When famed death penalty opponent Sister Helen Préjean testified at the Boston Marathon bombing trial yesterday, she revealed that she had met five times with Dhokhar Tsarnaev while he was imprisoned for his part in the bombing. She told jurors that Tsarnaev told her that "no one deserved to suffer" like the people he had killed, maimed and injured.
A few thoughts.
I found it curious that Sister Helen associated herself so much with this high profile case. Is she doing this purely out of a desire to minister to a despised criminal? Or is there a certain amount of self-interest -- furthering her "brand" -- by her association? I say this all the while admiring Sister Helen's literal application of Matthew 25's standard of "When I was in prison, you visited me." I might admire it more if she had kept her visits private, and didn't allow herself to use the case to further her own advocacy.
Second, I was curious about Tsarnaev's comment that his victims did not deserve tio suffer that way they did. After all, he
deliberately place a bomb in the middle of a busy, crowded sidewalk, intending that it harm as many people as possible. He has been eerily apathetic at the trial. Yet now we are to believe that he feels bad? I wonder whether he said more than what Sister Helen tells us he said. Was it all the lines of "These people didn't deserve to suffer, any more than my people deserve to suffer at the hands of the US government." That would at least fit better with his lack of affect during the trial and his jihadi sentiments written in the boat in Watertown.
I would hate to think that Sister Helen--a prophetic voice who (unlike our noble bishops) does more than just mouth the Church's teachings--would be marketing herself or would be trying to save Tsarnaev's life by lying (by omission) about important aspects of his thinking. But I don't credit her with perfection, in spite of her many good works. She has a product to sell, and what better way than to save the life of America's most hated man?