Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pope Benedict Is Going To Prison Tomorrow

Sorry all you wacko folks that clicked on this thinking the Pope has turned himself in for "Crimes against Humanity" that you want him charged with. That is not happening. But the Pope is going to jail though as we see from this article from Vatican Radio that is on this page.

Cardinal Martini once observed that a prison is “the reversed mirror of a society, the space where the contradictions and sufferings of a sick society emerge”: the troubles of prisoners and their relatives, the suffering of victims and their relatives, the problems of prison staff, the difficulties for the authorities – and the questions of legislators, who note how most of the problems that prison should be solving in fact remain unsolved, if not worsened.

The condition of a country’s prisons is, in short, one of the essential indicators of that country’s state of civilization. It is therefore natural for the Church to know it has to be present in prisons – and for Popes too – starting with John XXIII’s historic visit to Rome’s Regina Caeli prison on December 26th, 1958: a visit during which he spent a little time with the inmates and with those who share the burden of their incarceration. He listened to them and gave them a word of comfort.

It is no accident that this happens at Christmas time when we are more in need of stronger acts of solidarity and love. Concerns for the economic crisis must not be an excuse to forget the plight of those on the margins of society, much less a licence to be pitiless towards those who have done wrong: we can build a fairer and more reasonable society by starting with the least and the last of our fellows: by trying to reconcile and heal the deepest wounds. Let us remember the conditions of prisoners in different parts of the world.

At the end of the Synod for Africa, the Pope mentioned the terrible conditions of many African prisons and reasserted the commitment to fight the death penalty. For the Jubilee in 2000, John Paul II discreetly but clearly and insistently asked for “a gesture of clemency” towards prisoners. Has there been such a gesture, or are we still waiting for it?


bill bannon said...

Actually Benedict should do research on whether the death penalty stops inter prison murders between inmates.
Fr. Geoghan and Jeffrey Dahmer were both murdered in prison by other inmates who did not fear the death penalty because their states abolished it....Massachusetts and Wisconsin respectively. So it is possible that this new movement in the Church is enabling inmate on inmate murders which number about 41 a year in the US. If a lifer can only get another life sentence for murdering in prison, then each gang murder eg in prison is free of actual punishment. If John Paul and Benedict each visit prison once in their papacy, let's hope they are not praised out of proportion to their one day labor. I visited prison once with a Church group. Should I go down in history as a champion of inmates?

James H said...

I agree with you the whole VIlence in Prison dynamic is overlooked. In fact all kinds of violence in jail is sadly ignroed.

I doubt they will go down as champions as inmate. I think they understand the symbolic nature of their visit in encouraging others