Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fr. Barron has come challenging things to say about the late Christopher Hitchens

For me?  I was sad when he died.  We prayed for him when he died and when I learned that he had cancer.  I had prayed for him before and encouraged my sons to do likewise.  I sometimes enjoyed listening to him.  But I leave it there.  I think sometimes we recognize past hate through the clear lens of history better than present hatred through the cloudy mirror of the present. 

Was Christopher Hitchens passionate?  Sure.  Did he have a sense of Justice?  Seems to have had a sense of justice for someone.  Was he an interesting person?  Yeah, anyone with a British accent scores 10 bonus points on the interesting scale to an American. 

But he was part of a movement that increasingly took the same hate and rage and contempt that we so easily condemn in others - Nazis, puritans, witch trials, whatever - and applied it to a new round of folks today.  Just because someone is hating on the latest, hippest, doesn't mean we should shrug our shoulders and say 'oh well'.  Just because Hermann Göring loved model railroads and making model ships, doesn't mean we overlook the other parts of his life. 

I get what Fr. Barron is saying, and in some ways agree.  But I was also a little hesitant to join the 'we love Hitchens - what a great guy!' bandwagon that followed his death.  In that we are called to love our enemies, I can say I tried to love Hitchens.  But no matter how well he wrote, how witty he was, how interesting he appeared, I never, ever forgot that I was trying to love an enemy.  

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