A word must be said about the killing of children, and innocents in general, in light of the events of the past couple of days, the hostage-taking in Sydney, resulting in 3 deaths, including the gunman, and the massacre at a military school in Pakistan, where over 140 died, most of them children at the hands of Taliban ‘extremists’.
What used to be off-limits in any kind of war is now a daily occurrence. The concept of ‘total war’, of course, goes back to ancient times: One need only ponder the command given to King Saul to wipe out all the inhabitants of Amalek, men, women and children, even the beasts, putting them ‘under the ban’. This, we may assume, was the provisional morality of ancient Man. Physical death as a punishment for sin.
Yet Christ brought a New Law of grace and forgiveness. Sin need no longer be atoned for by killing, for Christ died for all. His redemptive sacrifice assumed all other suffering. There will still be suffering and death, of course, that we can offer up in union with Christ, as members of His Mystical Body. But we can no longer ourselves kill as a punishment for sin. Whatever provsional morality God permitted in former ages is now gone, forever.
It is a sad fact that various strains of Islam do not get this. We are no longer to act as God’s agents of retribution; vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord, and we must leave all judgement to God. Further, as we all know, we are bad judges of sin, especially our own. To paraphrase Christ, we cannot see the beams for the splinters, nor the forest for the shrub in our way.
Yes, many aspects of ‘the West’ are decadent and immoral, but the pride of puritanical tyranny, is in many ways, worse, for such a stance makes us immune to the mercy of God, both for ourselves and others. It is the diabolical sin, to make ourselves God, and mete out punishment in His name as we see fit. We must use reason and dialogue to convert others, as well as the example of holiness (or at least striving for holiness) in our own lives, by the grace and mercy of God…
Part of that grace is learning to laugh at ourselves. There are no jokes in Islam, so purportedly said the Ayatollah. No kidding. In the strains of Islam we see in the news daily, there is a lot of anger, gnashing of teeth, resentment, thirst for revenge, and, apparently, no moral line in the sand for women and children. Total war it is. But total war is what they will get in return. To murder the children of officers in the Pakistani military is not a good idea. Eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth, and as one commentator mentioned, those soldiers, by and large, are not under the same restraints as the military in the West.
Apparently, the Taliban and ISIL do not like life that much, their own or others, which goes along with the loss of a sense of humour. Angels can fly, said G.K.Chesterton, because they take themselves so lightly. We may extend this aphorism that devils cannot fly, because they are, quite literally, too damned serious.
I just hope all those children were taken up to heaven, laughing with the angels.
December 16, 2014