From Cardinal Seán’s blog

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Day. As we continue in the Christmas season, (Dec. 28) the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Innocents. It is a striking reminder of the opposition to Christ even from the time of his birth, but also of the forces of the culture of death which are operatives even in our own day, particularly in the terrible massacre of innocents through abortion.

We must all raise our lament with that of Rachel. Our prayers and efforts must be directed to bring about a society that will protect all children, making it safe for women to have their babies with the support and services that they need to raise their family rather than being cajoled or pressured into murdering their own child.

U.N. moratorium on executions

I was very pleased with the Dec. 18 United Nations vote that ratified a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions. The resolution was approved 104-54, with 29 abstentions. It states that “there is no conclusive evidence of the death penalty’s deterrent value and that any miscarriage or failure of justice in the death penalty’s implementation is irreversible and irreparable.”

Most of the industrialized western nations have already abolished capital punishment but there are still parts of the world where this is practiced, sadly including the United States.

As Pope John Paul II clearly stated, in our modern times we should be able to find other solutions to punish the criminals without going to the extreme of extinguishing a human life.

I think that [the] Church’s concern about abortion, euthanasia and for all human life is what has led the Church to this conclusion about capital punishment. Historically there could have been momentous justification for the death penalty but in our modern times, with the resources and the technology that we have to incarcerate people, it is no longer necessary, and therefore, no longer acceptable.

I was very pleased that the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic ecclesial community, was so instrumental in promoting this resolution of the United Nations. They collected millions of signatures and promoted a campaign of prayer and education worldwide to bring this issue to the consciences of the leaders of so many nations. It is a great milestone and we all pray and look forward to the day when capital punishment will be abolished in our own country.

Pine Street Inn

On Monday, I went to [the] Pine Street Inn. I visited the staff, volunteers and the residents there.

Father Walter Waldron, Msgr. Francis Kelley and other members of our Catholic community were instrumental in establishing the Pine Street Inn, which does so much to address the very serious problem of homelessness in our community. We are grateful to the president, Lyndia Downie, for all that is done for the homeless.

They have two shelters, one for men and another for women, and each night they shelter 700 homeless people. But they also reach out to the homeless in the streets of Boston -- around 200 of them sleep in the streets. The inns’ vans travel through the city providing food, clothing, blankets, medical help to those sleeping in the streets. It is an extraordinary outreach. (...)

St. Francis House

After celebrating Mass at Channel 7 I went to St. Francis House, which in its origins back in 1984 was tied to St. Anthony shrine. It is an agency that serves over 800 homeless people each day giving them shelter and some auxiliary services that they need, such as a place to wash their clothes, showers, and a place to get their mail.

It was edifying to see that among those volunteering there, besides our own Catholic volunteers, there were a number of Jewish men who were helping out at Christmas.

Also in this week’s blog

> Ordination of two permanent deacons

> Midnight Mass and homily at the cathedral

> Christmas Mass at Channel 7