Proper reaction to our enemies doing wrong to our other enemies?


#1

What would the proper response be if Enemy of the Church A went after and did horrible things to Enemy of the Church B? Would it be wrong to feel that justice was enacted because evil befell evil at the hands of evil? Is that just fallen human reasoning and a corrupted sense of justice?


#2

First, evil is always evil, and charity “Rejoiceth not in iniquity” (1 Co 13:6).

Second, who or what is “an Enemy of the Church”? If, as St Paul says, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12), the Church’s enemies are not people whom you can (usually) see, and therefore you would not know about any such hypothetical event, making it impossible for you to feel one way or the other about it.


#3

An injustice is an injustice regardless of who it happens to. One should no more rejoice in the person who bullies oneself getting bullied himself than rejoicing in being bullied oneself.


#4

Temporal pawns. The Church only has one enemy, but that enemy has many temporal agents through the ages, from the Roman Empire to Abortion Mills.

So what then should we do if we turn on the news and see that some terrible thing happened to one of the Church’s enemies, like say a Planned Parenthood burned down. How do you you fight the urge to say “Ha! Serves them right for all the evil they did.” God does not delight in the death of His enemies, but we in our fallen nature do.


#5

Very interesting questions.

My thought is this…
How can justice be enacted by evil attacking evil?
Consider - No matter the outcome, evil would win.

Peace
James


#6

This does not seem to fit with your OP Hypothetical. An abortion clinic burning down is (most likely) an accident. It is not, “enemy A” attacking “enemy B”, which is the hypothetical you present in the OP.
I think that a more accurate example might be ISIS and Al-Qaeda fighting one another, or street gangs at war with each other - Or historically - Fascism and Communism at war (WW II).

However - to answer your question - the response you suggest smacks of “gloating” which is not healthy. We are instructed to do good to our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. It might be hard to resist such a response…but it needs to be recognized as not the most loving one.

Peace
James


#7

On one level, we might feel it is a kind of consequence.

We are all one, though. So, if our hand is injuring the foot, it’s still hurting the body, nonetheless, even if we are the heart. We are all lessened when this is happening, and it wouldn’t be as good as if we were to all live in peace, harmony, joy, and love.


#8

I would suggest that there is a very important, implicit connection between your first paragraph and your second: we, in our fallen nature, resist the work of God in us and in this world, and become the enemies of ourselves, this world, and God’s plans.

St Philotheos of Sinai says, “It is through us that Satan fights God, trying to nullify God’s will, embodied as it is in the divine and life-giving commandments, by preventing us from carrying them out.” (Texts on Watchfulness, 16).

St Nikitas Stithatos concurs: “when we fail to act according to [our divine] nature and direct our desire and intelligence to what is contrary to [God-ordained] nature, transferring attention from what is divine to purely human matters, then our motivating power becomes a weapon of iniquity in the service of sin, and we use it to attack and fight against those who would restrain the passions and appetites of the other powers of our soul.” (On the Practice of the Virtues, 16).

St Maximos the Confessor further separates this response to others: “while still lacking love, a man may be capable of not repaying evil with evil, in accordance with the commandment, and yet by no means be capable of rendering good for evil without forcing himself. To be spontaneously disposed to “do good to those who hate you” (Mt 5:44) belongs to perfect spiritual love alone.” This suggests several levels: hating others, hating others who harm you, not hating others who harm you but not truly loving them, forcing yourself to love others who harm you, and finally loving others who harm you without needing to force yourself. (Second Century on Love, 49)

As for how we achieve that state of perfect spiritual love, the Desert Fathers talk quite a bit about motes and planks, and how people who are focused upon eradicating all of the sin in themselves are less interested in others’ failings. Of course, they do not suggest that the process is easy, linear, or short.


#9

You mean like if a terrorist bombed an anti religious newspaper?


closed #10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.