Application of justice should not exclude mercy, says Argentinean archbishop


Archbishop Domingo Castagna of Corrientes, Argentina, said this week that while it’s true that the “administration of human justice should not prioritize mercy, but the law,” it should not exclude mercy from the spirit with which justice is applied.

In a statement entitled, “Justice should not be at the service of vengeance or reprisals,”  the archbishop pointed out that before the coming of Jesus Christ, man, “from his distressing pessimism,” saw God the Father as someone who applied justice without mercy and who expressed himself through anger and vengeance and “through the immediate execution of punishment.”

However, he went on, Christ shows us “a Father who is deeply good,” with mercy that is beyond human measure, as “kindness and tenderness overflow from his Being.”  “From the beautiful parable of the prodigal son—or of the forgiving Father—to the scenes of the adulterous woman and Mary the sinner, there is a surprising manifestation of the true God.  God is love; He is mercy, condescendence and justice.  He is closeness and truth…He is Father,” the archbishop said.

In this sense, he explained, “It is true that the administration of human justice should not prioritize mercy, but rather the law. But it should not exclude it from the spirit with which the law is applied.  In this way, any outbreak of vengeance in the administration of justice is prevented,” he said.

Archbishop Castagna warned that hatred, impunity, “or the insistence in declaring oneself exempt from all guilt and responsibility” do not bring peace.  “Justice is at the service of the truth and the recovery of the social balance that was lost, and not vengeance and reprisals.”  The exercising of justice requires “a peaceful heart and a mind capable of examining each cause with impartiality and balance,” as well as “the strength to reject any type of ideological or political pressure.”