Wednesday, June 24, 2015

DYLANN ROOF AND THE REACTION OF THE CHURCH, CLERGY AND LAITY, TO HIM

Dylann Roof is an immature, disordered kid, a punk and a criminal. He's a 22 year old drop out from high school having repeated the 9th grade a few times before he quit.  He is a mass murderer and in justice must stand trial for his crime and pay the price. While I am opposed to the death penalty as are many in the Church, in South Carolina, Dylann may well receive it for his crimes.

But for the Catholic Church, do we see scum and a worm like creature, a wretch?  No, we are not Lutherans. We are Catholic. We see a person created in the image and likeness of God, though disfigured by Original sin and the disorders this produces in individuals and the world in general.

We see a sinner in need of salvation no matter what the State of South Carolina decides to do with him after his trial and presuming he is found guilty.

I was listening to the famous Father Jonathan Morris who often appears on FOX news and has his own call-in radio show on Mondays on Catholic Radio.

He really degraded Dylann. Fr. Jonathan sounded like a Lutheran.  But if Fr. Morris was a prison chaplain, how would he reach out to Dylann? How should the Church, meaning clergy and laity reach out to people like Dylann, especially through prison ministry? Do we push them further into the muck of their sins like putting a dog's face into his business done in the home or do we wash them clean with the grace of mercy recognizing they must still face what the state will do to them?

Shouldn't the Church use the language of compassion and outreach rather than the crude language of disordered society? Wasn't the sister of one of the victims murdered on the right track when she confronted Dylann with what his despicable crimes have done to so many and then ultimately offered him the healing words of "I forgive you"?

Sounds to me like "love the sinner; hate the sin." Isn't that what we are called to do even in the most difficult of situations?

20 comments:

rcg said...

Our modern society makes it difficult to preempt a sin. If the boy was showing signs of violence or fascination with violent philosophies people around him may have felt inhibited to say or do anything. That is what we need to correct and what is the most dangerous doctrine being tested in modern times by our governments. We tend to conceive of thought police as telling us not to think the thoughts that drove the boy to violence rather than telling us that what others think is none of our business. The latter is more insidious and easier to manage for the controllers and is what enabled the young man to do what he did. And are the cords that are tightening on our society every day.

qwikness said...

I have heard family of victims immediately say they forgive a culprit of their actions. Immediately, almost robotically, like they know they're supposed to say that because they are Christians. But shouldn't they forgive only if asked for forgiveness? What if the culprit isn't sorry. Does he deserve forgiveness? Is the forgiveness in vain if the guilty shuns it?

Dialogue said...

Our Black brothers and sisters feel unwanted and threatened in their own nation. Advocating for justice and peace, with them and on their behalf, should be the first priority of pastoral leaders.

As for Whites, we seem fond of publicly renouncing racism and racists, and describing how incomprehensible the whole thing is to us. Convinced that it's "not our fault", we take no steps to build a racial culture of repentance and reconciliation.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Obviously a Catholic in mortal sin does not recieve forgiveness unless he asks for it in confession.

However, in Jesus' ministry, and as a foretaste of what will happen in a cosmic way on the Cross, forgives sinners even when they do not ask for it. "Your sins are forgiven, pick up your mat and walk." No where did the paralyzed man ask to have his sin forgiven, but Jesus did it anyway and united forgiveness to the physical miraculous healing.

Jdj said...

RCG: "Our modern society mKes it difficult to preempt..."
Absolutely true! I would love to believe that adult people who witnessed the young perpetrator in his formative years would have tried to intervene at some point. If not the divorced parents, then perhaps his teachers? Our second daughter actually teaches in the public school district where this young man lived. She has taught both Middle and High School in Lexington One. She says that teachers are constantly trying to notify their appropriate resource higher-ups of problem kids, but are often ignored until something horrible and/or illegal occurs. She has often remarked that teaching middle to high school aged kids is more a mission/ministry than a professional job.

Administrators these days tend not to confront, but rather to placate. They are not in the business of supporting teachers, but rather adding to their already heavy work-loads with sometimes crushing after-hours committee assignments and projects. If you're not Involved in some way, you really wouldn't believe what goes on nowadays...

qwikness said...

