Grace & Peace!
I think we need a better understanding of Good and Evil here in order to talk about them coherently. If we insist that Evil has a positive existence (that is, that it exists in its own right, in and of itself), then we have a dualistic Manichaean morality. That’s not what the church teaches, however.
God is Good. We know this. God is not partially Good. God is totally Good. His Goodness, His Love, His Being are all identified with each other (because God is One). Being in itself is therefore a Good.
Anything which has being, therefore, has a share in the Good. There is nothing that is that does not share, therefore, in the Good. A thing totally lacking in the Good would necessarily also be lacking in being, and would not, therefore, exist.
This reveals Evil to be an obscuration of the Good. They are not opposite impulses. They are absolutely and totally separate–they do not exist on a continuum. They are as far apart and as disconnected from each other as Being is from Non-Being, as Fullness from the Void.
I’m a big fan of Simone Weil, and some of her thoughts here are instructive:
"Good as the opposite of evil is, in a sense, equivalent to it, as is the way with all opposites.
"It is not good which evil violates, for good is inviolate: only a degraded good can be violated.
That which is the direct opposite of an evil never belongs to the order of higher good. It is often scarcely any higher than evil! Examples: theft and bourgeois respect for property, adultery and the ‘respectable woman’; the davings-bank and waste;lying and ‘sincerity’.
"Good is essentially other than evil. Evil is multifarious and fragmentary, good is one, evil is apparent, good is mysterious; evil consists in action, good in non-action, in activity which does not act, etc.–Good considered on the level of evil and measured against it as one opposite against another is good of the penal code order. … Good which is defined in the way in which one defines evil should be rejected. Evil does reject it. But the way it rejects it is evil.
“Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as necessity, or even a duty.”
If you don’t like Weil, look up Augustine or Dionysius the Areopagite.
Unfortunately, Mr. Cho was not evil. It would be much more convenient for us if he were–we would be able to locate evil in a discreet object (Mr. Cho) outside of ourselves that could bear our contempt. But the fact of the matter is that Mr. Cho succumbed to evil and chose to serve it. All of his writings and materials indicate that he was acting out of a profound sense of moral outrage and isolation which seemed to compell him to inflict this outrage and isolation on others. It is profoundly sad. He does not deserve our contempt. What he did deserves our contempt. He deserves our pity. As do his victims (dead and alive) who were forced to experience such affliction.
But this is the strange thing about evil which Weil grasped so well–if we can love God through it while hating it, it serves as a goad to compassion and is thereby transformed by grace. If we do not submit to this grace, if we do not love as we ought, our charity becomes poison. And we, too, fall prey to the evil we would avoid.
Under the Mercy,