Jury duty and perspective


#1

Nick/ Michelle/ All–

I saw the recent post concerning jury duty…

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=67802

…and I was a bit concerned by the direction of Michelle’s answer. I sent a follow-up question to her asking what she would say if…

…"suppose one decides to skip jury duty and chooses to give to God what is God’s by going to the AM Mass, visiting the Blessed Sacrament at lunch, and then going to the PM Mass… would that still be “grave” matter?..

…so, I hope she posts that follow-up.

For all, I have several thoughts, which you may take of leave as you wish.

On the matter of “is it grave matter to miss jury duty”, I respond as follows.

(1). Give to God what is God’s.

(2). If it turns your stomach to sit participate in the same system that legalizes homosexual marriage, says it is OK to murder an 8-month 27-day old baby in a mother’s womb, and legalized prostitution, (and so on, with the endless of list of strange “judicial” rulings), then I am CERTAIN that Jesus Christ, our Lord God and Saviour, will understand COMPLETELY.

(3). Here is one sure-fire, guaranteed way to make SURE you never get picked to be seated on a jury. They will give you a questionaire. One of the questions will say something like “is there any reason why you feel you would or would not be a good juror”. Well, to that simple question, just write the God’s honest, plain-English, orthodox Catholic truth-- say “I believe in Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, I believe life begins at conception, I believe the direct abortion is an intrinsically evil and absolutely morally wrong in all cases, I believe that homosexual sex acts are morally wrong, I believe in Natural Law, and I believe in serving the law of God over the law of humankind.” If you write that, I can virtually guarantee that you will NOT ever be seated on a jury in the USA.

(BTW, if I do happen to turn out to be wrong on this point, and one DOES gets seated on a jury even after writing the beliefs above, then I will be VERY happy because it will be a Holy Day indeed when the US Judicial “system” respects such moral underpinnings.)

(4). Know that Christ knows all and sees all. If you feel like jury duty is a waste of time and feel that praying the Rosary would be a much better use of your time, then I am sure that the Virgin Mother and her Holy Son will smile on you from Heaven.

(5). I resepect Michelle’s replies always, she is generally a GREAT apologist. And, I do think that she has A point. Sloth for sloth’s sake will never win the day. However, if you are like many, those who are tired of servitude in a system that spurns the Truth of Christ, then you may do better to pray for the souls of all and remember that you too are a pilgrim.

(6). Finally, and most noteworthry-- THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TODAY OR ANY DAY THAT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN CELBRATING THE HOLY SACRIFICE AND SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST. THIS IS THE SINGLE, MOST SIGNIFICANT, BEAUTIFUL GIFT AND HONOR FOR ALL HUMANKIND. IT WILL REMAIN AS SUCH FOR ETERNITY. THANK THE LORD GOD JESUS CHRIST.

How about this for a thought-- the next time I am “asked” by the government to “serve jury duty”, I will simply ask myself a simple question-- Do I have anything better to do?

That’s it. I just thought I should offer my thoughts.

May the Lord give you his peace.

–Mark


#2

Michelle Arnold’s answer was right on. I’m not sure what legalized abortion or sodomy has to do with 99.999% of the cases a jury is likely to see.

Do you vote?


#3

As an American it is a right and your civil duty to serve on a jury.

I have been called to jury duty more than once and both times I served I made it to morning Mass everyday before driving to Detroit prayed for God’s guidance and did my civil duty.

Ask yourself if it was your child being convicted and say he was innocent and all the people that may have been able to help him were sitting in a chapel or praying the rosary ignoring their duty and he had a bunch of atheist people on the jury that convicted him how would you feel?

It is the same principal as sitting at holy hour for hours because your to tired to go home and do your duties their.

I did not read the other article and maybe I have no bussiness posting this.
But as an American if it was me I would want a jury of my peers not people who copped out.
In order to make our system better we can’t run from it.


#4

[quote=Benedictus]Michelle Arnold’s answer was right on. I’m not sure what legalized abortion or sodomy has to do with 99.999% of the cases a jury is likely to see.

Do you vote?
[/quote]

Benedictus–

Let’s stick to the point.

What is more important to you…

…(1). Going to celebrate the Holy Eucharist?

…or…

…(2). Going to jury duty?

(Hint: Number one is the right answer.)

May the Lord give you his peace.

–Mark


#5

Toni–

Regarding this…

[quote=Toni]…In order to make our system better we can’t run from it.
[/quote]

…my reply is that THE system is that of Jesus Christ, not one constructed by humans.

Give to God what is God’s.

May the Lord give you his peace.

