Vatican spokesman on killing of Osama bin Laden

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican said the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, a man who sowed division and hatred and who caused “innumerable” deaths, should prompt serious reflection about one’s responsibility before God.

A Christian “never rejoices” in the face of a man’s death, the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said in a brief statement this morning. Here is an English translation of his statement:

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.

40 Responses

  1. I rejoice that God gave our troops the ability to find and kill this devil.The king of the dogs is dead. I think we should hang his dead body on a pole at ground zero, point a webcam at him and let the buzzards pick his bones as the world watches. Maybe then the Islamic terrorist will understand we mean business.

  2. Too late, James. He was ‘buried at sea’ – ‘today’.

  3. Dear James…
    That’s disgusting. Remember
    But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

  4. Without loosing respect to those who died because of his action in manipulating religions, let him being judged by our great Lord. God never sleeps…and it’s all our responsibility now to spread the peace &respect to others without hatred for creating a tomorrow’s better world.

  5. I thank God that none of our soldiers died in this action and I pray that there will be an end to fighting & conflicts in the world. I also think it is interesting that on Divine Mercy Sunday Pope John Paul II was beatified & Osama bin Laden was found.

  6. The Vatican’s statement will not jibe with many Americans, but I believe it is right. The Bible says: “As I live, says the Lord GOD, I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man’s conversion, that he may live” (Ezek. 33:11). We should be glad that, as a direct result of his death, global terrorism will be set back (how much no one knows for sure) and global peace will be advanced. But, in accordance with the teaching of Jesus Christ (“You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” [Matt. 5:43-44]) we should not rejoice at his death per se. Nor can we assume that his soul is in hell (though that wouldn’t be surprising), since God alone is Judge.

  7. I am sighing because so much has happened since 911. I do think we need to pray for this country and the fact that someone else is up to something.

    We need to pray the Rosary for the next nine days. More stuff is about to “go down” and HAPPEN.

  8. Every person is a child of God, even the most horrible criminals. We should rather be praying for our enemies rather than rejoicing in their death. Bin Laden used religion as an excuse to kill others: we should not be tempted to do the same.

  9. We were not “rejoicing”. Joy would come from something like a Bin Laden conversion or penance. We were “celebrating” a military victory, which was right & proper.

  10. Osama dumped at sea and no photos of his body???

    Vatican makes a good point about his death, but you don’t have to be Christian to think that celebrating death is wrong. Is justice really served by an execution with no trial?

  11. What has happened to this country? It seems Americans have become really vindictive, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. This is what Jesus tried to change when he said: “love your enemy”. Even Bin Laden was a child of God and it is not right to kill him. We would have done better to capture him and to hand him over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague and try him there. When God gave us the commandment: “Thou shalt not kill”, he meant it – always and everywhere. Let’s pray for Bin Laden’s soul.

  12. Linden, from my understanding, the Navy SEALS on the ground executing the operation had no choice but to kill him, as he resisted, most likely with armed weapons.

    The rest of you, mass celebration is dangerous, it’s when we let our guard down the most. A good example is a Hydra, you chop off one head, 10 more grow back. In this case, I can potentially see more attacks coming, even doubling up from what they were. It’s just the way the culture works, one family kills another family’s member, the family that had the person killed retaliates, and it just causes more and more bloodshed until eventually you’re all dead.

    Now, that being said, I am a believer of Christ, but am not Catholic, (good works don’t get you saved btw, and I’ll be willing to debate that with anyone), and I don’t believe we should celebrate that he is dead, due to the fact that we are instructed not to kill, but we are instructed to defend our homeland. I do believe that the military victory, albeit small, is worth celebrating a small amount.

  13. I feel sadness. Bin Laden was never tried in a court of law. He was pronounced guilty right after 9/11. I thought Americans believed in “innocent until proven guilty.”

    By killing him, we have acted out of vengeance. The Bible reads, “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.” Human beings are not supposed to take vengeance into their own hands.
    “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” As Catholics we are encouraged to protect all life.

  14. I hear the guidance, but it feels scolding, rather than instructive.

    Far better would have been a reflection on the evil he had done, the moral imperative of just war, then a brief reminder of our Lord’s call to “love your enemies and pray for those who abuse you” as the appropriate Christian response to this news.

    Please honor our struggle to balance the requirements of our faith with the understandable human response of joy and relief.

  15. I totally agree with the Vatican. Looking at this from a spiritual perspective (the most important way), Osama Bin Laden’s death may be nothing to rejoice about (or celebrate, or be happy about, etc…). If he wasn’t prepared for death and was in a state of mortal sin, he’s forever damned. Of course, God’s mercy is infinite, but God is also just. I just can’t bring myself to celebrate the potential eternal damnation of even a single soul, no matter how wicked. As others have pointed out above, God doesn’t will this, either.

