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Christians should not rejoice at death of Osama bin Laden, says Vatican spokesman

By on Monday, 2 May 2011

New Yorkers celebrate news of Bin Laden's death at Ground Zero in the early hours of the morning (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

New Yorkers celebrate news of Bin Laden's death at Ground Zero in the early hours of the morning (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

Christians should never rejoice at the death of a man, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi has said following the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan yesterday.

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 last night at 10.30 (3.30AM GMT) President Barack Obama announced that the Saudi-born fugitive, responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States which killed 3,000 people, was dead. “Justice has been done,” the US president said.

But Fr Federico Lombardi said in a statement this morning in Rome that we should not rejoice at the death of a human being.

He said: “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.”

Earlier today Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news, saying: “The news that Osama Bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world.”

  • Robyn

    I agree with Fr. Lombardi and although I am an American who lived only 15 minutes from Ground Zero, watched the young children mourn the deaths of their parents who were killed that day, watched and mourned with my fellow Americans for all of those who perished that day, while Bin Laden was an evil man he was a human man and as much as some may hate to admit still one of Gods creations. We can only pray that God will pour out His mercy on Bin Laden as we would hope He will do for us.. I know my statement will not be popular but I can not change it. Am I glad he is gone? yes I am and that is probably wrong too and I have asked for forgiveness for what I am feeling but I won’t rejoice because I do not want to offend God..

  • Yslgoddess

    AGREED and well said!

  • Niasos

    Totally agree…no joy at all..it is not us to judge who deserve what

  • DBMcGinnity

    I watched “Lawrence of Arabia” yesterday afternoon and I recall the significance of King Faisal saying to Lawrence: “Perhaps you think we are something you can play with?” Sadly that is what happened, when proclaimed Christians like: Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, General, Allenby, et. al., decided “at the drop of a hat” how the Arab world was to be divided up, without any thought for the Arab people. Since then the Arabs and Muslims have felt cheated and exploited by the western powers, which they were.

    And here we are, ninety years later and the conflict goes on. To the western powers, Osama Bin Laden was a bad man, but to Muslims he was (and still is) their hope for the future. In my view it would be foolish for Catholics to gloat about his death, because I suspect Muslims have plans for Christians that would be too horrific to think about. So to the anachronistic Traditional Roman Catholics I say, “don’t crow too soon”.

  • CINDY

    A feeling of relief!!!! PEACE TO THE WORLD..AMEN, AMEN AMEN!

  • Pilkate

    I also agree with Fr. Lombardi. Osama bin Laden’s demise will not make as much of a positive effect as many hope; not with so many still out there with the same mind-set. We were all repulsed and indignant about the cheering that went on by those who are against us after 9/11 and yet, do the same thing when bin Laden is terminated. I understand the difference between the two events; however, I don’t understand why we cannot sway these people to believe that murder is wrong and, suicide to commit murder is wrong – that God would NEVER tell one group of humans He created to obliterate other groups of humans He created. Is there something wrong or insufficient about our words or deeds that allows such a disconnect to continue?

  • Lallum

    The death of Osama doesn’t mean anything, nor relief nor peace. Another Osama will appear when we less expect it

  • Jstreet32

    I don’t get it. Should we not be pleased that a man who kills innocent people has finally been laid to rest? What about all the talk of “evil prevails when good men fail to act”? Osama bin laden had no respect for Christians or Jews or even a number of Muslims. If evil begets evil then shouldn’t this have stopped a perpetual wave of young, brainwashed people of committing atrocities? Perhaps God was with the navy seals yesterday, using them as tools of his vengeance. I feel better that OBL is no longer with us here on Earth. God Bless America.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sethdelconte Seth Delconte

    Sorry – I can’t help rejoicing that Osama is dead :) You can all at least rejoice that he is not a threat to America anymore!

  • B.R. Hughes

    Did Jesus not say: “Forgive them, Father. for they know not what they do?”. Yes, OBL was an instrument of evil and terrorism is evil but he was a human being blinded by his hatred of the West and of what we’ve come to stand for in other parts of the world: exploitation, unfairness, destitution.

  • DBMcGinnity

    I genuinely see your point of view because America has suffered much. I deeply admire American courage and I congratulate The Government for their tenacity and perseverance in hunting Osama Bin Laden down.

    I also understand the self interested point of view of the Catholic Church not to condemn Osama Bin Laden or take delight in his death insofar that The Church does not want to offend or provoke a backlash from the worldwide Muslim Communities. The church must decide what moral stance to take. Had they done so in 1931 before Hitler came to power; the world be a better place today. However it shot itself in the foot which still hurts and is still deformed from the injury.

