I have not wanted to post on this topic for various reasons, including waiting until the shock and awe of it all settled down. The tragic news of 12 people being shot down in a theater near Denver last week has left us all stunned at the evil that is all too evident in this incident.
God did not create death. It is the result of sin and its effects. It is the sure sign of evil and Satan at work. God is the master of death, for it has no hold on him.
I am not saying that the perpetrator of this crime is evil. I am not judging his soul or the complexity of his condition. I am speaking of his actions and his behavior. Actions and behavior do not define the person and because of this he too is a child of God and is loved by God as such.
I am judging his behavior, though. We must render judgment on it. If we do not, then we avoid the truth and in doing that, we avoid facing the reality of evil which must be condemned.
A colleague of mine this noon asked me whether I thought the perpetrator was mentally ill. Others are attributing this atrocity to what they see as lax gun laws. Others will no doubt be looking at this young man’s parents or others in authority and see root causes there. We always seem to reflexively turn to these to find cause and blame. I don’t think it does any good to do so, except to excuse ourselves from sharing in responsibility for this tragedy.
I believe that we all share responsibility for such occurrences in this way: We fail to root out evil in our own lives, we fail to speak the truth to others in failing to call evil evil when it exists, and we avoid our own need for conversion.
I know that seems harsh…. perhaps it is, but the question upon which we need to reflect in all seriousness is, “Have I turned from evil and embraced good? Have I made use frequently of the sources of grace I need in the sacraments to help me on my road to conversion, and have I spoken openly about this to whomever I meet?”
The corresponding question becomes, “Do I love the sinner enough to welcome him and to challenge him to mutual repentance?”
Let us pray for all the victims and their families. Yes, let us also pray for the perpetrator of this evil crime.