Saying things I regret in the morning

Saying things I regret in the morning March 22, 2012

So yesterday I put up a post about the Muslim butcher of children in Toulouse and called him a person we can do without.

My apologies. I have take that post down and regret it. Whatever that sentiment is, it is not Christian. Jesus died for that man as well as for everybody else. My attitude was not rooted in the mercy of God or the love of Christ but in human contempt and vengefulness for his crime. Mea culpa.

And mea culpa to anybody who I have encouraged to emulate my contempt. May God grant this man mercy in Christ (and me too).

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  • Well done, asking for mercy.

    May God listen to you and show the Muslim butcher that God is mercy not revenge.

  • Awesome apology. This is why I read your blog daily. Much respect.

  • LeeAnn

    It felt out of character for you, but you always come back to the right place in the end. Very much respect your willingness to admit when you were wrong…such a public place, the internet!

  • victor

    I’m not sure contempt is in itself a sin (maybe it is and I just don’t know it). Some things — and even some people — are worthy of scorn and are to be despised. Also, in the grand pantheon of Shea’s Second Guessage, that post was relatively tame.

  • Brent

    The only thing you should regret is regretting stuff that isn’t sinful in the first place. Being angry, wishing mass murders dead so they can’t hurt other people, etc isn’t wrong. King David said this stuff all the time, in prayers even. God appreciates your honesty, even if it isn’t so goody-goody G-rated feelings that offend certain people.

    • JL Liedl

      King David also sent a man to the front lines so he could seduce his wife. Not sure we should blindly follow his lead without rectifying things in the light of the risen Christ.

      • Marthe Lépine

        To this I say: Amen!

  • brian_in_brooklyn

    Thank you, Mark …and amen!

  • MattyD

    This is the latest example of why you are my favorite Catholic blogger.

  • Jen

    The mother in me does battle with this sentiment every day, Mark. It is OH SO HARD to have mercy on men who violate and butcher children. My visceral reaction is that I just want them GONE. More than once I have thought to myself such a man should be shot in the street like a dog. Not proud of having that thought, but it’s true. I appreciate your honesty and your mea cupla, because it reminds me I cannot descend into hatred and vengeance. I have blood on my own hands, after all. How ironic that it’s the blood that saves me. Peace, Mark.

    • That’s why we say: Lord have mercy, not “Jen” have mercy.

  • Lisa

    Glad you took down that post. You were sounding like Rick Santorum for a bit. However, don’t beat yourself up too much. I think it’s fine to say, “I’m glad he’s gone, but sad he’s dead.” To say otherwise would only be dishonest. I felt the same way about OBL during the Whitehouse’s fistpumping celebration of his demise.

    • Tom

      Lisa — if you are going to bear witness against Santorum and blithely assert and suggest that he is in someway sinful (“sounding like Santorum”) perhaps you should at the very least specify what he said so that Rick or others could defend it or perhaps provide background on “Why” he said “it” or what he really did say — since it is oh so easy to believe something you read on the internet — and all too often that something is nothing more than a lie or something carelessly stated and asserted by others like you who seem to be more interested in scoring political points than talking rationally or endeavoring to find the truth. Is not your post nothing more than calumny. At the very very least — why not save your political spittle for a political discussion. Shame on you.

      • Lisa

        OK, Tom. Santorum said publicly that the assassination of an Iranian scientist was a “wonderful thing,” a comment that Mark sharply criticised. Ironically, Mark realized that, like Mr Whipple, he too was squeezing the Charmin, and to his honor and credit, quickly appologized.

        I realize that my reference to Mr Whipple has placed me squarely in the close-to-getting-an-AARP-card age bracket, but there you are. And if you want more proof of my age, here it is: Rick Santorum “jumped the shark” yesterday by claiming that the US would be better off with BHO than Romney. The party will never forgive him for that; he’s toast, burnt toast, soon to be a Fox News professional shouter.

        • Tom

          So, if I understand your argument, Lisa — what you are arguing is this: You have weighed Mr. Santorum and found him wanting — thereby giving you not only the right but the duty to smear him — by insinuation or character assassination. Whether you think your opinion is right or not does not cover the sin of calumny. To be blunt, you missed the point. There was no need to bring politics into this. And it certainly didn’t call for you to take a shot at Rick Santorum. Again, shame on you.

          • sjay

            She actually didn’t say anything like that at all. Saying somebody is “sounding like Santorum” in and of itself is not “smearing” Santorum

            • Tom

              @sjay – – sure she did. Look at the context of her post and its reference. Mark is saying ‘Mea Culpa’ for going over the line. Lisa suggests implicitly that this is what Santorum does or did (and did so initially without providing any context or background — which is what modern politics has devolved to: Insinuation, character assassination, lies, inuendo, and false witness.) Lisa is rooting for someone else — so she takes an opportunity to slime Santorum even when the discussion is not about him or the election, or positions, etc. Some believe that if you repeat a lie long enough it will become truth. And that is what Lisa is attempting, here. (Lisa doesn’t really care if you understand why she doesn’t like Santorum — she just wants you to believe he is bad.)

              My real problem with Lisa is that she didn’t need to take a shot at Santorum, here. This is not a political discussion at all (at least not a Political Presidential Election discussion.) So, why take a shot at Santorum? There is no debate here and nothing to gain other than to take a swipe at another human being and I guess chuckle over her own superiority.

              It’s funny how Catholics have turned on Santorum and believe that he is deserving of being treated with less charity and understanding — just because he is a public figure. Amazing. If Santorum is in need of correction, we should pray for him — not take every opportunity to destroy him. And even worse, Lisa — take great joy in doing so.

