Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead. Should we rejoice?

He was an evil man. He did terrible things and he openly induced others to follow his murderous ways. Because he lived, many others are dead.

Now, he's dead. Should we rejoice?

"Over the last several years, no single person on this planet has had the blood of more innocent men, women, and children on his hands than Zarqawi, who personified the dark, sadistic, medieval vision of the future." — Donald Rumsfield

He no longer has vision. Should we rejoice?

"Today is a happy day for the Iraqi people….he was the prince of terrorism and encouraged sectarian strife." — Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari

The prince no longer lives. Should we rejoice?

Almost everything in me says yes. But the affirmative answer comes to my mouth so quickly and passionately I know I must stop and think: Why am I pleased? Where does this emotion come from? It comes, of course, from my heart.

That's where all passions come from. Some are good and some are bad. And the combination of the two is what makes us who we are. If his own words and actions are indicative, Zarqawi's heart boiled over with passions of hatred, pride, anger, vanity, and vile of every other kind. Having rejected virtue and chosen vice, we could say his soul was black. None of that is good.

And I don't want any of that in me. That's why I stop and think. I can rejoice today because a man's evil acts have come to a halt. I can applaud military men for stopping an aggressor. I can even celebrate justice. But I can never allow myself to gloat in the destruction of another human being.

Last week, we said war was messy. Today, we say it again.

I've got to run. I'll be on “DaySide” today to discuss this same issue. I'll try to have the video posted here on the blog later today.

God bless, Father Jonathan

Video: Is it okay to cheer? — Father Jonathan on "DaySide"

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