Cardinal says Christians should pray for the soul of Osama Bin Laden & souls of his victims

Cardinal Albert Vanhoye, an eminent Biblical scholar, has received news coverage for making the unremarkable observation that Christians should pray for the soul of Osama Bin Laden and for the souls of his victims. Cardinal Albert Vanhoye said:

‘I have prayed for the soul of Osama Bin Laden. We have to pray for him just like we pray for the victims of Sept 11. It’s what Jesus teaches Christians.’

Cardinal Vanhoye went on to point out the Christian imperative to forgive one’s enemies:

‘”Jesus obliges us to forgive our enemies. The ‘Our Father’ that we recite every day says that. “Does it not say ‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us’?” “It’s not possible to accept this prayer while holding on to rancour and cultivating hatred against our enemies. We are all sinners and we all need Christ’s forgiveness’.

The Italian newspaper, Il Messaggero, went on to report that the cardinal said that ‘it would have been better for the Americans to have captured bin Laden alive so that he could be put on trial.’

This follows a statement issued by the Vatican saying that no Christian should celebrate the death of the al Qaeda leader:

‘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 to this end. 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.’

Protect the Pope comment: It is remarkable that a Cardinal’s remarks about the Christian duty to pray for the soul of Osama Bin Laden and the Christian imperative to forgive our enemies should be seen by journalists as newsworthy. This has been the teaching of the Church for 2,000 years.

What is more newsworthy, and demanding reflection and comment, are the scenes of crowds rejoicing in the streets over the death of another human being.  This behaviour is in marked contrast with the calm dignity of the families of those killed in 9/11 interviewed by the media. Though they all expressed satisfaction that at last some form of justice had been done, there was no sense of rejoicing.

The war on terror is not a sports fixture,  we are all losers.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8492083/Osama-bin-Laden-dead-Christians-should-pray-for-his-soul-car

22 comments to Cardinal says Christians should pray for the soul of Osama Bin Laden & souls of his victims

  • Gerry

    ‘What is more newsworthy, and demanding reflection and comment, are the scenes of crowds rejoicing in the streets over the death of another human being. This behaviour is in marked contrast with the calm dignity of the families of those killed in 9/11 interviewed by the media. Though they all expressed satisfaction that at last some form of justice had been done, there was no sense of rejoicing.

    The war on terror is not a sports fixture, we are all losers.’

    I’d agree with that.

  • Tim

    “The war on terror is not a sports fixture, we are all losers.”

    Here here.

    It is a great shame that the right wing “Christians” like Sarah Palin who are calling for pictures of the body to be released so they can glorifying Osama’s death don’t listen to people like the Cardinal on this one.

  • Tim

    Rowan Williams has expressed his unease over the killing of an unarmed Bin Laden. That story has been picked up fairly widely. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/05/bin-laden-uncomfortable-feeling-rowan-williams

    Secular comentators including Deborah Orr (wife of Will Self) have also expressed their discomfort over the gloying in his death http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/05/triumphalism-over-obama-inappropriate

  • Karla

    Pictures can be doctored, so pictures are not evidence.

    Its crazy, books, writings etc. from thousands of years ago are more reliable historically it seems that anything we can trust in the modern age.

  • Karla

    I thought it was disturbing to see people rejoice on the streets of New York, if Osama is indeed dead, what is happy in that, I do not really understand, he may have done terrible things, but its still the death of one human being and we should pray for his soul.

  • Michael Petek

    I’m afraid I can’t bring myself to pray for the soul of Osama bin Laden. Jesus said in John 15, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.”

    Osama bin Laden took God as a witness against His own revelation and was a blasphemer and an unbeliever. He belonged to a movement which is determined to exterminate the Jews, and is therefore guilty of the crime of Amalek. He hated Christians for not being Muslims, and this fact together with the words of Jesus above gives abundant certainty that he did in fact die in his sins and in hatred of God. No one who committed the atrocities he did and planned could possibly be innocent of sinning against the light.

