Wednesday, May 26, 2004

DOCTRINAL MATTERS AS EXPLAINED BY THE PENGUINS. Re the Oklahoma City Bombers, Kerry expresses the traditional, Cuomoesque argument against the death penalty: "Dying is scary for a while, but in the end, the punishment is gone," so life in prison might be a more convincing threat.

So NRO's Rich Lowry, offscreen, asks, "Do you believe in hell? He seemed to say on MTP that the only punishment in dying is the act of dying itself. But if you are a faithful Catholic like Kerry don't you believe someone like Tim McVeigh, an unrepentant mass murderer, is in for an eternity of punishment?"

They're really working this Catholic thing, aren't they? When I was in the Church, though, back in the metal-ruler era, we were specifically cautioned by the nuns against assuming that anyone was in Hell -- or in Heaven, for that matter, excepting the Saints, who were in for sure because the Pope said so.

This message was illustrated by anecdotes of sudden, unforeseeable death suffered by children just like ourselves, meant to convince us that we could be saved or damned in an instant, and that we had better make sure that instant came before we were run over by a bus or suffocated in a sand-pit, and not after. Repent, in other words, before it's too late.

So the idea that the worst human being might be saved at the last moment strikes me as very Catholic. See also the Good Thief.

I would ask if Lowry is Catholic, but it doesn't matter -- that guy could be talking about what it's like to be Rich Lowry and he'd still be talking out his ass.

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