Being a Catholic and an American is a pretty confusing position today for many people. I woke up to tweets and facebook posts rejoicing in the death of Osama bin Laden, immediately following tweets and posts rejoicing about the beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul II.
We claim to promote a culture of life and promote LIFE from conception to natural death. So when the leader of a large terrorist group, who is responsible for the lives of thousands is killed, how do we react?
The Vatican released this statement this morning
“This morning, following the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, P. Federico Lombardi, issued the following statement to reporters:
Osama Bin Laden - as everyone knows - has had the gravest responsibility for spreading hatred and division among people, causing the deaths of countless people, and exploiting religion for this purpose.
Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace.”
It is not our place to rejoice over death.
I for one am glad that he was found and that he no longer has the ability to lead others toward a culture of death, but that does not mean I celebrate or rejoice in his death. The two positions would contradict themselves. Being human, I am not in a position to be able to forgive such unthinkable acts, but pray for his soul, and know that God in his infinite mercy is capable of anything.
Yesterday, as I reflected on my time spent in Toronto in the presence of Blessed Pope John Paul II, I found these words and remember so clearly him speaking them to us. I posted them on facebook before anything happened with bin Laden, but I find them fitting now.