Editors Note: Yesterday we shared a Vatican response to the death of Osama Bin Laden on Facebook and here on LifeTeen.com. I asked Katie Heller and Derek Natzke take us a little deeper.
As citizens of the world, we had quite a weekend! A royal wedding, a beatification of a holy man, and the death of the world’s most dangerous and wanted terrorist. Now that a couple of days has passed, it’s very clear that all these events will hold significance in history, but one is definitely not like the others. The wedding inspired awe, and John Paul II’s beatification inspired holiness. But how do we, as Catholics, respond to the death of Osama Bin Laden?
First, let’s consider some of the opinions and responses out there:
- Justice. Some people–particularly those who lost family on 9/11–can now bring to a close ten years of uncertainty. Even if these people don’t feel full closure, they may feel some sense of justice. Yet for families whose loved ones are still serving in the military overseas, they’re uncertainty continues
- Celebration. Some people have gone the next step and celebrated the death of Bin Laden with cheering and parties. You may have heard your peers revel in the news. Some news stations reported how people on different college campuses were celebrating the death.
- Politics and Criticism. Still other people use this event to get into big debates about war, foreign policy, and issues in the Middle East. Opinions usually fly along the divisions between political parties.
Maybe you’ve heard some of these responses. It’s easy to hop on a band wagon of popular opinion. You can make a lot of friends by agreeing with them and repeating what they say. But as Catholic-Christians we are called to have a response higher than anything that is out there, even if it makes us uncomfortable. Read the official statement from the Vatican:
“Osama bin Laden, as we all know, bore the most serious responsibility for spreading divisions and hatred among populations, causing the deaths of innumerable people, and manipulating religions for this purpose.
In the face of a man’s death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred.” – Father Federico Lombardi, S.J.
This means we have to do three things:
- Rejoicing? No. We can never rejoice in the loss of any human life, even when that person caused others great pain. Our response is to pray and place judgment in God’s hands. It is God alone who is judge. Our role is to trust in His justice and mercy.
- Reflection. Take time to consider your own actions. Are you promoting peace amongst your friends, family, and community? God called you to unconditionally love in this world. Are you doing it?
- Prayer. We must pray for peace in the world. Most of what happens in this world is out of our control, but we can help by constantly praying for peace and working for justice.
The Church does not waiver in truth. Hold on to this truth. And as unpopular and hard as it may be, we must be a witness of faith. Be bold!
- Derek Natzke & Katie Heller