||Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and
Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed|
Catholic Lawyers’ Guild (of Jacksonville, FL)
Luncheon at the University Club (Not open to the public).
November 11, 2008 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Presentation: Catholic Teaching and the Realities of the American Death Penalty
Guest Speaker: DALE S. RECINELLA
Catholic Lay Chaplain for Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
The University Club is on the 27th floor of the Wachovia Riverplace Tower (formerly Southtrust, originally Gulf Life) at 1301 Riverplace Blvd. Hourly parking is available in the garage next to the building (connected by a covered walkway). Also, there is a Skyway Express station nearby.
Non va...non va
By: Dale Recinella
The experts say that newcomers to a culture experience phases of assimilation.
Non va...non va
The first phase is disbelief at the way things are done in the new country—usually in a condescending and arrogant way. The final phase, acclimation, is reached when one allows the new culture to confront the weaknesses in one’s home culture.
Our family moved to Rome, Italy in August of 1996. I entered the final phase of acclimation on December 19 of that year. That morning the most popular newspaper in Rome ran a two-page article on the last strongholds of capital punishment in the world. The impetus for the article was the plea for clemency by then Pope John Paul II in the case of a man from Virginia. The article featured continued use of the death peanlty by China and my home country, the U.S.A.
I never expected to discuss the death penalty at my job in the Rome office of America and the world’s largest law firm. I worked as a teacher of legal and financial English and mentor to European lawyers. The office handles the Italian needs of the world’s largest multinational corporations—billions of dollars of responsibility in the world banking and financilal systems. The values and the conversations are conservative with a capital “C”. In my home country, America, conservatives are presumed to be pro-death peanlty. So, I was not ready for the questions from an Italian lawyer in the office that day in December.
“Dale, did you see this?” he asked, spreading the two page article on the death peanlty in front of me.
I nodded and shrugged.
“How can this be in America?” he continued. “The death penalty, it’s so ... so barbaric.”
“It’s what the people want,” I struggled for words. “In America the majority gets what they want.”
“But the American Christians, surely they could put a stop to this.”
“You don’t understand,” I spoke cautiously, “In America it is the Christians who are demanding capital punishment.”
“No!” he stood straight up, “Surely you are making a joke on me! It’s not possible.”
“I’m not joking. It’s true. Many of the Christians in America believe the death penalty is God’s will.”
There was a long uncomfortable silence. Then this three-piece suited corporate lawyer from a country I had been looking down on for months looked at me sadly. He shook his head and his hand in a Roman gesture that I have come to know – index finger and thumb pointed out at a 90-degree angle -- meaning “Non va...non va.” (It’s broken. It doesn’t work.)
“You have to understand, “ I started, needing to defend my culture. “Christianity in America, well, well,....” But no words would come.
Finally, I shrugged and returned the gesure. “Non va...non va.”
First published: The Talahassee Democrat, January, 1997
© 2008 Dale S. Recinella & The Talahassee Democrat.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
No further reproduction or republication without prior written permission.
I Was In Prison
News & Updates
This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.
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Dale S. Recinella
, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella
, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and
Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed