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By Fr. Andy Davy, MIC (May 4, 2011)
In light of the recent news of the death of Osama bin Laden, I think it would be worthwhile speaking about the appropriate Catholic response to such a death.

I was saddened to hear that the front page headline of the New York Daily News stated: "ROT IN HELL" when referring to Osama bin Laden. It is true that this man committed grave atrocities against his fellow men, and that in matters of war and counterterrorism it is sometimes necessary to kill an enemy in order to save lives and to promote the common welfare of all peoples. But we should never wish anyone to "Rot in Hell" or to rejoice in that man's death. Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., in an official statement from the Vatican, stated:

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.

It is significant to note that Osama's death occurred on Divine Mercy Sunday. It is in the message of Divine Mercy that our Lord said to St. Faustina "the greater the sinner, the greater the right that he has to My mercy" (Diary of St. Faustina, 723). We are now given a perfect test to see if we are really living the message of The Divine Mercy. Will we commend even a man as hated as Osama bin Laden to the mercy of God and pray for his soul? Mercy is the only way true peace can reign.

Let us pray that the event of Osama bin Laden's death might not be a moment to satisfy the thirst for revenge, but rather an occasion for all people to promote the "growth of peace and not of hatred."

As Jesus told St. Faustina, "Mankind will not have peace, until it turns with trust to My mercy" (Diary, 300).

Father Andy Davy, MIC, serves at St. Mary's Parish in Plano, Illinois.

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Kim - May 6, 2011

I am pleased to see a true Catholic response to the death of Osama bin Laden. May God help us all to truly live the Message of Divine Mercy. It was said best in the words - "Mercy is the only way true peace can reign."

Michael - May 6, 2011

This is a perfect teaching lesson on the heart of Divine Mercy; no one is beyond God's mercy and the greater the sinner, the greater the right to His mercy. As hard as it is to believe in some cases, this is what it means. Even a person like Bin Laden is not beyond God's mercy. It is something to rejoice in; we are never beyond His mercy. No matter how despairing we feel.

Mary - May 6, 2011

Thank you for this article and for sharing the Vatican's response. I was looking for direction in this matter. God bless and may peace be the goal of all nations.

John - May 6, 2011

Amen !

Ruth Judith Goldberg Ives - May 6, 2011

I believe that racial hatred was in fact a deeply felt motive for the
taking of this life. The rejoicing and dancing around waving the American flag was, in my humble opinion, a misuse of the American flag. None should think that this was right, thought these men were doing a job and following orders. People should not be allowed to think that they have the arbitrary and capricious right to go out and kill anyone or use violence toward others.
This is the message that has gotten missed in all of the hoop-la and head-banging. This was an act of "home invasion" and "gang banging" if you look at it from a certain point of view. None of us would want heavily armed masked men to land a helicopter in our front yard, break into our home and blow away the head of household. From a certain perspective, if this can happen somewhere, it can happen anywhere, and so no one is safe. The media has had a feeding frenzy, that is shameful, and disgraceful, and the stories just get more strange and incoherent every day that goes by. I am sad because the man looked like one of the Three Wise Men that we see at Christmas time who came from the east following the star to Bethelem to see the newborn babe in the manger. Christ if anything means Peace On Earth.

I don't see any good in this situation at all. I am sorry but I just cannot rejoice at the destruction of a human life, even a man who is deemed to be bad. Not one sparrow falls to the ground but God notices it. And the eye of the Lord runs two and frow in the earth beloding the good and the evil. I believe that God saw what happened. Do I think for one minute that God was pleased. NO. I certainly, absolutely do not think that God was pleased. I am sad about this problem, because the world will be tense now, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for the next act of vengence, and reprisal, waiting for the next hate-fest. It's positively sickening. Racial hatred is sickening and disgusting and deplorable and depraved on both sides of these disputes and surely that is what really motivated the deranged acts of violence that have been going on in the orient.