              The fact that she feels justified or holds a different opinion is irrelevant. Even if she is right in her assessment, her behavior is wrong. —> Two wrongs don’t make a right. And she should apologize as Mark has done.

              • sjay

                Tom, your criticism of Lisa comes much closer to “smearing” than her comment about Santorum did. Her comment seems reasonably based on something he did say — your response, on the other hand is way over the top. You may have something of a point in your criticism of the insertion of the negative comment — not “smear” — in the apology thread but that doesn’t justify your intemperate response.

  • Roberto

    God bless you, Mark. We all have our weird moments.

  • I know of at least one person worthy of scorn – me. Through my own grievous fault. Who has not said that and meant it, supposing we know what it means.

    I trust that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will not put me to shame, even though I deserve it, if I am truly repentant. He will know.

    Again, self-defense is not evil, but killing is an evil even when unavoidable. In this fallen world we are sometimes placed in the position of judges of life and death, even though we are not worthy.

    That’s why we say: Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

  • andrew

    Awesome, thank you. Still there is a “time to kill”.

  • “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Your mercy.”

    It says “all”, not some. Prayed best when you believe what you pray.

    • Paladin

      The Fatima prayer is why I never could understand all the hubbub about hoping for universal salvation, or the “shed for all/many” liturgical controversy. Some people need to believe that other people are in hell to keep themselves warm at night. I was never one of those people. Like you, I’m only aware of my own guilt.

  • That murderer’s only regret was that he was unable to kill more people. He was actually trying to take more lives the moment he died. Yes, the world is better without him. To say otherwise is to ignore the death he caused and was attempting to cause at the moment of his own demise.

    Rather than lamenting his inability to continue evil, our prayers would be better directed toward the seven people he already killed along with those he wounded in the final attempt to catch him. May God preserve their souls.

    • JL Liedl

      Because goodness knows it’s impossible to simultaneously pray for the murderer and his victims…

      • From an accoutn by Israel National News: “[T]he killer got off his bike without removing his helmet and went through the school gate.”

        “Children fled, but Miriam [Monsonego, aged 8] was not able to get away from his clutches. First, the killer critically wounded a 17-year-old student and then grabbed Miriam, put a gun to her head and shot her.”

        This is true evil. Mark’s initial reaction was right in this case. The world is better without this unrepentant murderer in it. Saying that it is not is not Christian.

  • *Rather than lamenting his inability to continue evil,*

    No one is doing that.

  • I am lamenting that any option of doing good or repenting was lost to him.

    • Hank

      Exactly Hezekiah!

      Our mission is to preserve the life and soul of all people, but also to protect the innocent. When protecting the innocent involves taking the life of the guilty, it is a tragedy, but in many cases it must be done. We should weep over the loss of a fellow human, and his lack of final repentance, and we should beg for God’s unlimited mercy to shine upon him.

  • Hank

    P.S.—Good man Mark. Your constant willingness to humbly admit your error is just another reason why I love your blog.

    God bless.

  • Kirt Higdon

    Excellent post! Killing someone like that man is sometimes a sad necessity but that makes it even more important to pray for his soul and for those of his victims – who included, BTW, two Moslem paratroopers, according to French President Sarkozy.

    • John C

      Not gonna pray for this guy. It would be inhuman and perverse. Why do you try to mitigate the actions of evil men?

      • Mark Shea

        So “love your enemies and pray for them” doesn’t count here? Jesus can be safely ignored on this point?

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        What do you need mitigated, in that case?

  • Charles E Flynn

    People who apologize for publishing what they believe to be wrong, take down the posting, and issue an explanation are the kind of people who read Mark Shea.

  • Observer

    The Church’s view is Salvation. There is Salvation for the innocent souls who may carry the weight and burden of anger, anguish, and the torment following the absence of love to this man causing an eclipse in hope, love, and faith. When Christ appears to them and they stand before Him, He will have so much love and mercy to take away all the sinful atrocity which befell these people (and with such love there will be no moment for them to worry.) As St. Padre Pio said, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

    The Church’s view is inclusive Salvation (all souls deserve baptism because Christ gained it for us in a love for which none of us can say we are worthy.) Therefore, the man who did this wicked and terrible atrocity will have to answer to Him Who is full of compassion and love. If the man shall look at Christ in the eye and be an unrepentant sinner even aided by the grace of prayer and the love of God, then he has the absolute choice to choose not to love Him. And that will be a sad end and tragedy.

    Remember, “…Thy will be done….forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

    The first two commandments: “Love Thy God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

    You cannot redfine love. God is love (not the other way around nor what one wants to make God out of that love for which jeopardizes the souls eternal resting in full love with his Creator.)

  • Kirt Higdon

    BTW, we don’t know whether or not the murderer repented in that last instant between life and death. For that matter, we don’t know whether ignorance or some uncontrolable insane passion over-rode his ability to form the necessary intent for mortal sin. Our Lord prayed for his own murderers, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” Because only God knows these things and we don’t, it is important to pray for the dead and the living and most important to pray for extreme evil-doers.

  • Irenist

    Bravo, Mr. Shea. Your example helps me stay Catholic. Thank you.

  • Peggy R

    Good job, Mark!

    I thought that post sounded so off-kilter for you.

    God bless you this Lent.

    • Mark Shea

      Murdering children has that effect on me.

      • Peggy R

        I can appreciate that of course.

  • Devra

    I was surprised to see it, and not especially surprised to see the retraction. I disagree with you about a small minority of things but keep coming back–and I speak as a mother of 8 who doesn’t have a whole lot of time for blog-reading–because your willingness to apologize and retract when it’s the right thing to do is so very rare.