My heart broke with sadness yesterday morning over news of the horrible tragedy that took place in Paris. No one deserves such an ending to life, and surely not those who spent their lives as advocates for freedom in this world. Not everyone may agree with their opinions or choices, but as an American I assumed we would all agree that mass murdering those who simply stood up for their freedom to speak is wrong in every way.
Sadly, it turns out this was not the case. A friend of mine posted an article on his social media page that deeply disheartened me, both as an American and as a Catholic. I am deeply offended and ashamed to say that it was published on www.catholicleague.org. The Catholic League states that the organization is "motivated by the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment" and "the Catholic League works to safeguard both the religious freedom rights and the free speech rights of Catholics". I think it is an important and courageous fight to advocate for freedom of speech, especially if and when believing in that freedom means standing up for those you disagree with. However, according to this article, The Catholic League seems to only support freedom of speech they agree with.
The author of this article, Bill Donohue, discussed the topics addressed in Charlie Hebdo and mentioned its "disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures". He then went on to discuss the death of Stephane Charbonnier, saying, "It is too bad that he didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death." What role was this, you may ask? "Had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive," Donohue wrote.
Let me be clear: acts of violence and terrorism are never deserved by its victims. Rape is not caused by provocative clothing. Domestic violence is not caused by an inadequate spouse. And mass murder in the name of God is not caused by the victim's attitude, opinions, or behavior. We, as Catholics, should not be looking to blame those tragically taken from us yesterday. We should be angry that any person would kill in the name of God and use religion as a weapon instead of an instrument of peace. We should be angry at those who would do harm for any reason, especially under the farce of a faithful spirit. Those terrorists yesterday did not commit actions from a spirit of faith but a mind of insanity, and I ask that all Catholics stand up against this violence instead of making excuses for it.
Today is a day of mourning for the tragedy against Charlie Hebdo. I will be praying and mourning with Paris. Je suis Catholique. Je suis Charlie.