remind you of summer?

By the way, in Las Vegas the temperature will dip from the one-hundreds to the low to mid-seventies for the next couple of days while a storm front makes its way through.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eva Cassidy

Eva Cassidy was a an American singer who was relatively unknown throughout her years as a performer. Posthumously, her career took off when her music received airtime in a British radio station which, in turn, catapulted her name to the forefront of the American jazz/ blues listening audiences. Among her most moving and celebrated interpretations are "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "Fields of Gold", and "People Get Ready", to mention just a few. To the frustration of the record companies, Eva refused to pigeonhole herself and stick exclusively to one music genre. She not only performed jazz and blues songs but she also enjoyed performing country, gospel, and standard pieces.

Tragically, Cassidy died on November 2, 1996 of metastasized skin cancer. Her untimely death makes her music all the more pensive and difficult to listen to. Her last public performance was during a benefit for her at a club called the Bayou where she performed "What a Wonderful World."

Saturday, May 17, 2008


"Oh Lord, you seek those who hide from you and you hide from those who seek you." ~~St. Augustine

It's not unusual for those who take their faith seriously to suffer sporadic bouts of desolation. Some of the greatest saints in Catholic history have suffered from these agonizing moments of feeling abandoned by God, or of questioning His existence. I remember reading about one such experience about St. Therese de Lisieux. Feeling the great vacuity of a desolate condition, St. Therese feared that death might be nothing more than perpetual non-entity:

"I get tired of the darkness all around me and try to refresh my jaded spirits with the thoughts of that bright country where my hopes lie; and what happens? It is worse torment than ever; the darkness itself seems to borrow, from the sinners who live in it, the gift of speech. I hear its mocking accents; 'It's all a dream, this talk of a heavenly country...Death will make nonsense of your hopes, it will only mean a night darker than ever, a night of mere non-existence.'"

This may sound terrible, but it's actually encouraging to see a saint - who also happens to be a Doctor of the Church - experience what one is tempted to characterize as the affliction of the faithless and the wretched. But that clearly is not the case since people who experience this profound truancy are people who believe in God and want to continue to believe in Him. Last year a book called Come Be might Light - which featured a collection of Mother Teresa's personal and undisclosed writings - was published by her friend Father Kolodiejchukather . Her writings reveal an indefatigable willingness to live a life according to the will of God, but also a desolation that plagued her to the last years of her life. Many irreligious individuals, such as Christopher Hitchens, seized upon this revelation and asserted that Mother Teresa never believed any of what her Catholic faith professed.

For me, personally, the greatest spiritual struggles have always manifested in the science/ religion incompatibility; specifically, neurology and how it relates to the soul, as well as other less important points of contention. Regardless of the things I've read that try to iron out these differences, I've never been able to reconcile these two seemingly opposite disciplines. I, however, feel I should look at this struggle no differently that the struggles of Mother Teresa and St. Therese de Lisieux, who continued living their lives devoted to God while hungry for Him and in deep desolation. And, as reward for the battles they waged in their own way here on earth, they enjoy the full and clear vision of God. I think that's all that matters.

From Catholic Encyclopedia :
We define that the souls of all the saints in heaven have seen and do see the Divine Essence by direct intuition and face to face [visione intuitivâ et etiam faciali], in such wise that nothing created intervenes as an object of vision, but the Divine Essence presents itself to their immediate gaze, unveiled, clearly and openly; moreover, that in this vision they enjoy the Divine Essence, and that, in virtue of this vision and this enjoyment, they are truly blessed and possess eternal life and eternal rest.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

People Get Ready

"Have pity on those
Whose chances grow thinner
For there's no hiding place
From the kingdom's throne..."

(R.Stewart's version)

I love this song. And although I stray from the traditional sacred music that I love the most, this music does say something worth listening to.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Death to SPAM!