–Mark


#6

quote=mkamoski. Going to celebrate the Holy Eucharist?

…or…

…(2). Going to jury duty?
[/quote]

It’s not a matter of which is more important to me. Jury duty is an obligation, daily Mass is not. If they arrest you for not responding for jury duty, you won’t be going to Mass very often from jail.

I start work too early every morning to be able to go to Mass. Should I quit my job just so I can go do Mass every morning?


#7

Benedictus–

Regarding this…

[quote=Benedictus]…I’m not sure what legalized abortion or sodomy has to do with 99.999% of the cases a jury is likely to see…
[/quote]

…I thought it was clear; but, I can spell it out.

Participation in a system that conducts wholesale murder of innocents, perpetuates the moral decay of society, and so on… can be seen as implicit approval of such acts.

From the CCC, we know that it is a moral duty to NOT obey the laws of humans when they are contrary to the law of God.

Sure, go to jury duty if you like. I have NOT said it is wrong to do so. It might be fun. Yes, sure you might teach them a thing or two. However, what I am saying is-- look, be honest with yourself and God and don’t sweat it if you want to do go to Mass and pray instead. Going to Mass and praying is going to do a lot more good in the long run.

May the Lord give you his peace.

–Mark


#8

[quote=mkamoski]…(1). Going to celebrate the Holy Eucharist?

…or…

…(2). Going to jury duty?

[/quote]

The two or not exclusive to each other. Even cloistered religious have time for both work and leisure scheduled.

Another way to look at it is who is better qualified to understand matters of justice, an atheist who believes in subjective truth or a Christian who spends time with the Lord and receives the graces He makes available.


#9

[quote=mkamoski]Toni–

Regarding this…

…my reply is that THE system is that of Jesus Christ, not one constructed by humans.

Give to God what is God’s.

May the Lord give you his peace.

–Mark
[/quote]

I follow first and foremost Jesus Christ and couldn’t agree with you more on that issue. But unfortunately we do have a judicial system that does not always work and sometimes it is just as much our fault because some of us do run from it.
The last thing in the world I ever wanted to do was jury duty let alone in the Federal Court system in Detroit.
My late mother a very devout Catholic and yet a very patriotic women said to me it is your civil right. It is a right that many American’s fought for us to have. (A jury of your peers)
I did make daily Mass as I stated because Christ is my first priority. But I think sometimes to many of us run and fast from things that we feel we can not make a difference about.
Now do I agree with all that the court system does no!

I don’t agree with the majority of politicians but I still have to vote. Because it again is a man made right. I believe in Christ’s laws first and foremost!
Would I rather sit and be with Christ 24/7 you bet your life. But Christ knows that we have duties here on earth as well. Some of us he even puts in these places intentionally to make a difference.


#10

Benedictus–

Here are some thoughts.

[quote=Benedictus]It’s not a matter of which is more important to me. Jury duty is an obligation, daily Mass is not.
[/quote]

Not so fast there speedy. The “obligation” that you mention there is to the “law of humans”. One who serves Christ has a first and foremost obligation to God. “Give to God what is God’s.”

Hmmm… daily Mass is not an obligation? Well, let’s put it this way-- one has an obligation to love God with one’s whole heart, one’s whole mind, one’s whole being. All I am saying is that BEFORE worrying about jury duty, people would do well to ask themselves-- have I fullfilled my obligation to God?

Christ shed his blood for us. What sacrifice can we make to say “thank you”?

[quote=Benedictus]If they arrest you for not responding for jury duty, you won’t be going to Mass very often from jail.
[/quote]

Paul spent many an evening in jail. One would do quite well to be dragged from Mass in handcuffs and thrown in jail because one was not “in jury duty at that moment”. Would that such Faith still existed. Again-- what are we to fear-- the justice of humans or the justice of God?

[quote=Benedictus]I start work too early every morning to be able to go to Mass. Should I quit my job just so I can go do Mass every morning?
[/quote]

I don’t know. Should you? Do what you can and what you must. Know that God will provide, regardless. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea, if possible, to ask for a “sliding start time” on one or two days a week, to start at 10:00 AM instead of 08:00 AM, so you can take in a morning Mass. Why not? What’s the worst they can do? Say “no”.

This I guarantee-- every Mass that you DO attend, you will be doing the most significant, most important, thing that you will ever do and that you will be receiving the greatest gift ever, infinitely more precious than anything you can imagine.

Think of this…

When Newmann, (God keep his soul), was asked why he was throwing away a GREAT life of stature, power, prestige, and honor in the Anglican Church to convert to the Catholic Church he said he would happily give away all that if only to receive one Holy Communion.