    Their Vatican attitude is a bit like the concordant between Pius XI at the behest of The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli (later to become Pius XII) with Hitler in 1933. http://www.concordatwatch.eu/showtopic.php?kb_header_id=752

  • Fjgraphics

    Amen! Feel the same way

  • B.R. Hughes

    Not at all. The Vatican is simply stating the basic teachings of Christ: “Love thy enemies and forgive those who trespass against us”. You need to review your Catechism and your Gospel, McGinnity.

  • Jeannine

    Of course God created bin Laden but He also created Lucifer. Both freely chose to turn their back against God. If you had the ability to destroy Satan who has created so much havoc in this world & will continue to do so, would you do it? How about Hitler or Stalin? I know I would. Bin Laden is just like Satan; killing him had nothing to do with revenge (although some feel that way) & everything to do with preventing him from creating more misery.

    Bin Laden had 10 yrs to repent & turn himself in to the proper authorities. Instead, when the Spec Ops found him, bin Laden refused to surrender that was offered & freely chose to be killed.

    No one should rejoice over any death but there is nothing wrong with a sigh of relief!

  • DBMcGinnity

    The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, Catholic Church Child abuse together with making a concordant with Hitler in 1933 is indeed very quick to practice the basic teachings of Christ: “Love thy enemies and forgive those who trespass against us”. They were nearly as quick as your impetious, ill informed response to my comments.

    “Love thy enemies and forgive those who trespass against us”.
    How do you explain the this statement regarding Nazi leaders who were Catholics: Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, Joseph Goebbels. Rudolf Hoess, who as commandant at Auschwitz-Birkinau pioneered the use of the Zyklon-B gas that killed half of all Holocaust victims, together with Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess, Martin Bormann, Albert Speer, and Adolf Eichmann and most of the Schutzstaffel (S.S.) All of Mussolini’s men were practicing Catholics as they murdered Jews. Do not be so quick to pass judgement on me, until you have read:

    http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/treaty.htm
    http://biblelight.net/wound.htm
    http://www.concordatwatch.eu/showtopic.php?kb_header_id=752

  • ms catholic state

    Osama Bin Laden is dead……….but the Islamisation process of the West continues…….by Western leaders themselves. Watch out!

  • Dr.Wolfgang Munster Schnoozle

    One would have thought the comments of the roman leaders would have been for more important to your roman catholic commnunity than our own Anglican PM. For the record to avoid a charge of hypocrisy:

    Franco Frattini – Italian foreign minister: Bin Laden’s death at the hands of US forces “is a victory of good over evil, of justice over cruelty”.

    Silvio Berlusconi – Italian prime minister: This is a great outcome in the fight against evil, in the fight against terrorism, a great outcome for the United States and for all democracies.

  • LOrtiz5696

    “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.”

    I cannot agree more. Wise words of Fr Federico Lombardi

  • Anonymous

    From DBMcGinnity: “To the western powers, Osama Bin Laden was a bad man, but to Muslims he was (and still is) their hope for the future.”
    That is absurd. OBL was a disaster for Muslims. He twisted their religion and he caused the death of even more Muslims than Christians.
    Fr. Lombardi’s comments were appropriate. I am not rejoicing, but am satisfied that this was the only way to deal with OBL.
    I am usually not a fan of Pres. Obama, however I think he handled this event very well and I am proud of the brave soldiers who risked their lives to bring justice with the hope of preventing further destruction.

    Showing college kids cheering is not the smartest thing though…even though to those youth, who were children on 9/11, OBL is a boogeyman.
    Peace.

  • Beckyhamilton_08

    I am devoted to my faith in Christianity and try not to judge those who are devoted Muslims. That is the beauty of being free; I have the right to choose the religion. Therefore; I cannot judge another for their right to choose religious beliefs when it is not the same as mine. I’m certainly not celebrating a death of a fellow man. I am asking God for forgiveness for the immediate feeling of relief when I heard the news this morning. I’m certainly not a person that goes rejoicing the word to people who do not want to hear it. I am a woman that works hard for what she has, believes strongly that God is our salvation, and that no man should die at the hand of another man. I believe OBL was fighting for something that he believed strongly in as I believe strongly in Christianity. Although I do not agree with his beliefs, I need to give him the respect to believe his own. However, I do not believe that beliefs should be at the mercy of other lives. You and I have the right to believe in what we want, as mentioned previously. I do not believe other lives should be affected by such decisions. I think this is the way of “extremists”. There are plenty Christians that are extremists as there are Muslims and other religions across the globe. It is the government’s duty to capture those extremists when it gets out of hand. Not to sacrifice them for their beliefs. I believe there will be no positive outcome to this event. There will always be extremists.

