Staunch atheist Christopher Hitchens, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this summer, will launch a nasty attack on – among others – Pope Benedict XVI, Catholic Culture reports. In an upcoming essay he writes, “Will I really not live long enough … to read – if not indeed write – the obituaries of elderly criminals like […] Joseph Ratzinger?” Such attacks are not uncommon from Hitchens, who has made a career out of such things, not hindered by any kind of factual support.
What is especially galling is the pure hatred that is evident behind these remarks. Even if, hypothetically, the pope were an ‘elderly criminal’, Hitchens’ thirst for blood should be cause for concern. The hate that Hitchens and people like him seem to experience against people who do not share their views and philosophies makes them incapable of any form of rational thought. They seem to descend into the instinctive emotional response. Death, pain, suffering, because it’s the easy solution for perceived misdeeds. And if the person in question is innocent? Well, he’s dead (through character assassination or actual death), so how can he complain?
How did many of the Catholics (at least the sensible ones) I read and follow on social networks respond to the news of Hitchens’ illness? They expressed sorrow at the news, offered prayer for a cure. They certainly did not express hope if a quick death (or a long and painful one) or said it was good riddance. Still, these are lone voices n the wilderness, while Hitchens sells the books.
Hate is a powerful force in this world.