    Micah, I am also a believer/in and follower of Christ, but I am Catholic. I would love to talk with you about the dynamics between faith and works. Really, the Church’s stance is that faith justifies but, in addition, if you have faith you will certainly and inevitably perform good works. After all, we are Christians because we strive to like our Savior in all things, right?

  16. @ Micah…before you insight a debate, you may want to do some research. As a Catholic, I can tell you that we believe we are saved by grace…not good works. You have believed one of the many misconceptions of the Catholic faith.

  17. I am open minded about God, I believe there are higher beings that exist, but I wouldn’t necessary say that there is one God. I do however fully respect other people’s religion.

    I think religion can be good in many respects and can help people to love each-other, but it’s all wrong when strong religious belief is associated with war and killing around the world. I believe that killing is totally and utterly wrong no matter what the situation, I am also against all armed forces and I consider them to be evil as their main purpose is to kill and to use force. Assuming Bin Laden was killed recently (it’s debatable whether he died years ago) I think it’s extremely wrong that millions of people are celebrating the death of a human being. What about though shalt not kill and many people celebrating call themselves Christians? Even if he was behind the 9/11 attack (again this is debatable), what happened to unquestionable forgiveness as written in The Bible and most other holy books? What has the human race become?

    There’s now bound to be at least one shocking attack to respond to this alleged killing of Bin Laden which will cause more killing, it’s all evil, but who really carry outs this attack will be debatable. Most people will automatically believe the media without question, the media is too powerful and manipulative, who really knows the truth? I’m open minded about the real truth, but I won’t automatically believe the media and what the leaders tell us on face value either. I am also saddened to hear about people celebrating the death of any human being no matter who they are.

  18. 2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

    I will reflect in my heart at this time on God’s goodness, and rejoice that a powerful instrument of evil terror, no longer serves to bear fruit for satan on this plain of existence. It is indeed a teaching moment that there are times when the ultimate scourge of death is required to stop an individual for continuing to be an inspiration for murdering countless lives. OBL was an enemy to the world’s people, and corrupted the thoughts of many young ones. [Luke 17]
    {17:1} And he said to his disciples: “It is impossible for scandals not to occur. But woe to him through whom they come!
    {17:2} It would be better for him if a millstone were placed around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than to lead astray one of these little ones.

  19. Micah,

    I am a Catholic, and one who is studying for the priesthood. Let’s dialogue. We may well serve each other on the reality of Justification. Under no pretense will I wish to argue with you. I’m just interested in what you have to say. Feel Free brother. Let’s talk about our Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for us.

  20. Osama bin Laden died on the Feast of Divine Mercy. While we rejoice that he can no longer kill innocents, let us imitate Our Lord’s mercy and pray for the repose of the soul of Osama bin Laden.

  21. As we are not supposed to be primarily concerned about the things of this world, I think this is the correct response. We are not supposed to be vengeful and are called to love our enemies. However, there is also a responsibility to protect the public (Legitimate defense, http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm)

  22. If the Gospels and Christian tradition have taught us anything, the path of Christ is the most arduous and difficult one that we must traverse. Our immediate response to the death of Osama bin Laden may be fueled by our desire to see justice done. We cannot forget, however, that ultimate judgment resides with God alone. It disturbs me to a great degree that the prevailing attitude which has been made most evident via the media seemingly embraces the notion that our sense of justice is God’s sense of justice. Never assume God automatically signs off on your understanding of justice because circumstances are “different.”

    The death of bin Laden leads me to reflect upon Jesus Christ’s constant call to forgiveness. We cannot permit exceptions, even though we very often do, or we risk mutating the Gospels into merely selections of good advice. To those who pray for Osama bin Laden—indeed, for any and all our enemies with earnest—then you are making a commitment to the timeless teachings of Christ. Ultimate closure comes not through death but, as we have received from Christ, total embrace of God’s grace. Let us never accept death as a substitute, however tempting it may be.

    If agitation drives your response toward the news of Osama bin Laden’s death, then it is a subtle signal to refocus your spirit and mind. This is without a doubt a difficult task. Seek not, however, to celebrate the death of a person, but instead to convert that energy into compassion. To be compassionate is to recall that we are all reliant on God’s mercy.

  23. Belief in Christ does not save, following Him does. Jesus spoke of good works even telling those who did not belief in Him to believe in the works that He performed so as to come to the understanding that He is who He says he is.
    All the devils in hell and those who have the misfortune to accompany them in the lake of fire believe in Jesus Christ; they just have no love for Him.
    Extra ecclesiam (catholicam) nulla salus.

  24. Have you forgotten? That this man came to our country, admitted he was behind the attacks on 9/11. Now, we are wanting to have mercy on his soul? We all fall short of the Glory and we are human. So let God be the judge not us. My opinion is, it is sad that we lost all this time looking for him. It is sad that people think we should not be glad about his death. He didnt need a trial because he knew he was guilty. May God have His Wrath.