I see what you mean but this is talking about forgiveness from a family member. I think I would have to see a real honest apology and sorrow before I could forgive. This guy is obviously got some things he's dealing with and he has to confront that and then feel the guilt and repentance. I think I would be willing to forgive but not able to do it until they did express sorrow. Like grace, it is a gift offered but does not have to accepted. Dylann Roof may not accept the forgiveness. If the paralyzed man did not accept the grace of forgiveness, would he still be paralyzed?

Lefebvrian said...

As someone who has worked with many, many people accused of and convicted of murder (oftentimes resulting in death sentences), I have noticed a certain pattern of dysfunction, to one level or another, that began at an early age and either caused or exacerbated some mental health disorder.

Obviously, we know that murder is always intrinsically evil and objectively gravely sinful. What we can never know is the state of mind that resulted in someone's committing a murder. Our Blessed Lord, however, knows precisely everyone's state of mind, their motivations, and their illnesses, mental and otherwise.

As a society, does evidence of mitigating factors necessarily dictate a reduced punishment or mean that death shouldn't be imposed? That is a political question. As Christians, even when someone does the most heinous acts, we should look for reasons to excuse their behavior so that we may more easily come to forgive.

It turns out, in my experience, that once a thorough investigation is done, there is always plentiful evidence that provides a background narrative that at least explains the behavior to some extent. Obviously, I don't think that this should be viewed in a deterministic fashion, but to a certain extent, we are formed by our experiences and our thought processes, both physical and otherwise.

rcg said...

Fr, I may be wrong, but the man on the mat must have communicated his belief and contrition to the ones who carried him to our Lord. And as with all confession the Lord knew it was in his heart when he forgave the sins first before the mere ability to walk. The emphasis, in scripture, is the ones that were contrite and humble in some fashion who were healed. I don't recall an example of Christ healing otherwise.

So death bed conversions and confessions absolve because only the Lord can actually know our hearts.

Dialogue said...

The need to build a culture of justice and peace, in which Southern Black families can thrive and feel safe, forces us to address the issue of sub-nationalism (e.g. the Battle Flag issue). White Southerners, while rightly repenting of the sin of racism, still feel a sense of fraternity with our fellow Southerners (which could even include native Blacks), just like other sub-national and ethnic groups. There's nothing exceptional about this, and even the distant descendants of the Irish and Italians, for example, despite being born and raised in the USA, often claim allegiance to their sub-national/ethnic identities, without controversy.

White Southerners are largely descended from the various nations of the British Isles, but our forefathers revolted against any lingering affinity to those lands and peoples. What, then, is the ethnicity/sub-nationality of the White Southerner? To what extent can it be rightly expressed and celebrated? To what extent should it be rightly suppressed for its clear associations with ongoing oppression and murder?

Angry Augustinian said...

Dialogue, why do you suppose they feel unwanted…could it possibly be because they riot and burn cities and destroy property every chance they get? I do not think it is blacks who feel threatened…one crazy committing a heinous crime is not a blanket threat…but, I know many whites who feel threatened by blacks…or at least oppressed by this ridiculously pampered and tolerated minority.

Angry Augustinian said...

I like regionalism, sub-nationalism, and individualism. These things protect us from the idiocies of globalism, egalitarianism, and socialism. So, fly your Confederate flags, buy your wife or girlfriend a Confederate flag bathing suit, shoot guns, drive trucks and go mud bogging, go deer hunting and catfish fishing, celebrate Irish, Scottish, Polish, and Italian heritage, make a lot of money, vote Republican or Libertarian, stop watching Leftist propaganda on network TV, don't allow your kids to watch Disney crap, celebrate your Southern heritage…eat cornbread, fried chicken, collards, drink moonshine and Jack Daniels, get rowdy, sing songs that make liberals angry, teach your kids to shoot, turn every light in the house on and crank up your diesel on "Earth Day," and make fun of liberals every chance you get. The more oppressive their stupid policies and prejudices get, try to make them even angrier. Meanwhile, do some prepping, stay focused, buy guns and ammo, and have fun. Libs are sissies and wimps, but they are dangerous when in power.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of an article in the Catholic newsweekly a year or so ago by Fr. Owen Campion, recounting the notorious Hans Frank, the Nazi governor-general of occupied Poland, which he ruled with extreme cruelty. He was among the dozen or so Nazis tried at Nuremberg in 1945-1946 for war crimes. Father (or rather, I think, Monsignor) Campion recalled Frank's embrace, maybe return to/of Catholicism during his captivity, going to Mass as allowed while in jail. Frank was sentenced to death and his last words before being hung were "My Jesus, Mercy!" Msgr. Campion's point was that God does not ever give up on us on this earth, not even for the most sinful, heinous people, I suppose going back to the Book of Romans: "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Roof I think was Lutheran, of whom, surprisingly, there are a fairly large number in the Columbia, SC area (Lutherans usually more associated with the Midwest). Even if sentenced to death, he'll have years before that happens to repent, which hopefully he will do.