    Do not rejoice that a man died in his sins, nor that Lucifer fell. Rejoice rather that God’s judgements are true and just. He has silenced a blasphemous mouth and avenged Himself for the slaughter of Christians in Baghdad last October and in Alexandria on New Years Eve.

    • Beaumains

      My dear brother in Christ, just because Osama hated us, and hated our Lord Jesus Christ (I cannot accept Isa as Jesus, the two seem to me too different), does not mean that Jesus would not tell us, once again, to turn the other cheek. The Christian martyrs always forgave their murderers, and it is this example we should aspire to. We cannot condemn anyone, especially in such strong language, nor are we to assume these things are God’s judgment- it could have been, but how would we know? It is best not to assume.

      Osama was a man who believed that wrong was done to him and his people, and that isn’t entirely false. A refusal to forgive will only prolong the vicious cycle of hatred.

      • Michael Petek

        The Christian martyrs forgave their murderers because their murderers were to go on living for a time. So the possibility of repentance, and of forgiveness on the part of God, was possible for them.

        Anyone who hates Christians in odium fidei is certainly in mortal sin, and we know so because Jesus told us so in John 15. Whoever dies in that hatred is certainly damned.

        The command of Jesus to turn the other cheek is for cases of private retaliation for minor assaults. It does not bind civil authorities, for these bear the sword to execute God’s just punishment upon evildoers (Romans 13:1-7).

        And we do know that the killing of Osama bin Laden was God’s punishment because we know that the Christian religion is true and that deviations from it, including Islam, are false and displeasing to Him. We can, in the external forum, judge Osama bin Laden guilty of blasphemy, a crime which God promises He will not leave unpunished. (Exodus 20:7).

        Osama bin Laden’s grievance and casus belli was based on the false and blasphemous proposition that Islamic law is an immutable, compulsory system that:

        (a) Islamic law is an immutable, compulsory system that Muslims are obliged to install and the world required to adopt, the failure to do so being a damnable offence against Allah;

        (b) All nations who will not do so are sinners, and it is the right and duty of the Muslims to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and every Muslim who should be slain in battle is sure to go to Paradise.

        As a Sunni Muslim, Osama bin Laden professed that the Qur’an is the uncreated word of God, kept at the side of Allah in heaven on a Preserved Tablet. By definition a tablet is a thing made of matter and existing in dimensions. To profess that a mere material thing shares uncreated existence with God is idolatry of the most egregious kind.

        • Tim

          “And we do know that the killing of Osama bin Laden was God’s punishment because we know that the Christian religion is true and that deviations from it, including Islam, are false and displeasing to Him.”

          Er, except Osama wasn’t killed by God for not being a Christian (and we know God doesn’t behiave like that anyway and kill people just for being Muslims or there would be piles of bodies all over the world). He was killed by Navy Seals as punishment for being a terrorist.

          “The Christian martyrs forgave their murderers because their murderers were to go on living for a time. So the possibility of repentance, and of forgiveness on the part of God, was possible for them.”

          Surely the possibility of repentance and forgiveness if always there (who knows what Osama thought in the last seconds of his life??). In the bad old days of the NI troubles I seem to recall hearing a Catholic Priest defending his actions in burying a member of the IRA who was a murderer and sinner on the grounds that it could not be ruled out that this IRA man had been repentant the second before he was gunned down by the British army.

          Your arguments are close to saying that the death of a sinner doesn’t matter and since you categorise all non-Christians as sinners then…. well you can see the line of reasoning. Not very pleasant and not very different to the reasoning employe dby fanatical muslims to justify “death to the kafir”. You must not dehumanise people like this. It is the kind of logic used by facist regimes the world over

          • Michael Petek

            There are many non-Christians who are in invincible ignorance of the true religion and who enjoy the forgiveness of sins because they have truly repented of their sins to the extent their conscience adverts them to them.

            This does not change the fact that the Christian religion is true and that error from it is objectively sinful. The usual purpose of divine punishment is to bring sinners to repentance. Sometimes God punishes people for doing harm to the order He has established, whether or not they are subjectively guilty in their consciences.

