Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fr Francis Tiso: "We risk becoming ruthless warmongers when we celebrate death"

I have been reluctant to comment on the death of Bin Laden. he folks who are sharing their concerns about the impact on the minds of people of the "celebrations" are on the right track. In my opinion, we run the risk of making ourselves into ruthless warmongers when we celebrate a death like this.

Although the crusades of the Middle Ages came after four centuries of aggression on the part of the various Muslim states (and was therefore classifiable as a series of just wars), these wars hardened and coarsened European civilization. We have paid the price of that coarsening in a series of absurd wars among European states going on for nearly a thousand years. It made feudalism into a system that glorified not virtue but war making (I still think feudalism in its pure form is virtuous, but then again I work in a feudal castle every day- in the parish of Fornelli, the historic center of which is a 1000 year old castle, where I try to be non-violent!).

We cannot (because it makes no theological sense) and must not (because it ruins us morally) invoke the narrative of "God fights on our side" if we plan to remain virtuous. That goes for Christians as well as Muslims and everyone else too. But then it is said that we are living "after virtue"...

It would now be virtuous, and in fact wise, for us to put an end to these expensive and useless military interventions that imperil not only our virtue but our entire economy and the freedoms that sustain our way of life.

In the end, I still fundamentally believe that non-violence motivates us toward the virtuous life and the civilization of love. When I say 'motivates', I mean that the difficulty of living non-violently is precisely the hard edge against which we must test our presumtion of virtue in order to make sure we are not fooling ourselves.

- Fr. Francis Tiso on Facebook

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