Thursday, May 5, 2011

On the NCR and bin Laden.

I'm not quite certain how they manage to do it on such a consistent basis, but as usual, the National Catholic Reporter has posted an article that absolutely goes against the way I view things.

With the article -Bin Laden Is Killed!- writer Michael Sean Winters wants us to know that "the fact of this evil man’s demise is cause to raise a glass no matter the circumstances, but truly evil men should not be allowed to die in their beds" and should be cause for celebration.

Winter writes, "I do not normally take delight in the death of a fellow human being. Nor do I support the death penalty. But, if there was one man on the planet whom it was important to kill, not to just let die, it was Osama bin Laden."

Sorry, Mr. Winter, that clearly is not Catholic teaching concerning the death penalty. You cannot celebrate the death of Bin Laden on the one hand then claim you are against the death penalty and do not delight in the death of a fellow human being on the other.

The reasoning behind the Church's teaching on capital punishment apply equally to those with whom we sympathize as well as with those whose crime we find especially heinous.

I've had this argument before.....the Church's argument against the death penalty hold for even obviously evil folks like Ted Bundy and Timothy Mcveigh. Osama bin Laden is no different simply because he is believed to have been responsible for the death of 3000 Americans. Like many of the Church's teachings, the teaching on capital punishment isn't always easy. The desire for revenge is ever present in the human heart.

Admitting "vengeance is not a healthy emotion, I know. Assassination is against the law, to be sure", Winter writes that it is "better to indulge [in sin] and go to confession". As one person committing on Winter's piece pointed out, George Tiller was responsible for more deaths than Osama, yet even Winter did not support Tiller's murder.

We've heard conflicting reports as to whether or not Bin Laden was armed with a weapon when he was killed. We've been told by White House press secretary Jay Carney that being unarmed doesn't mean Bin Laden did not put up resistance. Carney did not elaborate on this and I'm not sure what he means; I'm sure we'll never know exactly what transpired.

I realize that there are certain circumstances under which it would have been permissible to kill Osama bin Laden while still following Catholic teaching. Killing him as an act of revenge or because his death makes "things" more convenient doesn't cut it.

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