Saturday, March 19, 2022

Suddenly it's fine to pray for someone's death

In this case, Christianity Today lets us know that praying for Putin to kick the bucket and do so quickly can be a right biblical thing to do.

Here's my thing.  I know from a purely historical, traditional, pre-modern Judeo-Christian understanding of Creation and salvation, such an attitude could be, and was sometimes, advocated.  My problem is, since I've been a Christian, at no time have mainstream Christians condoned such attitudes.  Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or Christianity Today. 

In fact, when people cheered for the death of Osama bin Laden, more than a few Christian leaders and pundits and publications bemoaned such attitudes.  We pray for people, we don't cheer when they die.  We certainly don't pray they die.  God loves everyone.  All can be saved.  We end the death penalty because this life and salvation are practically the same.  We no more pray for someone's death than we say it's good to execute them because it forces their hand on reconciling with the Almighty.

And on and on.  But the greatest thing about modernity, especially as incarnate in the political Left, is its 'here today, gone later today' approach to principles, ethics, standards and anything else you want. So you heard it said yesterday that it's entirely unchristian to pray that someone should die? Well by the sacred dogma of progress, today we say that it's perfectly acceptable  to pray for someone to die since it's today, and it's convenient. 

Again, I'm not saying the debate was settled.  I'm not saying there were never arguments from parts of the church advocating for the old ninja warrior approach to our faith, including death penalties and praying that the Hitlers of the world meet with an untimely end.

I'm saying those Christian outlets that tried to stay relevant to our modern sensitivities  - and that was the bulk of most mainstream traditions - tended dispense with those olden ways. Often they outright condemned such thinking.  Even now, I'm trying to recall anyone of credible worth arguing that modern, 20th Century Christians should pray for the death of someone.  

I know, I know.  The article is very agreeable in its tone.  It's careful.  It's cautious.  It's trying to not come out and say it directly and with gusto that we should gleefully petition Heaven for Putin's quick entry into the netherworld.  But its attempt to open up this possibility when I'm at pains to think of anyone mainstream coming close since I've been a Christian, shows just how almost anything we took for granted is on the chopping block.  Even if it's topics Christians were forced by the world to reconsider being reconsidered again because the world says so. 

My private prayer?  That after several generations of Christians trying to modify the Faith to keep up with the Joneses, we'll stop it.  It hasn't worked well, and the world has shown itself to be a rather fickle and unreliable guide. 


  1. It's simple: Just because people use the same symbols and names as Christians does not mean they worship the Christian God. That applies to Santeria. That applies to Westboro Baptist Church. It applies, clearly enough, to Tish Warren. The only difference between her and a member of Westboro Baptist Church is that she has Facebook and Google and McDonald's on her side.

    The sins that are most serious to a society are the sins that most people, especially the rich and the powerful, accept and celebrate. The world is not always wrong, but it is as untrustworthy as the flesh and the devil, which should give us pause when we find ourselves doing something of which the world -- especially the rich and powerful -- approves.

    I would even take that to include the upcoming consecration of Russia and Ukraine.

    Was this called for at Fatima? Well, setting aside that Fatima is private revelation and not binding (which a WHOLE LOT of people forget), we have been endlessly reassured that the last (at the time) surviving seer, Sr. Lúcia, had said the consecration fulfilled Our Lady's request. So, sorry, this has no relation to Fatima.

    Now any such consecration is, in itself, something good, though much less good than a CONVERSION, which is much harder on everyone and which basically no one seems to be working towards. The problem is that this seems to be too much in line with the "trinity" of Facebook, Google, and McDonald's, and all they stand for. Nothing like this was done when the US bombed Serbia, or when the US invaded Iraq, or when Catholic countries began allowing abortion, gay marriage, and all the other perversions that the West and big American companies rejoice in. “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners SO THAT OTHERS MAY SEE THEM. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward." "Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God?"

    But at least the consecration, though its motives are probably tainted, is a good thing. Praying for death -- not peace, not conversion of those we think are doing wrong (and of us and our friends while we're at it) -- praying for death is solidly Westboro Baptist Church material.

    I do not put much stock in midrashim, but there is one I think is to the point. "The Egyptians were drowning in the sea. At the same time, the angels wanted to sing before God, and the Lord, God, said to them: 'My creations are drowning and you are singing before me?'" ( Of course, there is Proverbs 24:17,18 as well.

    1. The consecration that fulfilled Our Lady's request was the one in 1984.

  2. '"If any man desires to obtain a long life, if he would obtain a faithful messenger and see the blood of his enemies, it is necessary that he should first go into the city of Chorazin, and there salute the prince...." Here there was an erasure of one word, not very thoroughly done, so that Mr. Wraxall felt pretty sure that he was right in reading it as aëris ("of the air"). But there was no more of the text copied, only a line in Latin: "Quære reliqua hujus materiei inter secretiora" (See the rest of this matter among the more private things).'

    That's from "Count Magnus" by M. R. James. It's fiction, but theologically informed fiction, and it correctly identifies to whom requests "to see the blood of his enemies" are really addressed.

  3. I do not want praying for someone's death on my soul. Full stop.

    1. I'm with you on that. I don't have it in me to ask the Almighty to do what I'm unwilling to do with my own hands.


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