Lee - May 6, 2011

The minute I heard about the death of Osama Bin Laden - the words "Lord, have mercy on his soul" - flew out of my mouth. I have remembered to pray for his soul - thank you Father, Son and Holy Spirit for teaching me your mercy.

servus de amor - May 6, 2011

God is Sweet, and He lives in the inmost interior of our soul. If we have any bitterness against any one of His beloved children we are tearing our inner being monstrously, grievously separating ourselves Him. According to Saint Fustina: "...only those are damned who wants it, for God condemns no one." And according to our Most Sweet Father in www.directionforourtimes.org : "...all that is necessary to enter heaven is for a soul to acknowledge Him as God." Jesus' first prayer in Gethsemane was for Judas Iscariot: "O Father, O Entirety of My Substance, please mitigate Judas' punishment." According to our Most Merciful Savior and Lover of human salvation, He was fooling Himself that He can save Judas, but Judas chose hell and became Satan incarnate. When the other apostles asked our Most Sweet Mother what will happen to Judas after she told Judas to return to Jesus for He is quick to forgive, she admonish the apostles not to mention His name anymore for He has committed suicide in despair. We should be willing to atone with our Savior for all souls regardless of person especially for our enemies. God's perfection consists in and leads to His Boundless Merciful, Eternal Love. There won't be Peace in the world until all hearts are united to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary for works of Love are works of Peace. You can go to www.directionforourtimes.org and read the messages from heaven for our times. Jesus: "...the time of darkness ends now." Our Father wants all His faithful children to be Eucharistic Adorers of Divine Mercy and Apostles of Jesus Christ The Returning King to prepare the world for the victorious "Time Of Obedience": heaven's expansion on earth where God has dominion over His Holy, Loving Family on earth as it is in heaven. Please visit www.directionforourtime.org and read the Volume 1 to 10, Heaven Speaks Booklets and Jesus' monthly messages to His Lay Apostles of Jesus The Returning King which is the missing spiritual path for Lay Catholics that God has reserved for the Final Victory of God's Boundless Love over Satan's hatred for God and all His wisely sought,infinitely loved and beloved children redeemed at a very costly price with The Blood of The Lamb of God.

deb s - May 6, 2011

Thank you Fr. Andy,
we need the guidance, and call to prayer.
In our prayers, and prayerful attitude, may the world see our response of this death, as one of Mercy. May the world see that we place our hope in the promise and knowledge that the Lord in his great mercy extends his loving healing rays to everyone, and , we pray that he will even ever so slightly turn his head and acknowledge the Love and Mercy that is the Lord. In our prayers, we will be vessels of mercy to the world, which desperately needs prayer. It is only in turning with trust to the Merciful Lord, that we will know peace.

servus de amor - May 6, 2011

From our Father's perspective we are all His wisely sought and infinitely loved children redeemed by the Blood of His Son. Our Father wants all of us to help one another grow in holiness as we prepare everyone for our eternal destiny in heaven. But the bauble of materialism has cause all the divisions and barriers we have created between us and God and among His children. He gazes at one side of the world and finds the unloved poorest of the poor. On one side are the more powerful affluent children that promotes economic injustice and one side are angry at this economic injustice perpetuaded by an unjust economic system. Unknowingly, all this divisions among God's children are caused by the enemies of our salvation. We should see reality from our Father's perspective who created everything for all God's children, but He created us for Him to be His loving children looking out for each other and our Father's interest of restoring all His children in His Merciful, Eternal Love. Our Father is Good and all His creation is Good. But sin and malice changed all that and prevented man to nourish his soul with the Love of God. Only the intensity of Jesus' Love in His redemptive suffering can persuade mankind to choose Divine Love, the Joyful Light of being for others instead of the prevailing darkness of being for itself. But Love is stronger than hate and God will be victorious, and Jesus, the Lamb of God, shows His Love for our Father by affirming Him... O Father, your children washed in My Blood are good! Long live Jesus, The Divine Paradise!

servus de amor - May 6, 2011

Contemplate this consoling thought: Our Father's Joy is to pour Himself out to all His children redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb! So hope that all God's redeemed children can be saved with our heartfelt prayers and willing atoning sacrifices united with Jesus' Redemptive Suffering.

listener - May 7, 2011

see Diary of Sr. Faustina paragraphs 1182, 1397, 1588, 1698.

