Our page-one story on the lasting legacy of New York City police detective Steven McDonald is a perfect example of the ways the Register’s commitment to its readers extends beyond coverage of the everyday goings-on in the Vatican, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops or Washington, D.C.
McDonald, who died last month at the age of 59, was on the job only two years in 1986 when he was shot three times in Central Park and became paralyzed from the neck down. A newlywed and expectant father, McDonald lived the rest of his life using a wheelchair and respirator tube.
He also lived the rest of his life exhibiting heroic virtue — both charity and fortitude. At a time when the Catholic Church concluded its Year of Mercy, McDonald lived 30 years of mercy. He wrote a public note of forgiveness to the young man who shot him, and he even testified in defense of the assailant at his parole hearing.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan said at McDonald’s funeral Mass, “Det. Steven McDonald was an icon of mercy and forgiveness, a prophet of the dignity of all human life, a radiant symbol of the best of what the New York Police Department represents, a loving husband and father, and a fervent and faithful Catholic.”
At a time when our culture is ruled by rash judgment, calumny and detraction, which have also wormed their way into Catholic culture, McDonald’s example of forgiveness shines like a beacon of light and hope for our world. I pray it will be an inspiration to you.
God bless you!