What the death of bin Laden did demonstrate unmistakably is just how poorly many religious leaders and religious intellectuals think about the new kind of war in which we have been engaged for more than a decade and a half (although most of us only recognized that after 9/11). Which is to say, the death of Osama bin Laden demonstrated yet again how badly the just war tradition has been received by the men and women who are supposed to be its intellectual custodians.
Thus from some religious quarters came laments, not over the ongoing damage that bin Laden’s evil network causes, but over the fact that he was killed and the method used to kill him. It seemed as if, at various divinity schools, bin Laden was a gangster writ large who ought to have been dealt with by law enforcement agencies and methods and, after apprehension, read his Miranda rights and given a trial by a jury of his peers.
This is nonsense, and dangerous nonsense at that.
The sappy emotions and immature theology associated with Bin Laden's death was yet another level of enlightenment on the poverty of Catholic Catechesis.
They were sad, you see, because letting Osama should have lived to kill tens of thousands more and rob them of the chance of conversion in the future because someday, he may have turned into St. Paul. Some of the people were opining that he may have been a St. Paul only the world couldn't see it.
Let me explain why this is so absurd where the rubber hits the road.
There are two types of remorse.
There is the remorse Peter had, when you are sorry unto Christ - sorry because your sins have hurt Christ. This is the kind of remorse you are living your life trying to resist sin. For as long as you are in surrender and practice, you retain your ability to feel sorry unto Christ.
Then there is the remorse of Judas who was sorry unto himself. That is when you are sorry because you have to suffer some consequence. Everything is all about you. If you feel sorrow about stealing, you're sorry you got caught and are in jail. You are blinded by sin and you spin into the self-destructive. The further you sink into the hole, the harder it gets to climb out.
Many prolife Catholics spent a couple of decades begging the Archbishop of Boston to take the actions necessary to give the man the warning he had been robbed by dissenting priests. The hundreds of thousands of constituents who had been misled by his leadership and the children that violently died took its toll in the arrogance. But during his funeral, a letter was read from Kennedy that gave us an indication he had been properly Sacramentally prepared to the right kind of remorse.
But conjecture that Osama felt sorrow unto Christ is baseless, ridiculous and worthless when we have 2000 years of conversion stories to draw upon.