Anonymous 2 said...


Jolly Angry can really wax eloquent when he’s mad, soooo mad.

Anonymous 2 said...

For some reason Jolly Angry’s “call to arms” reminds me of Governor Roy Barnes’ Flag Speech addressed the Georgia House on January 24, 2001:

I am a Southerner.

My wife is named May-REE.

I like collard greens with fried streak-o-lean, catfish tails and all, fried green tomatoes, cat head biscuits and red eye gravy.

My heart swells with pride when I see a football game on a crisp fall Saturday.
I still cry when I hear Amazing Grace.

My great-grandfather was captured at Vicksburg fighting for the Confederacy, and I still visit his grave in the foothills of Gilmer County.

I am proud of him.

But I am also proud that we have come so far that my children find it hard to believe that we ever had segregated schools or separate water fountains labeled "white" and "colored."

And I am proud that these changes came about because unity prevailed over division.
Today, that same effort and energy of unity must be exercised again.

The Confederate Battle Flag occupies two-thirds of our current state flag.

Some argue that it is a symbol of segregation, defiance, and white supremacy. Others that it is a testament to a brave and valiant people who were willing to die to defend their homes and hearth.

I am not here to settle this argument because no one can but I am here because it is time to end it.

To end it before it divides us into warring camps, before it reverses four decades of economic growth and progress, before it deprives Georgia of its place of leadership in other words before it does irreparable harm to the future we want to leave for our children.

As Governor Vandiver said four decades ago this month:

"That is too big a price to pay for inaction. The time has come when we must act act in Georgia's interest act in the future interest of Georgia's youth."

And, as Denmark Groover Governor Marvin Griffin's floor leader and the man who assured adoption of the current flag in 1956 told the Rules Committee this morning:
"This is the most divisive issue in the political spectrum, and it must be put to rest."

Denmark Groover is right. It is time to put this issue to rest and to do so in the spirit of compromise.








Anonymous said...

The way Barnes tried to put it to rest, well, did not put it to rest. He basically told Democrats to say nothing about it during the 2000 election cycle (redistricting was coming up in 2001-2002, so he presumably could "fix" the districts of vulnerable Democrats). Then, with no advance notice, his House Rules Committee voted on it early in the morning, then the full House did so that afternoon (and later the Senate). No meetings, no public hearings, no seeking of input from the public. No public input even on the design of the (then) new flag, which was an ugly flag designed in secret (some labled it the "Dennys Doormat" flag). It aroused a lot of anger in rural Georgia, and paved the way basically for what we now have in Georgia---a mostly black Democratic party, a mostly white Republican party---a situation that will probably continue well into the next decade. (Barnes had other liabilities in his 2002 re-election besides the flag--rigged redistricting maps which were later overturned in court and an educational reform bill that riled teachers, traditionally a Democratic-voting bloc.) "Transparency" was not a feature of that administration.

Sonny Perdue, his successor, arranged for a 2004 referendum, which featured the old Barnes flag and another Confederate version (without the old stars and bars). The Perdue version passed by nearly a 3-1 margin at the polls. The "flaggers" (those that wanted the old 56 flag back) pounded Perdue on the issue, but he won re-election by a landslide 20 points in 2006 over Democrat Mark Taylor.

The question then becomes, where does this end? Down with Stone Mountain here in Atlanta with its carvings of Lee, Jackson and Davis? Rename Georgia counties with Confederate connections or ties to slaveholding presidents? Change the names of streets? Military installations? State parks? Schools?

Meanwhile, in Georgia each year, perhaps 15,000 black babies are killed in our abortion mills---a disproportionate number---over half---of abortions in Georgia are black. The day of the Charleston killings last week, perhaps 40 abortions were performed on black women, and yet not a peep from black legislators, ministers or the NAACP. Not a word---if pressed, they will meekly say it is a choice.


Angry Augustinian said...

