How hatred twists a person

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.

St. John Mary Vianney, ora pro nobis

Today, 4 August is the feast day of St. John Mary Vianney, the patron saint of all priests and confessors. His life is an example of man being elevated to do the work that God calls him to do, that no task is impossible for us if God gives it to us. So today, let’s pray for all our priests, that they too may be able to perform the work that God has entrusted to them.

“All Good Works together are not of equal value with the sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the works of men, and the holy Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison; it is the sacrifice that man makes of his life to God; the Mass is the sacrifice that God makes to man of His Body and of His Blood. Oh, how great is a priest! if he understood himself he would die. . . . God obeys him; he speaks two words, and Our Lord comes down from Heaven at his voice, and shuts Himself up in a little Host. God looks upon the altar. “That is My well-beloved Son, ” He says, “in whom I am well-pleased. ” He can refuse nothing to the merits of the offering of this Victim. If we had faith, we should see God hidden in the priest like a light behind a glass, like wine mingled with water.”

– from a Cathechesis on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass