of Hitler and Christ

I saw this thought-provoking quote over at “Catholic and Enjoying It!”:

C.S. Lewis remarks somewhere about a pastor he knew who once saw Hitler in the flesh. Lewis asked him what he looked like.

The pastor replied, “Like all men. Like Christ.”

Shea is right: we do desperately want to believe evil and monstrous men are a different species from us. But they aren’t. They’re like us. They’re like me.

I think I’ve been struggling with this idea for quite sometime. It was never as focused or as vividly stated as in the episode above, but the general idea has been there. The question I’ve been thinking about for months now is, “What are we to do with these monsters?” I know what my gut reaction is, but I’m worried that my gut reaction might be horribly wrong and sinfully bereft of mercy. Is the answer really as simple as I want to think and hope it is? Most of the time I believe it is, but I’m also aware that these people share my humanity. Yet they are people who have been cursed with the will, opportunity, and power to commit atrocious acts against other human beings. How then are we to deal with them? How then am I to respond to them? I wish I had a black and white answer, but through my sin-scaled eyes all I see is gray.

One thought on “of Hitler and Christ”

  1. Perhaps my sense of compassion is below yours, but I think it’s fine to lock them up and minister to them, but if taking them alive is beyond hope, and they’re killing innocents, kill them. You can pray for enemies without going limp on the appropriate action to take regarding them. Christ’s proclaimed virtues were very much focused on personal behavior, not law enforcement practices. We don’t have to rejoice in the death of “monsters” but we can be happy that innocents don’t have to fear for their lives.

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