Matt C. Abbott
Priest's perspective on Trayvon Martin case
FacebookTwitterGoogle+
By Matt C. Abbott
March 28, 2012

I asked Father Angel Sotelo, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Fresno, for his perspective on the Trayvon Martin tragedy.

Father Sotelo's comments are as follows:
    [Regarding] the Trayvon Martin case, I would step back from the racial tension and look at how this started. Basically, the 911 dispatcher was right to ask in so many words, 'Are you, George Zimmerman, a private citizen, not a police officer, walking around that neighborhood with a loaded firearm, following an African-American youth who has not harmed you or even threatened to harm you?' When Zimmerman responded yes, he should have heeded the advice that followed, 'You don't need to be doing that.'

    In other words, this isn't the Hollywood movie Death Wish. You're not Charles Bronson. And without professional training and in fact with your background of having assaulted a police officer, you are the last person who should be out playing 'cops and robbers' with a loaded gun. No good can come of this. The rest is history. Trayvon apparently assaulted Zimmerman who then shot him to death.

    In a racially-charged situation, people will draw immediate conclusions before all the facts are in, which is precisely what has happened here. At first, Trayvon was painted as the innocent youth who was gunned down in cold blood and Zimmerman the racist prowler looking for an excuse to kill a black youth. Now it is Trayvon who is being painted as a black thug, physically large, delinquent, and up to no good on that night.

    The facts are not in, and people should examine once again whether it is fair or Christian to try either of these men in the court of public opinion. But what has been established clearly exposes the actions of George Zimmerman as the cause of the tragedy that ensued. We need to allow professionally trained and responsible officers of the law to enforce the law, when and if the law is broken.

    We do not need to go chasing down every suspicious character who walks into our neighborhood, with a loaded gun, and then cry foul when that person assaults us and we are vilified for shooting him. It is not rocket science that a loaded gun fired at close range inflicts fatal wounds. Nor is it hidden from our common sense that the law does not permit the inflicting of fatal wounds on a fellow citizen unless they come onto our property and gravely threaten us or our loved ones.

    George Zimmerman may turn out to be innocent of the crime of murder. He certainly is not innocent of recklessly endangering human life and of having taken law enforcement into his own hands.
My own comment: What makes the case against Zimmerman murky is Florida's Stand Your Ground law.

Regarding the morality of self-defense in general, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
    The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. 'The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.' (no. 2263)

    Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow: If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's. (no. 2264)
© Matt C. Abbott

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 "Unsolved" podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He is mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)

Subscribe

Receive future articles by Matt C. Abbott: Click here

More by this author

 

Stephen Stone
'The fervent prayer of the righteous'

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Flashback: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Stephen Stone
In defense of Sen. Mike Lee

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Statement on overturning of Roe v. Wade

Tom DeWeese
Cancel Culture is cancelling itself

Linda Goudsmit
The Dr. Duke Show: June 23, 2022 Linda Goudsmit discusses the global takeover of American education

Tom DeWeese
We must harden our schools – mentally and physically – Here’s how and why

Curtis Dahlgren
'Don't weep for the dead; weep for the living.' – Jeremiah

Michael Bresciani
Nancy Pelosi says drag queens are what America is all about!

Jerry Newcombe
Violence in the name of “Jane’s revenge”

Peter Lemiska
The January 6th hearings – A pathetic act of desperation

Victor Sharpe
A nuclear Iran in our world

Selwyn Duke
Why Bill Maher can’t kick his Democrat Party addiction

Paul Cameron
Southern Baptists did a decent job protecting kids
  More columns

Cartoons


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

RSS feeds

News:
Columns:

Columnists

Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites