Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Death penalty shall continue

On Saturday 7/3/2015 I sent a message to EWTN about an article about opposition to death penalty.

It is wrong for Catholics to oppose death penalty and for bishops and publications to campaign against death penalty. Jesus Christ was in favour of death penalty. St. Peter sentenced Ananias and Sapphira to death. Every death penalty prevents 3 to 18 murders. Murders have gone up in Mexico after Mexico stopped death penalty. The blood of victims cries to heaven for justice. Catholics should be on the side of victims, not of murderers.

I received a reply. I read it on 12/3/2015.

Thank you for your email. The Register published a joint editorial appealing for an end to the death penalty in the United States. The editorial a collaboration of National Catholic Register, America Magazine, National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor. It will also be published in our March 28 print edition.
http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/national-catholic-journals-unite-capital-punishment-must-end/

The Register’s editor in chief also explained the newspaper’s position in a statement on her blog. The statement follows:

From the time of the publication of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope St. John Paul II urged Catholics to re-examine the use of the death penalty – teaching that its use today should be “very rare if not practically non-existent.” His successors Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis consistently have taught the same.

We’ve taken that teaching to heart. We’ve prayerfully pondered it and we accept it. Our reporting over the years has reflected this teaching. And, while we recognize that the Church has allowed for the legitimate use of the death penalty for society’s self-defense, we find that it’s harder and harder to argue that a particular act of capital punishment is circumstantially necessary today in contemporary America. We believe the right path is to seek its abolition and we’ve taken the opportunity, along with other members of the Catholic press, to encourage our readers to consider this stance as a part of comprehensively embracing the Gospel of Life.

Today we face ever-increasing assaults on the sanctity of human life. Unity among Catholics in defense of life can send a powerful message. Euthanasia, abortion, war and capital punishment differ in moral weight, but they all threaten human dignity and we must work to end them. While we look forward to the day we can stand in unity with the other Catholic publications on each of these life issues, we stand today on the death penalty, strengthened by the teaching of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, and say “Capital punishment must end.”

Thanks & God Bless,
EWTN Viewer Response

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

I replied on 12/3/2015.

The church from the beginning was in favour of death penalty. The teaching changed in 1995. So it is not a continuation of Catholic teaching but separate and contrary teaching.

In USA there are at least three cases where murderers came out of prisons and committed more murders. If they had been executed their victims could have been saved. There are contract killers for whom murder is a profession.

The more things change the more they remain the same. Death penalty is a necessity in contemporary America. With automatic rifles or bombs large number of people can be murdered. Strange that there is no word by bishops against gun violence, easy availability of guns in USA. No word by bishops against merchants of death who are members of National Rifle Association.

What do you say about Boston bombing, Fort Hood massacre etc? Not hanging the criminals in such cases is grave injustice to victims and will boost crime. As long as such criminals are in prison there are possibilities of abductions of people with an attempt to secure their release.

There is nothing Catholic about opposing death penalty. Wrong is wrong even if the pope is wrong. John Paul II and his successors are wrong.

It is perverse that attempts are made to save the lives of murderers but the losses of lives of victims are ignored. It seems lives of victims do not matter. Some people shed crocodile tears.

Things have deteriorated since 1995. Today we have ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Taliban, drug cartels and others who carry on murders and terrorist activities. Timely execution of a murderer sends the message that murder will not be tolerated and met with death. That deters murderers. In Mexico murders have gone up and even priests are shot dead. You are aware of 43 students who were murdered. If there had been death penalty many of those lives could have been saved. Those who oppose death penalty are like Pharisees. They have eyes but they do not see. They have ears but they do not hear.

Terrorist activities have taken place in London, Madrid, Paris and other places. Not to execute terrorists and murderers is foolish.

Pakistan restarted death penalty after Peshawar school shooting. Indonesia restarted death penalty after crimes went up.

Death penalty is a matter of crime and punishment. It should be left to states.

Death penalty is different from abortion and euthanasia. Many who oppose death penalty are in favour of abortion and euthanasia.

Sometimes war is necessary to save people. Pope Francis has said ISIS must be stopped. Only way to stop ISIS is to fight a war and kill them. They have their sights on Rome.

You have quoted “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” The key word here is friends. It is not murderers, rapists, criminals, abductors, hijackers or rapists.

