Vengeance Is NOT Mine, Says "the Lord"

July-August 2001

One of the better arguments against capital punishment, at least for Christians, is that we should not take vengeance on evildoers. As St. Paul tells us, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Rom. 12:19). Paul is referring to Deuteronomy 32:35.

Well, if Fr. Ron Ashmore is to be believed, both the Old and New Testaments are wrong about that for, you see, Fr. Ron has had a private revelation. Writing in the National Catholic Reporter (May 18), a paper not known for promoting private revelations, Fr. Ron tells us that on the day of the Oklahoma City bombing, he was in Jerusalem and entered the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where he silently reflected on the victims, their families, and the perpetrator(s), and “waited for the Lord to speak.” Then “Jesus’ words” came into his heart, saying “Father, forgive them.” Fr. Ron responded, “Forgive whom, Lord?” Jesus responded, “Forgive them.” Fr. Ron continued listening, and what follows is the essence of what he heard: “Those who are dead are already with me in the joy and peace of the Kingdom. In the embrace of my mercy, they have already forgiven the one who killed them. They await his arrival to invite him to sit down with them for a wonderful meal on the holy mountain of God…. They are waiting for him with love and joy. It will take time for their families to realize the immensity of my love. Their pain, tears, anger, vengeful rage do not exist here. Everyone came here so quickly, it surprised them. The little children are so happy. They want to sit down on his [their killer’s] lap and give him a hug…. God’s mercy…is everything here.” Fr. Ron says his experience was a “dialogue of prayer.”

So all 168 adults and children who died went straight to Heaven. Either none was in a state of mortal sin at the moment of death or the Church is wrong that unrepented mortal sin disqualifies one from Heaven. And Fr. Ron doesn’t mention Purgatory, so all 168 must have been saints or else the Church is wrong about Purgatory too.

And the killer (Timothy McVeigh) goes to Heaven. Now, Fr. Ron, who is a pastor in Terre Haute, Ind., only a five-minute drive from where McVeigh was incarcerated, had met with McVeigh, but says nothing about whether McVeigh had a change of heart, had repented. Apparently, that doesn’t matter.

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New Oxford Notes: July-August 2001

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