The Catholic News Service has reported that the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, has released the following statement on the occasion of the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden:
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.
May we live these words and take them to heart. So many people, including very dedicated religious men and women, are allowing themselves to be swept up by the fervor of the ostensible catharsis in the killing of Osama Bin Laden. I agree with Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, “I am glad he has left the world. And I pray that his departure may lead to peace.” Yet, both he and I also agree in his closing words, echoing the words of the Vatican today: “But as a Christian, I am asked to pray for him and, at some point, to forgive him. And that command comes to us from Jesus, a man who was beaten, tortured and killed. That command comes from a man who knows a great deal about suffering. That command also comes from God.”
It is not easy. But we must constantly recall our vocation as those Baptized into the Body of Christ and not lose sight of what it means to be human beings created in the Image and Likeness of God.