Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Jubilant over Usama - Right or Wrong

I was thinking about this throughout the day. As a Catholic should I be jubilant over the death of Usama Bin Laden?

From what I saw this weekend, on Divine Sunday of all days, the beatification of Pope John Paul II, the cheering crowds in front of the White House, many in their early twenties and thirties, couldn't help be feel, well kind of embarrassed.

Okay, I was relieved that he was final brought to justice however cheering in the street was not my first reaction.

On my way home from work I listened to a discussion on this topic between Fr. Bill O'Reilly and a Catholic Priest (Fr. Edward Beck), in which Bill insisted that he had the correct Catholic response (supporting the outward jubilation) and the good father didn't know what he was talking about.

Then to top it off the all knowing Catholic theologian Bernie Goldberg began his segment with a swipe at the priest. I don't think Goldberg knows his family faith at all.

Rabbi Wolpe of Los Angeles is one among many:

Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, an author and public speaker, agrees.
“The event itself is so surrounded by war and death and tragedy, even if something good happens, it seems to me inappropriate to turn it into a carnival,” he said. “We’re marking a victory in something that’s ultimately a tragedy.”
Wolpe quoted a passage from the Talmud in which a rabbi wishes for the death of sinners, and his wife corrects him by telling him to wish for the death of sin. “What we really want is not the end of Bin Laden, but the end of bin-Ladenism, and that didn’t happen,” Wolpe said.

Dispite Fr. Bill O'Reilly's credentials here are a few articles that reflect my sentiments on the subject.

Vatican Statement on Bin Laden's Death

The Vatican has released this statement this morning on the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed by American forces in Pakistan:
“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.”

Shouts of gladness? Or silence?

For the past couple of months I've been leading a Bible study of Proverbs, a book that I read often (and memorized much of) when I was in my teens, but had never studied carefully (or methodically) as a whole until now. Tonight's study included this verse, from chapter 11:
When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness. (Prov 11:10)
Which, of course, brings to mind the question: how should one respond to the news of the death of Osama bin Laden? Mark Brumley, on his Earthly City blog, writes:
It seems clear enough that a Christian ought not to rejoice in a man's death as such. But may a Christian rejoice in a wicked man's death, insofar as he did wicked things and one is pleased that such wicked things will cease? Praying for our enemies does not seem to preclude such a thing.

Killing bin Laden: Catholic Perspective 

So it has been announced that Osama bin Laden is dead.
The twisted, evil mastermind responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent human beings has been shuffled off this mortal coil.
This provides a measure of justice. Not full justice. That’s in God’s hands. But some justice.
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.

Usama Bin Laden … Rest in… well… whatever…

I am guessing that he made this announcement tonight, USA, time, so that people rising in other parts of the world would get the fresh news during the morning at the beginning of a week, as markets open, etc.   Had it come at the end of the week, it would have been fodder for Friday evening Muslim sermons.  It still will be, but after several days.
Nevertheless I find the timing of both the event of his killing by a small team of US operatives in a fire fight and the release of the news interesting.  One friend called me facetiously to opine that they actually found him at a Taco Bell in North Carolina and flew him back to Pakistan before… you know.  Moreover, the President seems now to be ready to quote a standard of American patriotism, the Pledge of Allegiance, with its strong invocation of God, when for sometime he couldn’t bring himself to quote the Declaration of Independence correctly with its reference to a Creator who gives us our rights.  Color me cynical.

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