It is sad and troubling that Hitchens chose to spend his life leading a crusade against God.
He went to his day of judgment publicly affirming his contempt for God with the final witness for those he shepherded that any recantation is to be perceived as the fruit of metastasis of cancer to the brain.
I never knew his mother killed herself in the storm of the erratic emotions and sin from an extramarital affair with an Anglican priest. It is hard enough losing a parent at a young age through natural death. Adding suicide and an extramarital affair with a priest sheds a little more light upon his life of bitterness, rage and contempt.
Let us not have any delusions of grandeur about a life spent leading others into his pit of despising God. Hitchens paid a heavy price for the sins of another. But the onus belonged to his mother and her lover. God didn't play any part in it.
Hitchens is a posterchild for the destruction a life brings with misdirected anger against God. God is blameless in the devastation sin brings to our lives and the lives of others.
We wallow in our own muck. We are forced to wallow in the muck of others. God is not the creator of the muck, we are. God stands on the shores beckoning us to come out of it. We accept or reject His hand.
Hitchens rejected it. He thrashed about in the muck until it swallowed him up. From the depths of his spiritual suicide, he sucked others into the quagmire of his mother's sins.
You would think we would understand the theology of sin with the story of Adam and Eve, but we don't. We don't see what we do to others when we sin. The ramifications that could swallow others for generations. Next time you face temptation, fix your eyes on the whopper from Hitchen's mother and her lover. Sin is a "gift" that keeps on giving.
I have read the postmortems of Hitchens in Catholic Blogosphere with dismay and frustration.
The Tenth Crusade Corncob Crackpipe goes to the Anchoress - "A singular voice silenced"
"The only thing I disagree with, there — because I hope it is not true — is that he “may have been most famous for his outspoken atheism.”
He may have been. Perhaps. But there was more to the man than his atheism. He was fearless; he understood political arcana, especially as it applied to those mysterious Middle Eastern and Eastern European theaters, better than almost anyone. And he could write about it so even a dummy like me could understand.
By God, truly, the man could write! Even in this last year of difficult, as the Vanity Fair piece demonstrates, the man was still managing to write timely and topical pieces with a voice so fresh, so focused and detached that it was possible to forget that one might be reading his last or nearly last piece of work, and simple get caught up in his intelligent narrative and singular prose-style."
As a Catholic journalist, we are to overlook his atheism? He understood political arcana? Fresh, focused, detached? A singular voice silenced?
I hope you're not going to remember Oswald for the murder Mrs. Kennedy. There was more to Oswald than being a murderer. He was fresh and detached, understood political arcana and had a terrific gift for prose and let us face it, he was smart enough to outwit the secret service.
As one Catholic woman to another, it is truly a suffering - on top of this tragedy - to have to endure a woman who uses irrational emotions to undermine salvation in the public square.
Given his mother's suicide and matters of the soul we have no way of knowing - whether he repented in his final moments with sincerity - we do not know Hitchen's ultimate destination. We appeal to Christ for mercy in prayer under these circumstances. Quietly. If the lack of discipline in our emotions compels us to produce a piece of sap, the context of what we say under these circumstances bears the duty to guard the theology of salvation.
On it's face, Hitchen's life stands on its own merits as the road that leads to hell. Period. We have no other information. We do not invent other information or throw conjecture to mitigate his life's work of robbing others of the Divinity and inexhaustible goodness of the Heart of Christ.
It is irresponsible to undermine this tragedy by implying his day of judgment with Christ overlooks Hitchen's vineyard to find merits in his grammar. To cry 'peace, peace' when there is no peace.
Christ did not say something sappy to the unrepentant thief who hung beside Him on Golgotha. As the unrepentant thief mocks repentance in front of a crowd, Christ greets him with silence. For the sake of the lambs watching it all, Christ only 'RIP' and talk of paradise and mercy is to the thief who is repenting.
"There is little in common, in reality, between the shepherd and the beast he tends; the gulf that lies between the rational and irrational can never be bridged. There may be devotedness and care on the part of the guardian of the flock to the animals committed to his charge. But there cannot be love where there is not community in nature. But in the Lord's sheepfold, this gulf is not impassible. He has given us that Divine Life which makes us partakers in His Own Diving Nature and by putting us through a process of purification. He can gradually cause us to case living according to that sensual animal nature that is at first so strong within us, and to replace it by one that is more spiritual and more akin to His own." (Fr. Leen, In the Likeness of Christ)
Of course Christ loves us even when we fail to return His Love. But Divine Love actually operates quite similar to human love.
All of us have, at one time or another, experienced a relationship where love only grew on one side of it. We have all been on both sides of the endings of love. In close and intimate friendships and relationships where only one person is laboring and giving intimacy and love and all of its gifts, major problems develop. There is hurt and pain. When it is recognized and both people work to rekindle love, the relationship survives. Only then is the gulf between love crossed. If one party does not wish to or is unable to return love, love self-destructs.
With maturity, we can let go of these relationships with sadness but tenderness, perhaps even while still feeling the love that exists on our side of it. This is always how God handles the rejection of His invitation to Love.
With less maturity, letting go of the love can get ugly. Regrettably, there are many who have let the bitterness take over their animus, sometimes through their entire life.
The unraveling of love for Christopher Hitchens was a very public one. He never bridged the gulf. There is nothing to admire. Only sadness and the duty to tend to the sheep this shepherd has left to the wiles of bitterness and hatred as his final witness.