  • http://profiles.google.com/codytnichols Cody Nichols

    “If you had the ability to destroy Satan who has created so much havoc in this world & will continue to do so, would you do it?”

    [Since God has] the ability to destroy Satan, who has created so much havoc in this world and will continue to do so, [has he done] it? No. Then why would you?

  • Jeannine

    I can’t read God’s mind. I don’t know what His plans are & neither do you.

    I do know we are all part of the Church militant. God call us all to fight & defend against evil (Satan). Some people fight through prayers; some people fight through charitable works, & some people, especially men, fight & destroy the physical entities of evil. Osama bin Laden was a physical entity of evil. Adolph Hitler was a physical entity of evil. Yes, I do categorize bin Laden with Hitler.

    We are all instruments of God. Maybe God used the Navy Seals to stop this man from hurting future innocent people.

  • Anonymous

    Amen to that ! He killed thousands, in a cruel and very cowardly way, and got nothing more than he deserved. He encouraged & inspired others to kill thousands, in a cruel and very cowardly way, & that is perhaps even worse. The damnation of those whom he corrupted so that they copied his evil example will be due in part to him. And that is worst of all. As for the damage done to the reputation of Islam – who knows how great that is ?

    The Papacy used to denounce in the most unmreasured terms those who had not a tenth of what he had done – but now, it bends over backwards not to call a spade a spade.

  • Anonymous

    The Vatican is no position to forgive OBL:

    1. He did not repent

    2. It was not hurt by him

    3. One cannot forgive on behalf of another (Sacramental absolution is not exception to this, because it is Christ Who forgives through the priest; & He is always “wounded” by human sin, no matter who we are. He is always the Sufferer, so He can always forgive.)

    So only if the Papacy were itself harmed by OBL or his followers, would talk about the Papacy’s forgiving him make any kind of sense – if it tried to do so in any other circumstances, that would be an impertinence on its part; it has no moral right to forgive what it has not suffered.

  • sk

    forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us!! We cannot be judgemental and have our hearts filled with hatred. May the God have mercy on his soul

  • stefan

    forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us!! We cannot be judgemental and have our hearts filled with hatred. May God have mercy on his soul…..

  • Anonymous

    I find rejoice in a human being’s death as distasteful, whatever they have done. I also think that it is not good to be celebrating and waving American flags in the street, as this could insight more hatred against the West.

    How does this look to the youth of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine who have only known war all their lives – supported, or initiated by the West. I am not making any judgements in the foreign policy of the West, but if you see U.S.A. stamped on the back of a cluster-bomb casing that killed your best-friend… what other emotion could you expect?

    Al-Qaeda has been remarkably effective in terrorism – that is, in spreading terror. Paranoia perhaps. If we count the deaths from terrorism in the United States and Britain since 2001, and compare that to the war dead of two wars, then I wonder whether, from a humanitarian standpoint, we have been too enthusiastic.

    Terrorist deaths, US/UK (2808)

    Total war deaths, coalition soldiers/civilians/enemy war dead (130372)

    I am using the very most conservative figures, some groups that include increased lawlessness, degraded infrastructure, poorer healthcare, etc. (which it is argued are out of our control), state figures of 500,000 to 1,000,000 and upwards.

    How do we expect this boy and his two siblings (pictured) to have a good view of the West, when their parents have died and their village is flattened? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Three_children_wounded_by_a_US_bomb_in_Nangrahar_province_of_Afghanistan.jpg

    Again, I am not explicitly judging our foreign policy, am quantitatively looking at the cumulative suffering, and asking, is it really worth it? I am also suggesting that our foreign interventions are likely to make us much less safe, rather than safer – as terrorism and extremism will surely breed were there is death and hatred.

  • Anonymous

    The Vatican is not pandering to the Muslim faith. They are simply saying that rejoicing and celebration are not appropriate towards any human that has died.

  • Anonymous

    He was not forgiven, it was simply said that it is wrong to rejoice at the death of a human being.

  • JOSEPHSOLEARY

    Bravissimo, padre Federico!

  • JOSEPHSOLEARY

    Tosh. Osama like Saddam was a US creation, even trained by him. Since then US stupidity has generated thousands of new Osamas. The stupid campaign to “take out” Osama, launched by Bush and taken up by Obama as a vote-winning mantra will now bear its bitter fruit. Osama is now a Martyr, more powerful in death than he ever was in life. Expect a surge in Al Qaida activity.

