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"dead Man Walking" Ethics Essay

Essay by review  •  December 20, 2010  •  Essay  •  766 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,532 Views

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"Dead Man Walking"

The film "Dead Man Walking" raised an important ethical issue about whether a convicted criminal on death row should be allowed to have a spiritual advisor. I think the moral issue of the movie revolves around whether a spiritual advisor, such as a nun, should lend comfort or support to a death row inmate, such as Matthew Poncelet. I think the issue is important because it involves the responsibility of the spiritual advisor, the salvation and redemption of the criminal, and justice for the victim and his family.

Sister Helen Prejean, as a servant of God, believed she had a duty to console the convicted criminal, Matthew Poncelet. Even though her family and the victim's family opposed her helping him, she believed that every human deserves respect and compassion. She explained to Matthew Poncelet that every person is worth more than his/her worst act. Sister Helen understood that Matthew Poncelet's actions were brutal and wrong, but she thought he should/take responsibility for what he did and go to his death with reconciliation of his crimes and himself. She told the warden of the jail that she did not believe killing is ever just. Killing people is wrong. Sister Prejean thought it was her obligation to hear the convict's confession and help him deal with his impending execution. 1 think that even the most despicable human deserves the chance to admit his/her sins, feel remorseful and ask for forgiveness. I think everybody should have the chance to repent for the crimes.

Matthew Poncelet was lonely and frightened as he awaited his execution on death row. In the few hours before his death, Poncelet admits his part in the crime and confesses about how sorry he is for what he did. He knows what he did was terribly wrong and hopes his death will give the families the relief they need for the murder of their children. Once he faces the crimes he committed, he can die with dignity and receive redemption for taking responsibility of his sins. I believe we have no right to judge the actions of other people, but offer them the chance of salvation. When Poncelet finally shows remorse and acknowledges his guilt, I saw him as a human being instead of the monstrous killer he was. I felt sympathy for the convicted criminal as he said goodbye to his family and was not allowed to hug his mother. In my opinion, once he took responsibility for his heinous acts arid faced the truth; he should be able to seek forgiveness. The families of the victims wanted to execute Poncelet to gain simple justice for their unbearable loss. The family's grief, anger and torment was palpable as they opposed Sister Helen counseling the murderer of their children.

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