Violence and War

+ Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney
28 Apr 2013

In the evening of Anzac Day Australian Catholics in Rome gathered at Mass to pray for the dead in the Chapel at Domus Australia.

The preacher explained how the moral consensus today has collapsed with people no longer agreeing on what we mean by courage and justice, sometimes even by right and wrong.

Today the danger comes more from random violence than from nationally sponsored wars, despite the dangerous nonsense that regularly comes out of North Korea.

What bizarre concepts of right and wrong inspired the terrorists who killed and wounded totally innocent victims in the Boston Marathon?

Traditional Christians believe in a supernatural spirit of evil, regularly known as the devil.  I don't like to use this term because it conjures up images of a small mischievous animal with a pitchfork!

Pope Francis caused a small commotion by mentioning the devil a couple of times in his first sermon as pope.  Some claimed to me that the numbers at confession have increased both in the United States and Ireland after the sermon.  I think the English Christian writer C.S. Lewis was right when he explained that Satan was happiest when people rejected the notion of a supernatural evil force as old fashioned nonsense.

When hate enters the hearts, even of victims and then begins to fester and worsen through evil actions, one spirit of evil can be followed by seven more.  Fanatics who consider it proper to kill and maim innocent people have been captured by the spirit of evil, the eyes of their hearts blinded by hate and their moral compasses totally destroyed.

Civilized countries have the theory of the just war to prevent the government sanctioned violence from degenerating into chaos.  On many occasions these principles are ignored.

Some weeks ago I wrote about the mayhem and violence in Syria.  The kidnapping of the two Orthodox bishops demonstrated vividly that the situation has worsened.  Mayhem is everywhere.

Uncontrollable fanatical and fundamentalist groups are looting and killing, while Wahhabi money means mercenaries can earn $1,000 a day.  The pay is also good for attendance at demonstrations.

Most of the victims are Muslims, but 400,000 Syrian Christians are displaced or in exile.   Many Iraqis who fled to Syria have been driven out again.  One can only imagine the pain and trauma which accompany those catastrophes.

In Syria the spirit of evil is thriving.  Law is collapsing and chaos is spreading.  It will probably get still worse.