  • JOSEPHSOLEARY

    Reminds me of Patrick Pearse: “But the fools, the fools, the fools — they have left us our Fenian dead — and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree will never be at peace.” All our martyrs, including Pearse himself, were more powerful in death than in life.

  • Bwaj

    Wrong. Satan is not flesh and blood. Only those with physical bodies can die.

  • Bwaj

    No – he is not a martyr. Also what Bin Laden followed was the same book Lombardi and his ilk at the Vatican tell us preaches peace even though it does no such thing.

  • Bwaj

    I find your comment highly offensive. You are given your choice in this life whether you are with God or Satan and Bin Laden refused to obey God, choosing instead to obey Satan, so attacked and murdered the members of the only Faith Our Saviour founded (Catholic and non-Catholic Christians). If you do not repent and turn to Our Lord Jesus Christ before you die you are damned eternally – the teaching about ‘invincible ignorance’ saving you does not come from God but from liberals since Vatican II who are terrified of facing martyrdom if they say OBL was divinely punished and the only way to be saved is through our God Jesus Christ. Divine law, no matter what the Pope erroneously taught in ‘EVANGELIUM VITAE’, demands impenitent murderers be executed (Gen:9.6 St. Mtt:26.52) and allows those in temporal authority not only to ‘wield the sword’ i.e. use armed force to punish evil-doers (Rmns:13.1-5) but to defend themselves (e.g. the Crusades).

  • Bwaj

    Satan is a fallen angel, a spirit, he can be punished forever in eternal fire but not destroyed as that implies he has a body.
    As for Bin Laden, how do you know it wasn’t God’s will Bin Laden be summoned to His throne and face his eternal judgement, both for murdering Christians and blaspheming the True God which is the unforgiveable sin (St. Mk:3.28-30). I believe this victory was achieved in response to the intercession of Our Lady and Blessed Pope John Paul II.
    For those who do not know their history – September 11 (1683) was the date we defeated the Turks at the Battle of Vienna through the intercession of Our Lady. Even Christopher Hitchens believed this was the reason why that date was chosen.

  • Bwaj

    ‘We are all instruments of God. Maybe God used the Navy Seals to stop this man from hurting future innocent people.’

    I agree.

  • Bwaj

    It shows how little you expect Our Lord, Our Lady and the Saints to defend us if you believe there will be ‘a surge in Al Q’aeda activity’. Nothing happens unless God permits it. After 9/11 the western world turned back to the true Faith for a time. Now it’s time the whole world turned (returned) to Him before we force Him to remove His protection from our nations again. Before you claim wrongly God does not allow suffering as a call to penance and for believers to turn back to Him – read Hebrews:12.5-11. And associating with members of other religions without telling them to be saved they must accept Jesus runs the risk of provoking God’s anger (1 Cor:10.17ff).

  • Bwaj

    Bin Laden knew exactly what he was doing because he was not distorting what his religion really preaches. It is western Church leaders, politicians and followers of that religion who would like us to be off our guard.

  • Bwaj

    You can only ask Our Lord to forgive a sinner when he is alive – after death impenitent sinners go to Hell. Learn your Catechism.

  • Bwaj

    That’s not how it sounds.

  • Bwaj

    Salvation is through Christ alone and Revelation:6.1-8 shows us the punishment of those nations which reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are no Christian extremists and there is only one God and only one Faith – no other.

  • Bwaj

    Lombardi has often times contradicted the Pope who has said nothing directly on this.

  • Bwaj

    Get your facts right. Muslims have always hated Christians and Jews and wanted to murder us. They have always taught they will every last Jew off the planet and not recognize Israel’s existence. Even Arrafat while telling us one thing said different to the Middle East because the Qur’an tells Muslims promises and pacts with the infidel have no meaning.
    Returning to their hatred of us – the Holy Land and most Middle Eastern & African countries belonged to Christ until the Islamic Conquest which forced conversion by the sword. That is what the Crusades were – a defensive war against them.
    As for Afghanistan – the Taliban supported Bin Laden and would not surrender him or the other Al-Q’aeda criminals to the west for trial because in the Qur’an it is only a crime to kill another Muslim, even then, this only applies to Muslims who are not friends of Christians & Jews or who have not left Islam. So any blood being shed in Afghanistan is on their own hands.

  • Bwaj

    Our Lord told the penitent thief who was dying he would be with Him in Paradise. He did not say that to the impenitent thief. – how much an impenitent murderer?

  • Bwaj

    Liberals in the Catholic Church are in danger of forgetting one thing – the Scriptures do not speak of everyone being given mercy. That is heresy. There is divine mercy but also divine justice. In fact Our Lady warned St. Faustina those who reject divine mercy will have to face divine justice.