He made the right choice.

May the Lord give you his peace.

–Mark


#11

Toni–

I understand what you are saying. I am just offering some perspective. There is an order of precedence. Some things ARE more important than others.

The Eucharist, for example, is INFINITELY more important than ANYTHING else

Regarding this…

[quote=Toni]…it is your civil right. It is a right that many American’s fought for us to have…
[/quote]

…I will simply remind all that CHRIST, (that is, God himself), fought and died to give us the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Eucharist.

How much is that worth? Simple-- The Blood of Christ.

Is there a greater price?

[quote=Toni]…Now do I agree with all that the court system does no!.. don’t agree with the majority of politicians… I believe in Christ’s laws first and foremost!.. Would I rather sit and be with Christ 24/7 you bet your life… Some of us he even puts in these places intentionally to make a difference.
[/quote]

Now you’re talking!!!

AMEN.

What I am saying is that “difference” can be made BEST through prayer and spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

I am not saying (not HAVE I said), flat-out “don’t go to jury duty”. That’s NOT what I am saying. If you want to go, then go. Have fun. Change the laws, and all the rest. What I am saying is that if you do have something better to do, then simply explain it to the “high court” as I mentioned above-- which is NOT a lie in any way, and I am sure the “high court” will want nothing to do with you.

What I am saying is simply this…

…let’s keep our perspective.

May the Lord give you his peace.

–Mark


#12

pnewton–

Regarding this…

[quote=pnewton]The two or not exclusive to each other
[/quote]

No, pehaps not absolutely exclusive in every instance-- however, they CAN be mutually exclusive and, I am saying-- when one must make the choice between serving Jesus Christ or serving jury duty then one MUST choose Christ. There is NO other way.

[quote=pnewton]Even cloistered religious have time for both work and leisure scheduled
[/quote]

OK, if you want to go there-- of all the cloisted religious, how many serve jury duty? I’m going to guess here but I am pretty sure that the answer is-- NOT MANY. Come on, these are people who are wise enough to see that it TALKING is a waste of time and one would do much better to keep one’s silly mouth shut and simply listen to God. I am so glad you brought up these heroes because if ever there were a paradigm of perspective, it would be the cloistered religious.

(BTW, who do you think is helping to hold this world together? I’ll tell you who-- it is those saintly religious, praying day-in day-out, around the clock. It is they would are doing something to save this fallen world, infinitely moreso than the “high court of abortion rights”.)

[quote=pnewton]…Another way to look at it is who is better qualified to understand matters of justice, an atheist who believes in subjective truth or a Christian who spends time with the Lord and receives the graces He makes available.
[/quote]

Right. That’s EXACTLY what I am trying to say. It IS the faithful that are doing the right, good, true service to God. That’s because the world needs GOD-- the world does not, in the absolute sense, need the “high court”.

May the Lord give you his peace.

–Mark


#13

In most cases, there is not a formal questionnaire before jurors are selected. That is usually handled in the voir dire process.

And if there were a questionnaire, and one were to write down the statements you suggested, that would likely not disqualify you from jury duty unless the trial in question specifically concerned one of those topics. The vast majority of civil or criminal trials have nothing to do with the topics listed.

And there is not a competition between Mass and jury duty. I can’t think of any time in my life when jury duty prevented me from attending Mass. Can anyone?


#14

[quote=JimG]In most cases, there is not a formal questionnaire before jurors are selected. That is usually handled in the voir dire process.
[/quote]

Hmmm… every time I have been they have passed these out at the courthouse. Everyone has to fill one out when the day begins.

[quote=JimG]And if there were a questionnaire, and one were to write down the statements you suggested, that would likely not disqualify you from jury duty unless the trial in question specifically concerned one of those topics. The vast majority of civil or criminal trials have nothing to do with the topics listed.

[/quote]

Come on? Have you read the news? They drop people all the time from the “system” as soon as they say something like “I believe in Natural Law”. I guess we disagree here; but, I know more than a few lawyers would would run from a “zealot” who says something like “I am anti-abortion on moral and religous ground”. Such a person, that is one with moral standings, is not going to fall for the flimsy legal “arguments” posed in court.

And there is not a competition between Mass and jury duty. I can’t think of any time in my life when jury duty prevented me from attending Mass. Can anyone?

I can. Regardless, the question at hand is really-- which is more important, serving Jesus Christ or serving jury duty?

This is a matter of perspective. If you want to go to jury duty, by all means you should go. However, if you rather yearn to be with the Lord, (praying silently, praying the Rosary, attending Mass, visiting the sick, helping to paint the Church, bringing Communion to a shut-in, teaching your child the Catechism, et cetera, et cetera), then I am CERTAIN that Jesus Christ, Lord God, would be VERY happy.