I know of only two types of spam, and I dislike them both. One type of Spam, while not invasive and maddeningly irritating, is comprised of unknown salty meat products that are completely unidentifiable to the naked eye. No one can convince me that the quasi-cylindrically shaped Spam does not contain products of unknown - possibly of alien origin. Really, folks, how many types of meat do you know of that consistently retains the shape of the metal container it's shipped in when it slides out into the open? And it's so incredibly salty that I'm pretty sure the meat itself is used as nothing more than a conveyor to transport salt.

There are many recipes out there involving the use of Spam. This, in my humble opinion, is an attempt to make something quite repelling seem more appetizing by adding things to it that are not Spam. Ironic, isn't it? Make Spam more appealing by making it taste less like Spam.

The other more malignant and virulent type of SPAM is the electronic type that arrives via your email or other modes of electronic communication. This type of SPAM, while devoid of any nutritional content, can wreck havoc on any device - more than likely your computer - with malicious and destructive viruses. Some of you folks reading this have fallen victims to these seemingly innocuous messages of financial success, love affirmations, and Oprah endorsements. Below are a few of the spam messages that invade my Gmail account everyday. I DO NOT know who they are, what they peddle, how safe their web origin is, or anything about them. I wish they knew nothing about me.

Beauty Secrets for Dating Orphans
Oprah's World
Some guy named "Mark"
Colon Cure
Colon Cleanse

What is it with these spammers and the colon? I suppose when you are full of, well, you know what, all things related to BS are a source of interest.

How did these people (spammers) get my email address? I don't visit their websites or other sites affiliated with them. I don't give out my email address to anyone, even though it is posted on the "Profile Page" of my blog. Perhaps I should remove it.

I guess the purpose of this post is to ask what happened to the legislation that was once circulating in congress to eliminate unsolicited spam? Didn't most of us take advantage of the "Do Not Call" registry to deflect the disrupting telemarketers from calling while you were having dinner with your wife and kids?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Oh, lordy! What have we come to??

I'm trying to show as much patience with as I can, but it is difficult. Nonetheless, I will heed Rita's advice that the best thing to do is to pray for these folks instead of badgering them with inflammatory and condescending remarks. To help suture the wound caused by the first video, I've included a second one that is much, MUCH more pleasing.

Pause music before playing videos.

Come hither and recuperate! (Click on video below)


I've been tagged by my fellow blogger Jeniffer from the Catholic Path blog. Here are the rules:

List 5 things you wish to achieve during the week ahead and hopefully get motivated!

1) Go back to the gym [Oh is this going to stink! (see video below)]
2) Select my classes for summer session
3) Give the Critter a haircut (Actually, I don't have to, the groomer does. I just have to drive him there since his license got revoked. Long story).
4) Clean out my fridge of unhealthy crap and fill it back up with more unhealthy crap (D'oh!)
5) Start looking at hybrid cars, to heck with waiting for next year. My truck has a forty gallon gas tank and it's getting pretty annoying. I figure with a gas tank that big, if I filled it up completely then remained parked, I can dispense gas to other vehicles for a small profit.

If you read this, consider thyself tagged.

Pause music before playing video.

Pentecost and Mother's Day!

To all the blogger and non-blogger moms out there, this is your day, with special recognition to moms who had enough love in them to adopt and raise a child that was not biologically theirs.

I love you, Mom. I love your aliveness,
your joy in living, your understanding,
your giving. And what I love best of all
is that you love me.
God of all Mothers,
thank you for my mom!

- by Gaynell Bordes Cronin

And it's also Pentecost!! How appropriate that Mother's Day and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles be celebrated on the same day. In both cases we celebrate the filial gifts lovingly bestowed upon us by God.

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre

Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre is the patroness of Cuba. Many have prayed to her, and many still do for the liberation of the small Caribbean island just ninety miles from the Florida coast. She has a place near and dear to my heart. Perhaps she should also be the patron saint of "those who flee" or those "who leave behind." I was reading a book last night covering the poetry of Thomas Merton when I came across one specific composition that reminded me of both her and of our times.

