A man stands in the dock accused of murder. Killed a man just to watch him die. He’s guilty. He knows he’s guilty. The judge knows he’s guilty. Everybody knows he’s guilty. He’s guilty.
The punishment is death, to be carried out immediately or eventually. Doesn’t matter. The man is guilty, the penalty is clear. He has to die.
The man has no excuse. He knew what he did was wrong. He did it anyway. He wanted to do it. He made the choice to do it. He did it.
He knew it was wrong and he knew the penalty. He knew he’d get what was coming to him. He did it anyway. He’s guilty and must be punished, as he knew all along.
So he throws himself on the mercy of the court. He begs for mercy.
Mercy! There are no mitigating circumstances. The man knew what he was going to do was wrong and did it anyway. The man now knows two things. That he did what he intended to do. And that he is now sorry.
He is sorry. He can only be sorry because there was a crime. He begged for mercy, and the judge can choose mercy. But only because there was a crime. There can be no mercy save there was a crime.
There is no mercy without crime.
If the man did not do the crime, then there is no need for mercy. If there was no punishment for his deed, there is no need for mercy.
The man did nothing to deserve mercy. He cannot earn mercy. He cannot buy mercy. He cannot trade for it. He can only ask for it. It’s up to the judge whether to give it.
The judge knows the man cannot earn mercy. He knows the man does not deserve mercy. The judge knows of the crime and knows the punishment.
The man can be sorry. The man can beg for mercy. The man knows he does not deserve it.
No amount of sorry can wash away the man’s crime. The crime will always be there. If the judge grants mercy, the crime has not gone away. It still happened. The crime was still the crime, even if the judge is merciful. The man may escape death, but the deed still happened and everybody will still know it was a crime.
Murder will still be a crime if the judge is merciful. The act of mercy to this man does not eliminate the crime. It does not make the crime a non-crime. The judge being merciful to this man is not an excuse for other men to murder.
Murder will still be a crime if this man is given the gift of mercy. There will be no excuse for future murderers. Nothing has changed except this man is granted a good for which he cannot pay.
There is no encouragement for other men to murder if this man receives mercy. The opposite is true. The evil is made into starker relief if this man is granted mercy. If it is possible, future murderers have even less excuse than this man had. And this man had none.
There is no mercy without crime. It is impossible to speak of mercy without there is crime. You cannot award mercy if there was no crime.
To speak of mercy when you mean instead to say a crime is not a crime is a terrible error. If you want to say the crime is not a crime, it is foolish and unintelligible to say those who commit the non-crime deserve our mercy. If there is no crime, there is no need to speak of mercy.
It is not merciful to say what is known to be a crime is not a crime. It is not merciful to automatically grant mercy to all who commit the crime. It is insane. Automatic mercy is an encouragement for the crime to be committed.
In other news, the second part of the Synod on the family takes place this October.