June 2007


From the AP this morning, this quote on the murder investigation of Jessie Davis, an Ohio mother:
“Bobby Cutts Jr. and Myisha Ferrell were scheduled to be arraigned Monday. Cutts, a police officer, faces charges of murdering 26-year-old Jessie Davis and her fetus.”

Her fetus. Does that sound awkward to anyone else?

Again, from the AP:
“Davis’ boyfriend, a Canton police officer, was expected to appear in court Monday on two counts of murder, one for Davis and one for her fetus.”

I know what I’m about to say is nothing new, but in the face of gross injustice, I feel the need to beat the dead horse.

The injustice is not that Cutts will be tried for two murders. I am entirely supportive of the decision to consider this a two-fold murder. It’s nothing new for our justice department; there are countless other examples of the death of a pregnant woman being considered the death of two individuals.

But, after examining the current legal situation in the United States, why is he charged for two murders? Since when is the murder of a “fetus” considered a crime? Is it just because he did it the wrong way?

What if Cutts takes the stand and says that shortly before he murdered Jessie, they stopped at Planned Parenthood and she had an abortion? Following the abortion, they returned home, got in an argument, and he murdered her? Does that mean he is suddenly only accountable for one murder?

What if he were to take her to Planned Parenthood and even force her to have the abortion? It’s not unheard of — in fact, it’s pretty common. Planned Parenthood is known for covering up such things. Then they go home, argue (perhaps about the abortion) and he kills her. He has killed two — but it would be nearly impossible to charge him for both.

I think it is correct to take Cutts to trial for two counts of murder. But I don’t know how a jury can reconcile it with our current laws. The injustice of this situation does not lie with Cutts’ trial, but lies somewhere else — with the 3,700 fellow citizens of Chloe (the “fetus”) who were murdered the same day as she was — but whose cases will never go to court.

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One of my dear friends was recently ordained to the priesthood. It was a grace-filled weekend, and it was a joy to witness three new priests give their lives for the Church.

A few days later, while at Mass, I watched my friend prepare the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It was still a rather surreal sight, and it was definitely still sinking in that he wasn’t playing dress-up. As I watched him, I thought of what a test of faith the office of priesthood is — not just to the priest, but to his congregation.One day he’s not a priest. The next day he is.
One day he can listen to my sins all I want, but he can do nothing. The next day, he can act in the person of Christ and take them away.
One day he has no power to bring Christ down on the altar. The next day, the words he whispers bring the marriage supper of the Lamb into our midst.

He looks no different. He sounds the same. But suddenly, the words he speaks have radical, earth-shattering capabilities. Why? Because he’s different. His very essence has been changed.

Suddenly, that close friend whom I’ve known for years and years and years is another Christ.

Perhaps this is how the people of Jerusalem felt when a bunch of fisherman and a tax collector and a zealot were suddenly very different men after Pentecost. How do you think Peter’s next door neighbor felt when he went from local fisherman to Bishop of Rome?