To The Immaculate Virgin, On A Winter's Night

Lady, the night is falling and the dark
Steals all the blood from the scarred west.
The stars come out and freeze my heart
With drops of untouchable music, frail as ice
And bitter as the new year's cross.

Where in the world has any voice
Prayed to you, Lady, for the peace that's in your power?
In a day of blood and many beatings
I see the governments rise up, behind the steel horizon,
And take their weapons and begin to kill.

Where in the world has any city trusted you?
Out where the soldiers camp the guns begin to thump
And another winter time comes down
To seal our years in ice.
The last train cries out
And runs in terror from this farmer's valley
Where all the little birds are dead.

The roads are white, the fields are mute
There are no voices in the wood
And trees make gallows up against the sharp-eyed stars.
Oh where will Christ be killed again
In the land of these dead men?

Lady, the night has got us by the heart
And the whole world is tumbling down.
Words turn to ice in my dry throat
Praying for a land without prayer,

Walking to you on water all winter
In a year that wants more war.

Our Lady of Charity was declared the patroness of Cuba by Pope Benedict XV in 1916.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Father Damien's Cause for Canonization Advances

Vatican officials have ruled that a Hawaiian woman's spontaneous cure from cancer was due to the intercession of Father Damien De Veuster, a missionary priest who ministered to the lepers of Hawaii, and ultimately died after contracting the same decease from those he labored to protect.

Born on January 3, 1840 in Flemish Brabant, Belgium, Damien De Veuster traveled to Hawaii as a brother of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and was ordained a priest in Honolulu on May 21, 1964. For a few years, Father Damien - as he is commonly known - served as a perish priest to several perishes in Hawaii before a health epidemic erupted that demanded his immediate attention. He was taken to a village in the island of Molokai by Bishop Louis Desiré Maigret, and there he was introduced to the Kalaupapa leper colony. During his supervision of the village, he erected a Church, addressed the medical needs of the infirm, bettered the living conditions of the residents, and administered the sacraments. Sadly, in 1884, Father Damien contracted leprosy and died on April 15, 1889, when the disease fully matured.

Father Damien's case now moves on to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints for final review. If it's their opinion that Father Damien should be declared a saint, then they would pass their findings to Pope Benedict for final approval.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Obama wins Guam by 7 votes

Which means all seven people voted.

I thought I'd beat the late night pundits to that line.

The time is drawing near folks. Will it be McCain, who, by enlarge, offers a continuation of the present administration.

Will it be Hilary? If I start on Hilary I wont stop. It's too good and too easy.

Or will it be Barack Obama, with questionable political associations and a slightly suspicious personal past?

Who I would vote for

I say Vote for Cathy. This is one tough cookie who can put ANY dissident in his or her place by merely striking a few keys on her PC! Just imagine what she can do as commander-in-chief. Her temper, however, might be a major set back. Especially when she learns that - without consulting with her first - a group of Catholic nuns have been invited to the White House to perform an Easter liturgical dance. Can you say mushroom cloud? Or how about Terry Nelson from Abbey-Road, Abbey-Roads2, and Up Your Street. A man who can sustain so many blogs at one time would burn the midnight oil at the White House trying to get the the issues remedied. And since Cathy claims that Terry leads a relatively quiet life, I can guarantee you no scandals in a Terry Nelson administration! But if militant and stealthy is what you desire in the war on terrorism, then I recommend Adrienne at Adrienne's Catholic Corner. With full and absolute jurisdiction over the Soprano family and their cohorts, all she has to do is nod her head and someone gets it (can you imagine if she targeted Ted Kennedy and he turned up missing? People would think he was passed-out somewhere on a beach or on the kitchen floor. No one would ever suspect. How cunning. How evil. Ingenious!). Having said that, she is also generous in helping those who are in need and is all too willing to grant any favors to anyone who asks politely (VERY politely). But keep in mind that if she does any favors for you, she may one day call upon you to do a favor for her (gulp!). And in the political arena, that is all but a certainty.

