Sometimes we have to wade in, sword or gun in hand, and use deadly force to quash the actions of evil men—and we must do so without hating them.

Too soon after Christmas trees are taken down, hundreds of thousands of us will be getting ready to freeze in our nation’s capital while we March for Life. The presence of evil, of very different kinds, is harder to miss this year than most—at least since 2001, when my hometown was attacked. Because it was innocent blood, willingly offered, that wiped away the evil each of carries in himself, and offered us the antidote: imitating Christ, making sacrifices freely to further the Good, and push back against evil.

Those sacrifices aren’t always peaceful—which is why the Church has thousands of soldier saints. We are not a religion for pacifists, or those who would stand by dabbing our tears and caressing our consciences while the weak are victimized. Sometimes we have to wade in, sword or gun in hand, and use deadly force to quash the actions of evil men—and we must do so without hating them. That doesn’t mean without anger, or even without (where needed) the will to kill. The plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944 was carried out by a Catholic war hero, Claus von Stauffenberg, and met with the approval of Pius XII—who transmitted messages on behalf of the conspirators.

Nor is it hate to want to see a criminal be punished, or to take a grim satisfaction in the execution of his sentence. Only those who do not believe in life after death who could think this way; to them, earthly life is the only and ultimate good, so wanting to spoil that for or take that from someone (for any reason) amounts to hate.

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