by Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak
In this our second issue of Wonder we look at Capital Punishment. We decided on this issue after attending the March for Life this past January.
For nearly a decade now the Orthodox Church, primarily through the Orthodox Church in America, has had a consistent presence at the annual March for Life. We thank God for that. During the Vesper Vesper service on the evening before the march Metropolitan Jonah offered the following words, “When we judge those who have chosen to abort, we abort them from our lives. And the second sin is greater than the first. “ I was deeply struck by that message. This is a true example of living and embracing the love offered to us through the Cross. And it is this message that best illustrates our uniquely Orthodox witness to abortion.
As a teen growing up in the Church in the 80’s I do not recall hearing much taught about the so-called “Sanctity of Life” issues. Indeed when a very good friend of mine had an abortion in college I was ill-prepared to deal with my emotions. I was left wanting for words of comfort and solace. But could find none. Her words to me at that time were the most instructive, “you will never know the pain I feel in my heart. I have done an awful thing. But I don’t need you to judge me, I just need to be loved.”
Thank God that over the past number of years our Orthodox witness to the world on the matter of abortion has become more present. There is no doubt that we still need more materials on these issues for our young people. For this month we thought to write about abortion. But at the same time we were curious about what the Church says about other, less publicized Sanctity of Life issues. So we have set out to look at what the Church says about Capital Punishment. I think you will find that unlike abortion Capital Punishment is not as black and white.