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More religious syncretism from Fr. Robert Barron

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More religious syncretism from Fr. Robert Barron

Post  Guest on Sat May 21, 2011 12:23 am

http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2011/0522/barron.aspx


Pray for Osama bin Laden, don’t celebrate his death


Osama bin Laden was a wicked man, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people on several continents, and responsible, too, for something more subtle and insidious, the terrifying of practically everyone on the planet. I believe that fear-mongers deserve special opprobrium, since they produce that state of mind, which, as St. John tells us, is the opposite of love: “perfect love casts out all fear.”

The memory of Sept. 11 is like a nightmare that will forever haunt and nag and trouble the consciousness of mankind. It is impossible to doubt what President Obama said, namely, that the world is a better, safer place without the cruel and hateful man at the source of all this misery.

I heard the news of Bin Laden’s death when I was in Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. I watched some of the coverage on the BBC and CNN, taking in the scenes of Americans celebrating at Ground Zero, at the Mets/Phillies game, and in front of the White House.

I completely understood the feelings of jubilation and patriotic pride that they were exhibiting, and I will admit that I felt them too. There was indeed a keen sense that at least a measure of justice had been done in putting Osama bin Laden to death. And there was, too, just that wonderful release that comes when a great threat has been made to disappear. Some of the celebrations put me in mind of the unrestrained rejoicing at the end of World War II.

In the midst of all the shouting, however, another small voice was heard, that of Pope Benedict XVI. The pope commented very simply that it is never right to celebrate the death of another human being, no matter how vile.

I am quite sure that the pope is under absolutely no illusions regarding Osama bin Laden. He is not the least bit interested in exculpating him for his crimes. But he reminded Christians of a disturbing and deeply challenging truth that stands at the very heart of our moral tradition, namely, that we must love everyone, even our enemies.

Jesus said, “bless those who curse you; pray for those who maltreat you; if someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and give him the other.” This has nothing to do with sentimentality; nor is it a matter of being “soft” on crime. Original sin — the irreducible depravity that all of us experience in ourselves — is a fundamental Christian doctrine.

But it is an acknowledgement that all of us are children of the one God and hence brothers and sisters to one another. We are connected, through God, by bonds that are deeper than the ties of nationality, culture, religion, or family. Whether we like it or not, we are implicated in each other.

And therefore our enemies are also our brothers and our sisters. Notice please, that I am not denying that we have enemies, real enemies, who are wicked, twisted, violent and dangerous. But it is a Christian conviction that all of that evil is not telling the deepest truth about the enemy. The deepest truth is that he or she is a child of God and thus worthy of our love.

None of this implies, of course, that wicked people should not be arrested, brought to justice, punished or even, in extreme cases, that they should be killed. If, for example, in the process of bringing Bin Laden to justice, our soldiers were fired upon, they had the right to return that fire. But it does indeed imply that the person so arrested, tried, imprisoned or even put to death, should remain a beloved brother or sister.

How should this manifest itself? There are heroic examples of enemy love, such as the Amish couple who befriended and then defended in court the young man who had brutally killed their own son
; or Cardinal Bernardin, who visited and anointed the man who had accused him falsely of sexual misconduct.

But these are precious and rare. Something that all of us can do is to pray for those who maltreat us, offering them to God, expressing a spiritual solidarity with them. This is why I found it particularly moving that the American forces who buried Osama bin Laden at sea gave this terrible man a proper Islamic funeral service.

We should celebrate that the world is a safer place and that a wicked man has been brought to justice. But the pope is right: We shouldn’t celebrate that our enemy is dead. As hard as it is to say, we should pray for him as an act of love.

Barron is the Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. For more of his writings visit www.wordonfire.org.

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Re: More religious syncretism from Fr. Robert Barron

Post  Guest on Sat May 21, 2011 10:42 am

Yeah we are to believe that Bin Laden had a conversion in his last moments as the USA snuck-attacked him and shot him (nevermind there was absolutely no evidence in his life that he was interested in the truth, and not only that was a radical Muslim) yet if I believe that God in his providence will provide a way to get water baptism to all who sincerely desire it, I am crazy?