            God punishes reluctantly and when He has no other choice, but when He does so He does it with justice. And yes, He can and does punish people just for being Muslims, because their religious profession is in itself offensive to Him.

            Cardinal Faulhaber warned the German people in his Advent sermons of 1933 – the year Hitler came to power – that God always punishes those who torment His chosen people the Jews. It isn’t rocket science to figure out that He will also punish those who murder Christians at worship and violate the Blessed Sacrament as they do so.

            Osama bin Laden held command authority over the men – if they deserve to be called men – who slaughtered 58 Christians last October in Baghdad, and over those who killed Christians on New Year’s Eve in Alexandria.

            Osama bin Laden was a terrorist of a different order to any who belonged to the IRA. The members of the IRA had a Christian upbringing and the benefit of Christian baptism and the ministry of the Church.

            Osama’s sins were vastly worse than theirs and less conducive to final repentance. He hated Christians and affirmed that the Jews are the descendants of apes and pigs. Unlike the IRA, who waged a political war, he called God to witness that Muslims must wage holy war against infidels for the establishment of his false religion.

            He was also an idolater, because he affirmed as a Sunni Muslim that the Qur’an is the uncreated word of God, though self-evidently it is but a creature. Every Muslim child is taught from the day he is born that the sin of shirk is so heinous that Allah will never forgive it. This is the sin of “associationism” – ascribing to a creature a characteristic reserved to God alone.

          • Tim

            “God punishes reluctantly and when He has no other choice”

            But faced with a muslim God does have a choice – punish him or give him a revelation which will make him a Christian.

  • fd

    Reverend Nick is absolutely right!
    The Avvenire newspaper has also said that “NO ONE should be rejoycing for anybody’s death, whatever they might have done in life. It would confirm and reiterate the logic of evil”. Avvenire has also criticized the latest obsession of most media, in this case hunting gruesome details about his death”
    Rev Nick : you quoted Il Messaggero. I’m sure il Messaggero quoted the Cardinal in good faith. It’s just that Italian newspaper tend to feature opinions of the clergy in their pages (a lot more than English papers do).Il Messaggero (which is the most popular daily in Rome) generally gives a very good coverage of the Church and it’s very respectful of the Church. Some secularists look down on it because they say it’s “pro-catholic”.

  • louella

    I think we are all being a little bit prissy. Who is to say that people are rejoicing over Osama’s death?! Maybe had Osama been merely captured they would still be rejoicing. And remember if these people are rejoicing over Osama’s death….it is because they know no better and are pagan.

    I find it a little hard to stomach when those who rejoice over legalised abortion start to tut tut and lecture those who (presumably) rejoice over Osama’s death ie Guardianastas etc! Sounds fishy to me.

    • Tim

      “Who is to say that people are rejoicing over Osama’s death?! ” That is what the TV pictures are showing is it not?

      “Maybe had Osama been merely captured they would still be rejoicing.” yes and calling for him to be executed no doubt which is no better.

      Are you rejoicing over Osama’s death, cos I sure ain’t. Even if it was a neccessary evil (and it may well have been) it was still an evil.

      • louella

        Don’t judge a people on something they might commit….but haven’t acutally committed ie you cannot say for certain that they would have called for his execution. Stop condeming people in this manner.

        I’m not rejoicing over Osama’s death….but I’m not shedding any tears either. Life is continuing on as before for me….I’m heartless like that.

      • Michael Petek

        The killing of Osama bin Laden wasn’t evil except in so far as he was responsible for his own death. It was a lawful killing and therefore not a sin in the soldier who shot him.

    • Gerry

      Loella

      Do you know for certain that the ‘happy’ people in the USA weren’t catholics?

      I can’t imagine that anyone ‘rejoices’ in an abortion, least of all Guardian readers. Are you from the UK?

      • louella

        I didn’t say anyone rejoiced in an abortion…..I said they rejoice in legalised abortion… at the Guardian newspaper. If I’m wrong….then show me.

  • will

    I’m so glad I found this. When I heard that Osama was dead something inside just said “God forgive him”. I prayed for God to judge him by Christ’s merits, not his own.

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