Mercy Wars

There’s a story I heard sometime ago about a sign in a parking lot that read, “Private Parking. Trespassers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law! Signed, the Sisters of Mercy”

I just think that’s funny so I thought I’d throw it in.

In the comments box on “Lord Jesus, Save me from your followers”, one of my self-professed Lidless Eye types is twisting himself into a pretzel to keep up the prosecution of JPII for the ghastly sin of loving his enemies and asking God to have mercy on them. Arguments run on four tracks (rather like a shell game).

First, the Pope is evil for doing this because this somehow means there’s no hell.

Answer: No. It means that we have a Christian duty to forgive and turn such questions as “Who goes to hell?” over to the Judge of the universe.

Second, the Pope is evil for doing this because the bombers didn’t repent.

Answer: There is no escape clause in our Lord’s command to forgive. He commands us to forgive those who sin against us. Period. He does not say we are free to go on hating them if they don’t repent.

Third, the Pope is evil because he is forgiving people who did not sin against him personally.

Answer: The 9/11 bombers sinned against the whole world. They hurt the world. That’s why the world, not just the families of the victims, had a day of mourning yesterday. The Pope, as Universal Pastor is certainly right to pray for God mercy on the enemies of mankind for they are his enemies and our enemies, and we are therefore bound to love them, per Our Lord’s command.

Fourth, and most preposterously, we are told, in perhaps the most Clintonian parsing of a text I have read in months:

“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Notice, however, that Jesus is not forgiving them; he’s asking his Father to do so. ”

Okay. Lemme get this straight: when Jesus prayed for forgiveness for his murderers, it was because he did not forgive them?

Uh, right.

And so we are to conclude what?

That the Pope was also wrong to pray for forgiveness for his enemies as Jesus did? Um, that doesn’t parse.

That it’s okay to refuse to forgive as long as you ask God to forgive them?

Serious logic breakdown here. And my Lidless Eye knows it.

So, nothing daunted, now my Lidless Eye guy is, or rather was, informing me that “Had you lived 60 years ago, would you have hated Hitler? No, I guess not; you would have offered him unlimited forgiveness, no matter how many Jews he killed, no matter how many he wanted to kill.”

Bzzzt! I’m sorry, you’ve just invoked Godwin’s Law: whereby the comparison of a correspondent to Hitler and/or Nazis and/or their sympathizers automatically means that you forfeit the conversation and have nothing further of intelligence to say. Thank you for playing, please don’t let the door hit you on the butt on the way out.

“Obeying God’s command to love enemies and forgive people their trespasses necessarily means pacifism,” is the doctrine you have cleverly deduced I hold from carefully reading between the lines of my blog as you have frequently read the souls of so many people in my comments box. That, Sherlock, is naturally why I wrote below that “Just because you extend mercy and forgiveness to somebody does not mean you are obliged to be a pacifist toward them.” In proof that these are not just words but a conviction I have, I will extend mercy to my commenter by telling him a) I forgive him for that despicable slur (and many other insults) and hope he gets to heaven and b) I am making certain he gets off my blog. When he’s ready to keep a civil tongue in his head and email me an apology, he’s welcome back. Sorrow, contrition, firm purpose of amendment. That’s what it takes to receive the mercy I now extend for his abusive remarks.

Practical moral theology in action.


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