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Re: More religious syncretism from Fr. Robert Barron

Post  MRyan on Sun May 22, 2011 5:55 pm

Honestly, Fr. Barron may be notorious for promoting “religious syncretism” (I haven’t kept up), but I cannot find “religious syncretism” in this particular piece, and I don’t see where it was suggested that “we are to believe that Bin Laden had a conversion in his last moments as the USA snuck-attacked him and shot him”.

The fact is; we are indeed brothers and sisters in the sense that God was made Incarnate and wills to save all men. So it is not syncretism to say “that all of us are children of the one God and hence brothers and sisters to one another. We are connected, through God, by bonds that are deeper than the ties of nationality, culture, religion, or family. Whether we like it or not, we are implicated in each other.”

I wish more people were familiar with the teachings of the eastern Doctors and theologians. There is nothing new here to Catholic theology.

That does not mean that we are “brothers in Christ” as if we shared the same Faith, or that it does not matter what Faith one professes.

Furthermore, you highlighted in red Fr. Barron’s “I found it particularly moving that the American forces who buried Osama bin Laden at sea gave this terrible man a proper Islamic funeral service.”

The reason why Fr. Barron found it “moving” that bin Laden was given “a proper Islamic funeral service” (though there is no Islamic tradition for burial at sea) does not necessarily suggest that he is commenting on bin Laden’s possible salvation; he is probably only voicing his approval for at least showing respect to an enemy’s religious customs when it is fitting to do so. I doubt if a Catholic Chaplain recited any Islamic prayers. Besides, what did we expect from the men who executed Osama bin Laden in cold blood and wanted to dispose of his body as quickly and permanently as possible ... to give him a “Christian burial” at sea, or just unceremoniously dump his body into the ocean without giving him or his Muslim brothers any sign of respect towards the religion he so passionately held as to even give up every material comfort he could have had if he had chosen to live the life of a Muslim of privilege, and friend of the oil barons like Bush?

Contrary to Fr. Barron’s fear mongering, I never felt threatened by bin Laden or any other “terrorist” (despite the very real possibility of "blow-back") and the fact is that the US has never presented proof that bin Laden was the mastermind behind, or directly responsible for, 9-11. He was not even on the FBI’s most wanted list. In fact, in an interview given a few days after the abominable crime of 9-11, bin Laden categorically denied that he had anything to do with 9-11. He also said that he is a man of God and he does not lie and that he would never deliberately target civilians for mass murder. Of course, I don’t know if that was the “man-of-God” talking, or the lying politician. The government lies all the time, so who are you going to believe?

Even if he is guilty, what ever happened to the rule of law and the concept of innocence until proven guilty? Oh, I forgot, the “great Decider” IS the law and has decided that he is free to execute whomever he so chooses without a trial, to include American citizens.

I am actually more concerned with Fr. Barron’s fawning “patriotic” and patronizing justifications for cold-blooded “execution” when the Washington story line had to be corrected numerous times (and its not over) to finally say that bin Laden was unarmed and that the only resistance came from a justifiably upset wife. It seems the government cannot get its story straight and it cannot say anything without distorting the truth. "Fog of war" my foot. I guess the kill team didn’t mean to leave witnesses behind … darn the bad luck.

And the sycophant mainstream media goes right along with it, just like it went along with the deliberate lies and propaganda concerning the WMD in IRAQ, and just like it goes along and perpetuates the on-going propaganda on the civil war in Libya.

It never ends. The boogeyman is dead, time to find another!

OK, I’ll get off my politically incorrect soapbox now.

Its true, Rasha, Fr. Barron could have said something about praying for the conversion of Osama bin Laden before two bullets were put into his brain; but he didn’t, and chose instead to focus on the fact that Catholics, and everyone else, should not rejoice in the death of anyone since we are all God’s children. Besides, the pope kind of put a damper on this whole pathetic rejoicing thing.
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Re: More religious syncretism from Fr. Robert Barron

Post  columba on Sun May 22, 2011 7:42 pm

Mryan, you said everything I would have said concerning the execution of Bin Laden (executed for the third time I believe) and how this politically expedient took place two days after the proven false birth certificate of Barack Obama was put out on the net by the US gov.
But enough of my political ramblings too. Best not to believe everything you hear on the mainstream media.

Here's two links worth viewing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnychOXj9Tg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNJfdKClbH4
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