Catholic World News

Florida: controversy over Mass intention for repose of bin Laden’s soul

May 18, 2011

A Florida parish priest has decided to accept a Mass intention for repose of Osama bin Laden’s soul, provoking controversy in his parish.

“I think it's totally wrong, he doesn't belong in the Catholic religion. For what he did to Americans, he doesn't belong anywhere,” said one parishioner. “It's unconscionable, it's sacrilegious.”

“Their hearts are troubled because they're thinking emotionally about what he has done, and he has done a lot of evil,” said Father Gavin Badway, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church in West Palm Beach. “Nevertheless, Jesus tells us, love and forgive.”

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  • Posted by: tony2311 - May. 22, 2011 6:03 AM ET USA

    AgnesDay is right. Duns Scotus would have a point if you had given OBL a chance to repent. The overzealous SEALs had no intention of capturing him alive. Why did the US develop the Taser if it wasn't going to deploy it in such an appropriate situation! A few prayers at Mass are the least you can do to atone for such rough justice. Father Gavin is a pleasing alternative to the gleeful, vengeful face the US has so far shown to those of us outside your country.

  • Posted by: Duns Scotus - May. 19, 2011 7:54 PM ET USA

    AgnesDay says let's be better than OBL. Indeed, let's, but, frankly, I get a whiff of pride from all these calls for praying for OBL. To wit: Look how holy we are. We pray for and forgive OBL. This is a far cry from "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," and Jesus IS the Holiest of all! Pray for OBL, if you will but know why you are so praying and do so in private, lest public prayers unintentionally minimize the unrepented of evil he did.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - May. 19, 2011 8:29 AM ET USA

    Everyone, baptized or not, has a soul made in the image and likeness of God. There is no restriction on prayers and Masses offered for the repose of a soul. Let's be better than Bin Laden. We have been given better.

  • Posted by: unum - May. 19, 2011 6:54 AM ET USA

    What would Jesus do? He would certainly hate the sin and love the sinner. Christ was not a PR man, but the Church seems to have gotten caught up in our culture's fascination with the media.

  • Posted by: New Sister - May. 19, 2011 2:03 AM ET USA

    Licit as it may be, it was imprudent for this priest to name a regular daily Mass for this intention. He could have offered Holy Mass in private...preferably ad orientem, Father.

  • Posted by: Obregon - May. 19, 2011 12:24 AM ET USA

    I don't remember any sane priest, after World War II, praying for the eternal repose of Hitler.

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - May. 18, 2011 9:10 PM ET USA

    Others here have said it far better than I could - this pastor is right. Not as we think, but as our Lord commanded must we pray for even the souls of our enemies.

  • Posted by: rpp - May. 18, 2011 7:27 PM ET USA

    When I was in RCIA in 2003 and taught how the pray the Rosary, I recall learning the Fatima prayer. Whenever I prayed that, one of the people I envisioned as I prayed it was bin Laden. As a reminder, let me quote that part of the prayer: ... and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in MOST NEED OF THY MERCY." While I think the world is a better place with him gone, as Christians, we must pray for our enemies. And not just for their death!

  • Posted by: - May. 18, 2011 6:34 PM ET USA

    As emotionally difficult as it may be to pray for our enemies, we are to pray for them and to forgive them. Bravo to my brother priest, Father Gavin, for the example of Christian charity, not as WE think it ought to be given, but as our Lord commanded. Let's all of us pray for the deceased and for their salvation, and let us pray for Father Gavin, and for his parishioners that the love and mercy of our Lord may enlighten them at this time.

  • Posted by: Saint Jimbob of the Apokalypse - May. 18, 2011 9:38 AM ET USA

    I think this would qualify as "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," (Matthew 5:44) but my reading of this particular passage might be flawed. I would hope and pray for the conversion of the most heinous of villains.

  • Posted by: - May. 18, 2011 8:08 AM ET USA

    Pardon my ignorance, but don't you have to be baptized to qualify for Mass intentions like that?