Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Christmastide execution

I hope all of my readers are enjoying a blessed Christmas season! Remember that for Catholics (and for other Christians, too) Christmas lasts a lot longer than our culture recognizes. In fact, the Eastern Orthodox have not even had their Christmas yet.

The Christmas season was interrupted on Friday night by the execution of Saddam Hussein. Our news media behaved in a typically ghoulish fashion - hour by hour updates on "Is he dead yet? Is he going to die at 8 o'clock or 10 o'clock?" You would have thought they were calling a sporting event and not an imminent death.

Catholic opinion on the morality of his execution is divided - see Evangelical Catholicism for an anti opinion, and canon lawyer Jimmy Akin's blog for the opposing side. In my opinion, the best commentary on this topic comes from Christopher Blosser.

I tend to think that the execution of Saddam probably was justifiable on the grounds that the Iraqi authorities, operating as they are in an almost chaotic situation, could likely not guarantee that his continued life on this earth would not contribute to more violence against innocents. As long as the old ex-tyrant lived, he would always be a rallying point for extremists and terrorists.

Of course, his execution also may make him a martyr and provide the exact same rallying point...

In any case, it is the task of every Catholic (and indeed, every Christian) to pray for his thousands of victims and their families, who suffered so horrendously at his hands.

It is also our more difficult duty to pray for the repose of the soul of the wicked man himself. To do this we must try to look at Saddam with the eyes of Jesus, Who loved him enough to die for him on the cross and Who instantly accepts a sinner's sincere repentance, even if it comes at the last moment on the gallows when the rope snaps tight.

I hope that in his last moments of life, Saddam Hussein did repent of his innumerable crimes against humanity and that he will spend eternity in Heaven. Our God is a God of perfect mercy and perfect justice, and He is certainly able to give us both the punishment we richly deserve and the pity we could never dream of meriting.

Please join me in praying that Saddam's purgatory began today. I imagine it will be a lengthy stay.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still in shock over a justice system working this quickly... I'm more used to the traditional 20 years of retrials we have here.

    But thank God justice was swift... (Even though we're never going to agree on this...)