Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A bit about Bin Laden

What is the "official" Church position on the killing of bin Laden? Well, yesterday, the Vatican's press office issued the following statement:

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.”

A good and necessary reminder that, as Christians, we don't gloat and glory in the death of any one. That does not mean, however, that we cannot be glad that some measure of justice has been served (though not complete justice for Bin Laden, like every man, must stand before the throne of judgement and receive his eternal reward). We can also be glad that Bin Laden will not be able to devise and/or fund more murderous plots against innocent people. That is definitely something to be happy about.

Well-known Catholic author Jimmy Akin, in a column that he penned yesterday for the National Catholic Register, also made mention of an important step for us Christians when he wrote: "Of course, our Lord's command to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us still applies. We must hope that Osama bin Laden repented at the last second, or that he had been crazy for years and not responsible for his actions, or that God might provide for his salvation in some other way. And we must remember that Christ himself died to make salvation possible for all men, Osama bin Laden included."

In the end, however, we in our area have more pressing concerns. We have just experienced the most deadly outbreak of spring storms since the 1930s, and more than 300 of our neighbors are dead. Many, many more are homeless, without power, mourning and in pain. Their needs are immediate. And the real danger of media is that it takes our minds away from pressing and immediate concerns. There is real need. In the euphoria of a royal wedding and the demise of a cowardly villain, please make sure that you have done your part to help the victims of last week's tornadoes.

You can give online to Catholic Charities here. Or to the American Red Cross here. Both organizations are working hard to provide immediate relief to disaster victims throughout the South. Thank you.