Ah, you might ask, wouldn't Tom, the author responsible for the quackery that gets posted on this blog, make a good president? Well, first and foremost I'm flattered, but the answer is no. Because I live in Las Vegas, it would be a natural propensity, done unconsciously, to turn the White house into a go-go bar. And that, ladies and gentleman, would make Bill Clinton, a potential First Lady, very jealous. He would accuse me of getting all my ideas from his administration, followed by unsolicited helpful advice on how NOT to get caught (whatever he means by that).

And since I'm already politically binging, here's a nice little quote to remember former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by:

"I don't do quagmires."

Friday, May 2, 2008

Karla Faye Tucker

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy" or is it "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Which of these two passages do you emphasize?

Houston, Texas, 1983. After spending an entire day getting high on drugs, Karla Faye Tucker, along with two other accomplices, broke into the home of Jerry Lynn Dean to settle a score. Their intent was to steal a motorcycle that belonged to Dean as a way of getting back at him for the abuse a female friend suffered while in a relationship with him. As they made their way into the premises, they were discovered by Dean, and one of Tucker's friends began striking him in the head with a hammer. As this attack unfolded, Dean's girlfriend, Deborah Thornton, hid from the assailers but was discovered by Karla Faye Tucker. Tucker then began hacking Thorton with a pickax, as one of her accomplices finished the job by embedding an axe in Thorton's chest. The gruesome scene was discovered the following day by the landlord of the premises.

In 1984, after having been indicted for the homicides the previous year, Karla Faye Tucker confessed and implicated her accomplices in the murders of Jerry Lynn Dean and Deborah Thorton. She was subsequently sentenced to death by lethal injection, which would have made her the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War. During her incarceration, Tucker acquired a bible from the prison ministry program and began a profound process of conversion and repentance. She ultimately became a born-again Christian, and a model prisoner at the Mountain View Unit where she was incarcerated. Her transformation became palpable and evident not only to individuals at close proximity to her, but also to those following her story as it unfolded in the media and public eye.

As her story evolved, many individuals - some from unlikely sources - came to intercede on her behalf. Pat Robertson and Newt Gingrich, conservative public figures, asked then Governor George Bush for clemency. Pope John Paul II, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, and officials from United Nations asked for her life to be spared and death sentence be commuted to life in prison. Even the warden of the prison housing Tucker testified that more than likely, after 14 years of incarceration, Tucker was a reformed prisoner. Governor Bush ignored the supplications for mercy, and on February 3, 1998, Karla Faye Tucker was executed by lethal injection.

For me, the Karla Faye Tucker story touches upon issues that deal directly with some of the most important Christian (Catholic) teachings and admonishments. Number one on this list is the respect for human life. Tucker recognized the full extent of the atrocity she and her accomplices carried out. She repented and converted with honesty and integrity, in plain view of those around her and others watching her story unfold. The politician(s) who could have saved her life felt otherwise, however. No amount of repentance, no amount of conversion, no amount of reform was enough for mercy. Caesar has his justice to dispense, and when it's time to collect you must render unto him what is his. This is especially true when Caesar is democratically elected, has his eyes set on a higher public office, and doesn't want to deal with the political fallout that comes from making an unpopular decision about executions (especially in Texas).

What would you do? Could you sign the death warrant of someone guilty of the atrocity Tucker and others are guilty of, or would you show mercy to someone who had manifestly made an intense transformation? What if you were the family of the victims? Could you spare the life of someone who took your loved ones away so barbarically? If you were the politician making this life-and-death decision, could you give up your own political advancement by making the unpopular decision of sparing the life of a murderer? You might save your own soul in the process.

Remember, we will be judged as we have judged others.