RJ - May 7, 2011

I agree that some responses to this taking of a human life have been grossly inappropriate, but what seems to be missing in all these beautiful descriptions of the Message of Divine Mercy is the need to repent. I doubt UBL demonstrated repentance for his sins even in his final moments and thus doubt any of us will be seeing UBL in Heaven when we get there.

Yes, God is all merciful and loving of all souls, but to get to Heaven a soul must repent!

Repentance is in the Message of Divine Mercy and needs to be stated in this conversation - IMO.
Forever in Christ, rj

I trust in Jesus promise of Divine Mercy and pray for all souls, especially the souls in purgatory - all of them.

+JuT ! - May 7, 2011

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again ? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men". Our Lord tells us in Matthew. 5:13 How can we rejoice in the death of a man when we all are destined to dust? "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you". says the Lord in Matthew 7:1-2. So it is wise to keep away from the subject leaving it to the Lord while reflecting the awesome fact that when the body of a blessed man is exhumed for veneration, the body of a wicked man is dumped to the depths of the Ocean, on the very same Divine Mercy Sunday which will go down into the history books of mankind.

Patty - May 7, 2011

I have prayed for Osama Bin Laden in the past, that the Lord would have mercy on him and bless him with a conversion. I still pray for him but always try to pray for these people before it is too late for them to ask for God's mercy.

Rich - May 8, 2011

Fr. Andy,

You are spot on! As we say in the Our Father, "...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us..."

God Bless

obligatus, humilis servus de amor - May 8, 2011

St. Faustina: "O Lord, pour Your Strength of Spirit and Love towards those from whom Your Suffering comes...at the last moment of our life we will all receive a trmendous grace whereby God ask as if we want to be with Him." All that is required is to acknowledge God's Goodness and a simple God forgive me, I trust in Your Inexhaustible Mercy. We should all be willing to accompany and comfort our Most Sweet Mother and our Most Sweet Jesus in the depths of their abandonment on Holy Saturday praying and atoning for all sinners for their conversion even at the last moment of their lives to be "last moment saints"... though our knowledge and love for God at this last moment of our life will be our knowledge and love for God for eternity... the difference between all those who are saved is in the capaciousness of their hearts... Our Most Holy Mother is full of grace for her Immaculate Heart is an infinitely capacious reservoir of the Infinite, Merciful, Eternal Love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. She is without original sin because of her LIMITLESS Yes to the Triune God. We are saved because of God's Infinite Goodness for our transformation in Christ is all the Triune God's creative loving action in the inmost interior of our soul. All that is needed is to Trust and Love God: handing ourselves over to God, abandoning ourselves to Him.

The more we love God the more we know Him, and the more we know Him the more we love Him, and this process of growth on holiness starts now. Please go to www.directionforourtimes.org where our loving family in heaven wants to help us now in working out our salvation and growth in holiness. This is the missing spiritual path for us mediocre lay Catholic followers of Christ which God has reserved in His Infinite Wisdom in carrying out our Father's Infinetely Wise, Good and Loving Plan of Salvation.
God is calling all His faithful children to bring about this Renewal of the Catholic Church through Eucharistic Adoration of Divine Mercy and as Lay Apostles of Jesus Christ The Returning King to usher in the victorious "Time of Obedience" where mankind's chief preoccupation is the Eucharistic Adoration of Divine Mercy and we help each other grow in holiness as God prepares us for our eternal destiny in heaven, in the Heart of God. God wants to have dominion over all His children on earth as it is in heaven. God created everything for us, but He created us for Him.

