“Let anyone who is without sin cast the first stone at her.”
I recently watched an enlightening move, the Stoning of Soraya M. The movie is based on a book from a French-Iranian journalist who discovered the story while traveling through Iran for another story. The basic plot of the true story is a 35 year old woman is falsely accused by her cheating husband of adultery so her husband can marry a 14 year old girl. During that time, adultery in Iran dictated death by stoning for the woman. In a twist of research, this is against the Koran which specifically says that the punishment for adultery is 100 lashes for both the woman and her lover. Stoning, ironically, is a Torah-Jewish law. However, stoning is very common in Iran. A group from Amnesty International witnessed a woman being stoned to death in a sports arena.
What was most striking of this movie was this was the first time I had seen what a stoning might look like. This woman was placed in a hole up to her waist, then covered in dirt, and stones (one by one) were hurled at her head. Blood poured forth as her brain was literally bashed in. And the whole time I was watching this, I kept thinking about St. Stephen getting stoned by St. Paul and wondering if that is what it looked like.
We live in a world where mothers and women have limited if any legal rights. And this was true of Jesus’s time as well. In the midst of this was Jesus, fully within his right to have this woman stoned for her sin, make the point that all people sin and we have no right to decide who is to live or die.
I believe this applies to all aspects of life. The United States has a history of civil rights issues and killing of innocents in other countries yet we have this mentality that we have the right to kill terrorists rather then bring them to justice all in the name of war. We had war during WWII yet those terrorists had trials. Even Saddam had a trial, but we offer no trial for binLaden. Why? Who made that decision? Who decided that the United States was without blemish?
I recently read a quote from now Pope Benedict regarding the Consistent Life Ethic which made me stand up and smile.
“ If a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”
The reason for my smile is that very plainly the gentlemen over at the very Conservative blog Catholic Phoenix was wrong. One can have dissention over the matter of war and still be a good Catholic or call themselves Catholic. Unfortunately because other “Catholics” have a pro-abortion or pro-euthanasia stance *cough-Nancy Pelosi*, you can’t really call yourself a good, faithful Catholic. But maybe I’m out of line since I have no authority to make that assertion.
I still maintain based on Jesus’s own behavior during the stoning that Jesus didn’t believe in murder regardless of the person’s crime. See Catholics do have dissension and dialogue within the Church. It’s perfectly fine. Whoever gave the impression that being a Catholic meant you were rigid was wrong.