  • Jeannine

    A ridiculous comment like yours needs a very serious rebuttal: And what planet do you hale from?

  • Anonymous

    Click on the photo of the injured Muslim boy, and tell me that he isn’t anything but an innocent child. Do you have NO empathy? Do you think that this child was born different from you simply because he has a different belief system, I think you can do better than denying a child’s humanity.

    Israel was formed from last taken forcibly from the Palestinians, through mass settlings of Jews and the British mandate in 1948. It later expanded further, and illegally, to international condemnation in 1967 under the 6 day war, in which the Gaza Strip area was taken.
    The ‘redrawn’ boundaries of 1967 have never been acknowledged by the UN, and remain illegal under international law.

    Most Muslims support a two-state solution and an end to the war in the middle-east, regardless of the fact their country has literally been stolen from under them, which I think is remarkably tolerant – considering those in the Gaza strip live in an effective prison camp – along with checkpoints, guards and restrictions of movement. (Inside their own country)

    I suppose the Muslim hate for Christians could easily be seen in Palestine when in 2009 Pope Benedict visited to pledge support for the right of a sovereign homeland for the Palestinians?
    Then the shouts of “Long Live the Pope,” and “Long Live Palestine” heard throughout the visit must have all been sarcastic, right?

    Bwaj I know that you love to bring up the crusades, as if any of the politics of today have some tenuous connection with a holy war ended over 800 years ago. You must realise that it is people like you the propagate a revisionist view of history; and the false opinion that ALL Muslims and ALL Christians must bitterly hate each other; are only making things worse. You think bombs and war will help patch up relations? No. But that’s not your intent, I can see you couldn’t care less about making things better.

  • Anonymous

    Click on the photo of the injured Muslim boy, and tell me that he isn’t anything but an innocent child. Do you have NO empathy? Do you think that this child was born different from you simply because he has a different belief system, I think you can do better than denying a child’s humanity.

    Israel was formed from last taken forcibly from the Palestinians, through mass settlings of Jews and the British mandate in 1948. It later expanded further, and illegally, to international condemnation in 1967 under the 6 day war, in which the Gaza Strip area was taken.
    The ‘redrawn’ boundaries of 1967 have never been acknowledged by the UN, and remain illegal under international law.

    Most Muslims support a two-state solution and an end to the war in the middle-east, regardless of the fact their country has literally been stolen from under them, which I think is remarkably tolerant – considering those in the Gaza strip live in an effective prison camp – along with checkpoints, guards and restrictions of movement. (Inside their own country)

    I suppose the Muslim hate for Christians could easily be seen in Palestine when in 2009 Pope Benedict visited to pledge support for the right of a sovereign homeland for the Palestinians?
    Then the shouts of “Long Live the Pope,” and “Long Live Palestine” heard throughout the visit must have all been sarcastic, right?

    Bwaj I know that you love to bring up the crusades, as if any of the politics of today have some tenuous connection with a holy war ended over 800 years ago. You must realise that it is people like you the propagate a revisionist view of history; and the false opinion that ALL Muslims and ALL Christians must bitterly hate each other; are only making things worse. You think bombs and war will help patch up relations? No. But that’s not your intent, I can see you couldn’t care less about making things better.

  • Bobert432

    At no point did you indicate how or why rejoicing over an individual human death is the right Christian response. Had Bin Laden been captured and sent to Gitmo, it would equally have been a victory over terrorism. Its not his death that was good. When America wins a military battle, I don’t rejoice that lots of enemies have been killed–I might rejoice that we thwarted evil; but I don’t need to sing and dance about death. There’s nothing joyful about war and death. Some people, however, feel inclined to dance like drunken villagers at a public hanging. Some joked about desecrating the man’s body like a bunch of baboons. Is this what the Gospel instructed? No one, including Robyn, suggested we should be passive and not fight back against enemies. Rather, the point is that God is a God of mercy and justice. I don’t know whose in Hell, nor do you. God doesn’t consult us on His decisions. So it’s a little vain to be gleefully declaring that Bin Laden is in Hell. We can reasonably speculate that Bin Laden never sincerely repented, but that’s about it. In any case, I don’t wish Hell for anyone, including Bin Laden. No one with a mature understanding of what Hell is would wish it on any person. And I don’t celebrate death. When Christ went to the cross, He wasn’t shouting back at his murders “Just wait until you get yours!” Christ loved his accusers and His murderers. We have no way of knowing they aren’t in heaven with Him; we can only speculate. Our vainglorious blood lust for our enemies notwithstanding, on the other side where Bin Laden just showed up, there is no Islamic terrorism, and there are no enemies; only the divine justice of God.