(BTW, are you really arguing for less praying/ Mass-attendance/ holy-worship/ acts-of-charity and more jury duty??? Maybe it is just me; but, I am voting for MORE of the former and less of the later.)

(BTW, do we have even ONE example of Christ choosing to attend to secular judicial affairs over praising the Father in Heaven?)

May the Lord give you his peace.

–Mark


#15

Well, in my area one could attend morning Mass before court begins, or evening Mass after it ends; or noon Mass at the church downtown near the courthouse, which many city and county workers, and yes, jurors, do attend.

I would guess that most people are more often prevented from going to daily Mass by their job rather than by jury duty.


#16

JimG–

Regarding this…

[quote=JimG]…in my area one could attend morning Mass before court begins, or evening Mass after it ends; or noon Mass at the church downtown near the courthouse…I would guess that most people are more often prevented from going to daily Mass by their job rather than by jury duty
[/quote]

…I do see your point. And, BTW, that’s MY point too-- one CAN and should get to Mass whenever possible. I brought up the issue of “which is more important, Mass of jury-duty?” to illustrate a point. The point is that one needs to keep these things in perspective.

One of greatest foes is “The World” and we all (myself most especially) would do very well to focus more on Jesus Christ and less on the world. Christ says one must give up one’s very self and follow him. Your point is valid-- jobs DO steal our time and distract us from the Lord.

Therefore, whenever one does accept even a little grace, one should live it to the fullest and take the opportunity to follow Christ. If that means missing jury duty, then so be it. That’s what I say. Everyone must choose for him- or her- self.

We cannot cling to this fallen world in the hopes that we can save it. There is only one who saves and that is Christ Almighty. Without his grace and love, we are truly lost. We can do nothing without Christ. As such, we need to put Christ first in our lives and everything else second.

That’s all I am trying to say.

May the Lord give you his peace.

–Mark


#17

Here is some scripture that I consider at least obliquely relevant to the topic:

[quote=1peter2]13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
[/quote]

[quote=mark12:17]And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
[/quote]


#18

Pug–

Regarding this…

[quote=Pug],Mark12:17… And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
[/quote]

…that’s is exactly what I have been quoting all along.

The fact is that EVERYTHING is God’s.

We owe our lives, our salvation, our souls, and everything to Christ, all for which he paid with his BLOOD.

So, what do we owe Christ? Everything.

In his glorious sacrifice he paid the ransom for our salvation and thereby we become his-- we do NOT belong to ourselves-- rather, we belong to Christ.

To Christ offer your time, your thoughts, your prayers, your focus, your love, ALL your heart, ALL your body, ALL your soul, ALL your mind.

ALL.

May the Lord give you his peace.

–Mark


#19

[quote=mkamoski]To Christ offer your time, your thoughts, your prayers, your focus, your love, ALL your heart, ALL your body, ALL your soul, ALL your mind.

[/quote]

This can be done and still do one’s jury duty.

The coin Jesus found in a fish’s mouth belonged to God, but he still paid the tax with it.


#20

If I am reading this correctly, am I supposed to believe that according to Catholic teaching, it is a mortal sin to deliberately miss jury duty? Is that what is being asserted here?
But some Christian religious groups hold the opposite, that you are not supposed to participate in jury service. For example, according to:
anabaptists.org/tracts/jury.html
"We see jury service for the Christian as crossing the line God has drawn between the church and the state. Involving ourselves in the judicial system is to return evil for evil, to use force, and to become unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14)."
Others may say that according to the Bible, Christians are supposed ‘to mind their own business,’ not getting involved in “other people’s matters.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11; 1 Peter 4:15). When a Jew asked Jesus to judge a matter about inheritance, 14 But he said to him: Man, who hath appointed me judge, or divider, over you? (Luke 12:13, 14) Jesus came to preach the Kingdom of God, not to arbitrate legal matters. (Luke 4:18, 43). Also, suppose you were on a jury and the guilty verdict were in error and the death penalty were subsequently imposed (in states which have it), would you then share in this blood guilt? (Exodus 22:2; Deuteronomy 21:8; 22:8; Jeremiah 2:34; Matthew 23:35; Acts 18:6)

Some people will feel OK about serving on a jury, whereas others might believe that it is not the course for them to follow according to their own conscience. My personal opinion is that it is not up to anyone to judge that person and to say that he is committing a mortal sin by avoiding jury duty. Also, take a look at Galatians 6, 4-5.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.