By GEOFF KENNEDY
The 1961 movie “Hoodlum Priest” ended with a scene of a protester opposing capital punishment as the state executed a young man for murder. A security guard asks the protester if he really intends to change the world with his vigil. “No,” the protester replies, “I just don’t want the world to change me. “
For me that’s the real issue. During the first decade of the Iraqi invasion, I saw no supporters of unborn children among the peace activists. Nor at the annual memorial service for the unborn did I see any peace activists. In a sense both sides sent the same message, not by words but by the absence of words: Some human lives matter and some human lives are expendable. Both sides worked together to allow the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent born and unborn humans.
Are we Catholics different? Do we value human life from conception to natural death only when doing so conforms to our secular political agendas? Do we behave like posturing politicians pretending gun control or video game control will end mass murder?
News flash. Mass murder is not a problem. Problems have solutions. Mass murder is a fatal condition. We can’t change that. We can change ourselves. Here’s one way.
In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus tells us the only way to save our immortal souls: “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in.”
Scott Warren of “No More Deaths,” a group dedicated to saving the lives of Central Americans fleeing for their lives from gangs, government drug dealers and drought only to risk death in the Arizona desert, faced criminal prosecution for the corporal works of mercy.
Prosecutor Anna Wright told the jury, “He gave them food, he gave them water, he gave them a place to stay. He did a bad thing.”
Fellow Catholics, we can’t change the fatal condition of mass murder any more than my dad could change the cancer that killed him. But we can decide who we want to change us — Jesus or the Anna Wrights of the world.
The writer is a parishioner of St. Benedict Church in Anchorage.