We should always hope and in imitation of Jesus relation with Judas fool ourselves that all can be save. Only Jesus, Mary and the Catholic Church is predestined. Judas was not predestined. He chose hell because he will not be comfortable in heaven... he loved evil and his soul was malnourished and deficient of the Love of God which is the oxygen of our hearts and the life of our soul. Sin is a spiritual cancer more painful than physical pain which makes us blind to the Love of God. The lack of TRUST in God leads to fear of not being love which makes us wounded and bitter. Woe to the blind man that refuses to open their hearts hardened by sin. But we whould unite ourselves with Jesus and Mary praying and atoning for ALL SINNERS on Holy Saturday, comforting them at the depths of their abandonement, Crucified Love forsaken for all our grievous sins. We let ourselves be loved by inviting God to forgive and atone in our contrite hearts as reparation for all our sins. "Confess unto the Lord, for He is Gracious and His Mercy endures forever." (Psalm 129:8) We should always contemplate Jesus' response to hatred which is His Atoning, Sweet Love which is stronger than hatred and bitterness. Jesus persuades us with the intensity of His Love on the Cross to choose God's Boundless Love for all His forlorn children. We should ask God to make us sweeter than sugar and honey to attract souls to God by pouring honey instead of vinegar on their wounded hearts. Works of Love are works of Peace. In consternation we are blind to our need to be forgiven because of our failure to love our enemies and those victims of our failure to love everyone with God's God's Boundless Love for ALL His children. We should persevere in faith and hope until God is All in all, and when the Glory of Christ's Light burst forth out of the the prevailing darkness that consumes the world where everyone sees His Humble, Joyful Light, then His Merciful Love will be in everyone's grateful heart. God bless everyone, and God speed!

Janet Baker - May 8, 2011

Ruth Ives, I don't believe this was an act of vengeance. There is a war going on, one that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda started almost 10 years ago. Moreover, there was reason to believe that a "10-year-anniversary event" was in the works.

He had to be apprehended. That was the intent; the SEALS were prepared to take him alive, although they knew they might have no choice but to kill him. The ultimate responsibility for Bin Laden's death was his alone.

I make these points because your remarks about "home invasion" and "gang banging" are defamatory to those who risked life and limb to apprehend Bin Laden; their primary intent was NOT to kill.

For the record, I too am disquieted to see so many Christians gloating at his death. Read Ezekiel 33:11. While I am glad that Bin Laden was apprehended, I do not take pleasure in his death.

Donna L - May 9, 2011

I TOO was horrified by that NY Daily News headline, as well as the cheering crowds in Times Square, at Ground Zero and elsewhere. I could not rejoice in anyone's death, no matter how grave the sinner they were. I trust in Jesus, Our Lord and in His unfathomable Divine Mercy. Thank you for this article

Ezekial Jarain, St George Parish, Wahlang. - May 10, 2011

Like most guys with a wrong sense of justice,I did feel that Mr.OBL deserved nothing short of such a tragic end.But after reading this thought-provoking article I realized that my thoughts were so un-Christian. THANKS SO MUCH Father for the enlightenment.

Marge - May 10, 2011

At the moment I heard of his death, I felt relief and a sense of accomplishment for our dedicated servicemen. But then came concern for the salvation of his soul. The next day I realized that he was killed on Divine Mercy Sunday and that gave me a sense of hope for his soul.

Alan - May 11, 2011

I was troubled at mass when asked to pray for bin Laden. This article helps me be less troubled.

RJ - May 11, 2011

Janet Baker - May 8, 2011
Thank you, Janet, for saying what needed to be said as a reply to an inaccurate exaggeration of the inappropriate response by some to UBL's death. I did not lose a family member or friend on 9/11 and will not judge others who have and subsequently inappropriately react due to their pain. When we are told not to judge others, that means EVERYONE.

Elizabeth - May 12, 2011

Thank you for this article. Sadly I have to admit, there was a sense of relief when I heard of this man's death, but I still would not wish him to go to hell. Instead, I would want him, like any sinner, including myself when it's my time, to see the face of God, and feel only true contrition and repentence for what I've done wrong, and not experience eternal separation from God.