Also, not one black leader is addressing black on black crime or the black looting and burning of cities.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous:

I reproduced the extract from Governor Barnes’s address for the sentiment expressed and the goal articulated not the means used to achieve it. This said, it must be conceded that the design of the Barnes flag was just dreadful. It must also be conceded that there was no opportunity for public debate and that Barnes paid the price in a backlash at the polls that was significantly driven by the flag issue. However, there were also some noble reasons for Barnes’s “blitzkrieg” strategy. Perhaps it can be conceded too that Barnes demonstrated political courage in assuming the risk of political suicide. Thus, according to one favorable narrative:

“In January 2001, in his first term as governor of Georgia, Roy Barnes succeeded where his predecessors had failed, winning the state legislature’s approval for a new state flag that minimized the prominence of the Confederate battle emblem, which had long been a focus of intense political conflict in the American South. Barnes undertook the effort quietly and without fanfare, hoping to spare his fellow Georgians an incendiary public debate over the politics of race, the history of slavery and the heritage of the Confederacy.


While Barnes had every reason to suspect that a protracted public dialogue about the flag would stoke the fires of racial politics in Georgia, he also knew his efforts to make the change, however careful, might have political consequences for him. His advisers urged him to delay action on the flag until after he had been safely re-elected. He refused, and the new flag was raised amid controversy and over the objection of vocal, pro-heritage ‘flaggers.’


In the fall of 2002, Barnes lost his bid for re-election to an opponent who made the flag change a centerpiece of his campaign, promising Georgians a public referendum on the new flag. Many political observers believe the flag contributed to Barnes’s defeat. The flag controversy persisted after Barnes left office; the Georgia legislature voted to take down Barnes’s flag and paved the way for a public referendum on yet another flag design. In March 2004, the newest flag, which does not bear the Confederate battle emblem, won a non-binding vote by three-to-one margin over Barnes’s flag. It now flies over the Georgia capitol.”


See http://www.jfklibrary.org/Events-and-Awards/Profile-in-Courage-Award/Award-Recipients/Roy-Barnes-2003.aspx?t=1

Regarding the slippery slope you fear, I suggested on another thread that flags seem to be a distinctive symbol. If they weren’t, why are some commenters so upset about the issue? And why do so many people become upset at the thought of desecrating Old Glory? Moreover, flags can become an ubiquitously visible personal symbol in way that other memorials cannot. Can you imagine Jolly Angry wearing a statue of Jefferson Davis, a state park, or Stone Mountain at the beach?



Anonymous 2 said...

Jolly Angry Today:

Regarding the charge that Black leaders ignore black on black crime, see, for example

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman/ct-black-crime-ferguson-sharpton-jason-riley-steve-20140820-column.html

The two relevant fundamental questions are:

(1) What are the causes?

(2) What are the remedies?

Bee said...

My favorite TV genre are the true crime shows like Forensic Files, American Justice, Cold Case Files and others like them. What I have learned from watching these shows is that crime and criminals are ubiquitous. These people kill, maim, steal, and destroy, sometimes for the flimsiest motives. Typically they're not remorseful. Often their crimes are planned or at least they have thought about how to commit crime. They lie when caught. And they most times deny the magnitude of the evil they have done.

Dylann Roof, instead of being just a criminal who committed a criminal act, is a symbol: a symbol of white America hating blacks; or maybe a symbol white (Christian) Southerners hating blacks, or the horror of guns in the hands of crazy young white men. And the victims are not just victims, but symbols of all the race prejudice mustered against every black person anywhere and everywhere.

This never used to be, until the media realized you can politicize anything, and can use news stories to fan the flames to of your political bonfire in order to change the world to your liking. It's not what happened that's important, it's how you spin it.

Having watched enough true crime shows I know what happened in South Carolina is not much different than the story of Ted Bundy or the Zodiac Killer or even a guy who kills his first and second wives for insurance money. But you'd never know that by the media reporting. That's why this story, and all these "issue" stories (like Ferguson and Sandy Hill and even Trayvon Martin) are just vehicles to effect social change envisioned by progressives. For that reason I just turn the channel.

Angry Augustinian said...

One has to wonder about outside influences here…Leftists and enemies of the US working within the Black and student communities too encourage and even fund protests, destruction, and to gin up further hatred between the races. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." But, I would be called a "conspiracy theorist" for suggesting that. This Confederate thing sure happened fast and for no really good reason…like it was already in the works and waiting for the right time. Nobody believed McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, Goldwater, Nixon, or Reagan….and look where we are now.