Osama bin Laden

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Hello! I am increasingly troubled by the scenes of triumph and jubilation that are marking the death of Osama Bin Laden. When did the murder of a fellow human being become a cause of celebration? Am I alone in this? Kind regards, Tee

You are not alone. The death of a human being, no matter whom, is certainly no cause for celebration and public displays of rejoicing. I found the entire spectacle altogether rather distasteful. Better we do not stoop to the level of those of whom we disapprove. Better there be quiet dignity maintained with renewed prayers for all who have died as a consequence of these troubled and unsettling conflicts.

Christians should never rejoice at the death of a man. I find myself totally in agreement with Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi who said exactly the same following the death of Osama bin Laden.

The world’s most wanted man was killed by US forces at a compound in Abbottabad, north-west Pakistan, following a tip-off dating back to last August. In a special press conference in Washington, President Obama announced that the Saudi-born fugitive, responsible for the September 11th attacks on the United States which killed three thousand people, was dead. “Justice has been done,” the US president proclaimed.

Fr Federico Lombardi, however, in an official statement from Rome said that we should not rejoice at the death of a human being, stating:

“Osama bin Laden – as we all know – was gravely responsible for promoting division and hatred between peoples, causing the end of countless innocent lives, and of exploiting religions to this end. Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of each and every one of us before God and before man, and hopes and commits himself so that no event be an opportunity for further growth of hatred, but for peace.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news of Osama bin Laden's death, saying: “The news that Osama bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world.”


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