Cardinal Sean O'Malley celebrated Mass at Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston today. In his homily he said it was difficult to understand “what demons were operative” in the minds of brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or their politics “or the perversion of their religion.” Speaking with reporters after the Mass, the cardinal said he would oppose the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect. From the Los Angeles Times:
“It was amazing to witness, however, how much goodness and generosity were evidenced in our community as a result of this tragedy,” he said. "We have certainly experienced a surge in civic awareness, and a sense of community as a result of the tragedy this week. Our challenge is to keep this spirit of community alive going forward. As people of faith we must commit ourselves to the task of community building."
After reflecting on aspects of the lives of the Tsarnaev brothers that have been reported, O’Malley said that the “individualism and alienation of our age has spawned a culture of death.”
He decried actions that “have coarsened us and made us more insensitive to the pain and suffering of others,” citing abortion as “just one indication of how human life has been devalued,” as well as violence in entertainment. He also chastised Congress for its inability to pass stricter gun control laws, calling it “emblematic of the pathology of our violent culture."
"It is only a culture of life and an ethic of love that can rescue us from the senseless violence that inflicts so much suffering on society,” he said.
O’Malley also told hundreds who attended the 11:30 a.m. service that they should be people “of reconciliation, not revenge,” and that the Tsarnaevs' alleged crimes should not be justification for prejudice against Muslims and immigrants.
Speaking with reporters after the Mass, O’Malley said he would oppose the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is now hospitalized after a standoff with police that ended in his capture Friday night.
“Forgiveness does not mean that we do not realize the heinousness of the crime. But in our own hearts when we are unable to forgive we make ourselves a victim of our own hatred,” he said. “Obviously as a Catholic I oppose the death penalty, which I think is one further manifestation of the culture of death in our midst.”
(Read the rest of the Los Angeles Times story here)
Here's a video of Cardinal Sean's homily:
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