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Justice for Jyoti

4/3/2015 – around 1.30 p.m. – CNN-IBN flashed a number. Kajori Sen said you can call on that number to express your views on a documentary on a rapist. I rang up thrice. The number was ringing but nobody picked it up. I feel calls are pre-recorded and call-in live is a farce. I wanted to say “Rape is a crime and rapist should be punished. Talk of change of mindset is an excuse not to punish rapist. There should be no glorification of crime and criminals. Publication or broadcast or exhibition of an interview of a criminal is glorification of criminal. Showing photograph of a criminal is glorification of criminal. TV channels should not show photographs of criminals. Producer of documentary claimed to be a rape victim. In that case she suffers from something similar to Stockholm Syndrome. There should be a law against glorification of crime and criminals. There are many evil persons who don’t want rapists to be punished. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Instead of directly saying that, they change the discussion to patriarchy, mindset, society, education, and so on. All these are excuses to justify rape and not punish rapists. You don’t hear them say a rapist must be punished. A rapist and murderer should face full punishment even if he is less than 18 years old.”
Times Now said the documentary is voyeurism, not journalism.
Many rapes take place in UK. If the producer wanted to know the mindset of a rapist she should have interviewed a rapist in UK.
Anu Aga is a nominated member of Rajya Sabha. She is not an elected member. Her nomination is unconstitutional as it is not according to Article 80. She did not say rapists should be punished.
If parents of Jyoti Singh Pandey want justice for their daughter they should start chain hunger strike at Jantar Mantar. They should not stop it till all the criminals are hanged. Even after the President rejects mercy petition lawyers like Indira Jaising challenge the rejection and get a stay order from a High Court or Supreme Court. Shame on such lawyers. Going to TV studios is no use. Many journalists on those channels are opposed to death penalty. There is no shame in being a victim. Jyoti Singh Pandey should be called as such and not Nirbhaya or Damini or Amanat. If at all TV channels want to show that photograph they should show the photograph of Jyoti Singh Pandey. When rapists are brought to court their hands and feet should be chained. Their faces should not be covered. Proper punishment for those who raped Jyoti is castration, taking out their intestines and burning them, and hanging. We can bring a law with retrospective effect for that. We should have a law that bans any appeal against President’s rejection of mercy petition and punishment for any lawyer who appeals should be death and President should have power to dismiss judges who admit such petitions.
On NDTV 24×7 Dushyant Dave said discussion on mindset should stop. Rapists come with justifications for their actions.
Government has the right to ban a documentary. Character assassination of a rape and murder victim should not be permitted. It is hypocrisy on the part of TV channels to question the ban when they wanted ban on Honey Singh’s lyrics. Some wanted ban on Grand Masti. Khushboo wanted a ban on Dam 999.

Budget 2015

On 28/2/2015 Arun Jaitley presented India’s budget for 2015-16. Sensex and Nifty went up and down during the day and finally ended up. Looks like some people managed to pull them up.
Narendra Modi should replace Arun Jaitley as Finance Minister with someone suitable.
Firstly, Finance Minister should be physically fit to read the full budget speech standing. Arun Jaitely is unable to do that. This happened last time also.
Secondly, Arun Jaitley is a misfit as Finance Minister. In an interview to Lok Sabha TV after budget presentation Arun Jaitley said “Only 3-4% of the country’s population pays taxes.” This is false. This is unpardonable coming from the Finance Minister of India. All Indians pay taxes directly or indirectly. Those who pay Income Tax may not be more than 4% but that is just one tax of the many which India has. Service Tax, VAT, excise duty, customs duty, entertainment tax, turnover tax, Cenvat, Modvat, MAT, LBT, octroi and other taxes are paid by Indians. The products we buy in shops are inclusive of all taxes.
My comments about the budget are as below:
Any budget that is a deficit budget is a bad budget. Total expenditure for 2015-16 is 17,77,477 crore rupees, i.e., around 18 trillion rupees. Borrowings are around 4.56 trillion rupees. This deficit needs to be zero.
Good to abolish Wealth Tax. Loss of income is more than compensated by additional surcharge of 2% on income of 1 crore rupees or above.
Bad to increase Service Tax from 12.36% to 14%. This affects most Indians. Mobile and DTH charges will go up. Besides there is provision for 2% Swacch Bharat cess on all or certain services. This means Service Tax can be 16%.
Should have done away with NREGA. Instead there is additional grant for NREGA. Just a day before Narendra Modi had said NREGA is a living example of Congress/UPA folly.
The decision to cut Corporate Tax by 5% from 30% to 25% over 4 years and do away with exemptions made many people say this is a pro-Corporate budget.
There should be no discrimination between states. Special assistance to Bihar and West Bengal should have been avoided. Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is unhappy.
There is a proposal for a new law to curb holding of black money abroad. What about black money within India? We have to see what the intention is when the government introduces Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill.
Corporate Debt Restructuring should have been abolished. There is nothing about punishing people who default on payment of bank loans.
UPA brought GAAR but deferred its implementation. Now BJP had deferred it by two years. Either GAAR should be implemented or abolished. Deferring is not good.
Increase of excise duty on cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos and other tobacco products in justified as they are injurious to health. What is the justification for levy or increase of excise duty on milk packs, peanut butter, mineral water, aerated water, and such items?
Setting up of news AIIMS, IITs , IIMs and other institutions should be avoided. Cost of higher education of institutions including universities already present should be recovered from students. If announcements of setting up of institutions have been made in previous budgets but work has not started they should be scrapped.
Reactions by politicians to budget have been predictable. Those of BJP said it is a good budget. Those of Congress and Left Front said the budget has nothing for the poor. TV channels should stop inviting politicians to discuss the budget.

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