  25. I could understand why almost all of the comments on the death of Osama were premised on Bible passages–the tabloid and its readers are Catholic or Christians. “LOve your enemy”, “Vindictiveness” Vengeance is with HIM” and other sorts but hey, why are our voices louder now that Osama is dead than when he was alive. Why didn’t we emphasize before the killing of Osama that his death shouldn’t be rejoiced but reflected on instead. What if the “rejoicing” is not on his death but on the military victory. Besides, it’s a question of perception.. isn’t it?

  26. I like Micheal said about 7 comments down ;;

    I think that is the most Christ like :)

  27. What kind of gun would Jesus use? “Peter, do go kill that Roman for me.”

  28. The command to love your enemies has to be balanced with the commands to pursue justice and to rescue those who are being led to slaughter. Without that balance, we become passive in the face of evil. This kind of passivity toward evil on the part of German Catholics and other Christians contributed to the Holocaust.

  29. Micah, Shane, Daniel, I would love 2 hear your insights :-) feel free 2 include me in your emails.

  30. I believe that, as children of God, we must continue to be open-minded and pray for peace and an end to all violence.

  31. We thank God for the response from the vatican, thats what we always believe as Christians that judgement belongs to the Almighty and Infinite Father, the Lord Jehovah, but still more i would also agree and support the celebrations that are taking place around the world. We are talking of a man who did not want to surrender and prove himself innocent before the courts of law. He has been hiding and killing many people through his devilish networking. However, Americans couldn’t do otherwise but to kill him if he resisted thats the only final judgement that the world can provide. We have to celebrate for his demise, its a relief, we are fully humans and subject to weaknesses and failures, we are emotionally moved. We can laugh and cry, thats our present nature. He caused trouble and now is gone, why not rejoicing. “LETS CELEBRATE TEMPORARILY AND THEREAFTER PRAY FOR GOD’S MERCY”

  32. Matthews 15:13 (Every plant that my Father did not plant shall be uprooted). These plants of Osamalism were not planted by God and we have every reason to rejoice that they are removed.

  33. what a bunch of sick bleeding hearts we have here.binladen is dead and it definitely is time to celebrate!i am a believer in an eye for an eye.i was raised catholic but have long abandoned an authoritarian ,dictatorial and repressive institution.i have better things to do with my time than go to mass on sundays and listen to fire and brimestone …!cheers!

  34. That Vatican should also address that it is a good and Godly thing to have a mass murderer put to death by whatever means.

    It isn’t about hate but about punishing those who chose to murder innocent people.

  35. I would have captured bin Laden alive, brought him to trial at GROUND ZERO, and, after conviction, put him in solitary confinement, with nothing to eat but bread and water, until he died . . . . then I would have shipped him back to Saudi Arabia . . . . let justice be served while here on earth . . . . and then let God deal with him

    rmk/akron

  36. Quite a few comments suggest that because he killed many people he should be killed, too. Shall we also kill all those who kill infants in the womb?? Shall we celebrate the deaths of all the women who have murdered their infants??? I would suggest that perhaps Osama was correct that we are infidels in the USA who believe we have a right to kill infants in the womb. We have actually made a law allowing one segment of our society to be given a license to kill. How are we any different or better than Osama???

  37. Were no different or better than Osama, I agree Cathy. We just have more hired guns.

  38. any man who lives like his creator commands; saying that we should never went to war with one man we’ve known were he was many times. In Pakistan. We had Americans killed on the border of Afghan Pakistan, died due to rebels shooting and fleeing into Pakistan. we knew we choose not to. now we choose to for political gain. He killed lets say 4,000 innocent Americans we killed another 300,000+ to seek revenge to kill one man.

    So ultimately we must ask our selves was it something to celebrate. Well do we want to continue to feed the idea we are a police state feeding off tax money from our citizens, and a military bully, stealing from nation to nation then feed them help them rebuild and then put them in debt to us.

    we are trading humanity and our moral direction for patriotism and popularity fame and lustful things. The fact that we (Presidential staff) are taunting the media with knowlege of bin ladens dead pictures disgust me also. And if the president is commiting war crimes by sending a troop in another country to kill a man, then a the victimless crimes that people are in jail for shouldn’t be. Because now america will forever be tainted with dirty blood on our hands.

    Are you not a decent man, do i not get a trial before the people.

  39. I’ve heard this several times, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” It makes me happy that there is some justice because of this, but it’s sad that now bin Laden has to face God Almighty with mass murder on his immortal soul.

  40. I feel pulled between organized religion and the values I share with the church. The church means well but no one is pure of heart today in Catholicism its. We teach the young that god will forgive us of anything. We try so hard to show the world that we are model Christians, to the point that we lose are self, that special uniqueness that makes us who we are. We began judging people which is something sown into us

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