Sunday, October 29, 2006

California Bishops Release Guidelines for Voters

In California and with issues on that state's ballot. Most of the issues are predictable, but I found this one rather lame (to be frank about it) and given the current problems that several of the California dioceses are dealing with that relates to this issue almost an indictment against them...

How should one vote on this issue according to them on this proposition?

From The Tidings:

Proposition 83: Sex Offenders. Sexually Violent Predators. Punishment, Residence Restrictions and Monitoring. Initiative Statute.
Proposition 83 will increase penalties for violent and habitual sex offenders and child molesters, prohibit residence near schools and parks, and require GPS monitoring of registered sex offenders. Fiscal Impact: Proposition 83 would increase Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) prison operating costs (longer sentences and purchase of GPS equipment)-possibly hundreds of millions of dollars; however, GPS monitoring may reduce recidivism among offenders.
A reflection on Catholic teaching:
"We are guided by the paradoxical Catholic teaching on crime and punishment: We will not tolerate the crime and violence that threatens the lives and dignity of our sisters and brothers, and we will not give up on those who have lost their way... We seek both justice and mercy. Working together, we believe our faith calls us to protect public safety, promote the common good, and restore community. We believe a Catholic ethic of responsibility, rehabilitation, and restoration can become the foundation for the necessary reform of our broken criminal justice system."
-Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration, U.S. Bishops, 2000

Is there a failure here to recognize the human condition? What about the church's teachings on original sin? Jesus teaching on scandalizing the little ones? Is there anything wrong with carrying around the "Mark of Cain--a GPS device" when even God chose that method of rehabilitation in Genesis? I think here is an example where the shepherds have lost their moral voice and are more worried about defending their past acts of irresponsibility then speaking up for those who are abused by the powerful...and the abusers need to be marginalized for their own salvattion sake. We can't continue to live in a world that doesn't deal with the reality of sin and violence--the church's teaching on penance for sins needs to be revived.