Forgive Is Divine by Father
WHERE IS TIM McVEIGH NOW?
By Michael H. Brown
That's a question we won't know until we too are judged. God judges in a way that we can't. He knows the baggage a person carries. He knows how we became what we are. To think beyond question that Tim McVeigh is in hell is to view the afterlife in a way that's far too simplistic.
He may be. He may be in what both the Bible and mystics describe as a place of darkness or fire; he may be there now gnashing his teeth.
But it's tough to tell. I sense that he may have taken advantage of a last mercy. News has come from NBC and CNN that despite professing disbelief of the afterlife, at the end McVeigh requested Last Rites. This is a man who had little chance in life. He came from a severely broken home (his own mother left him), and then entered the military, where he was considered the ideal soldier and was taught to march while chanting, "Kill! Kill! Kill! Blood makes the grass grow!" Later he found himself in the Gulf War -- on tanks that were ordered to literally roll over Iraqis; guys like McVeigh then had to pick the body parts from the wheels.
I have no idea what was to blame but I know that when I looked at McVeigh I saw something more vacant than evil. Somewhere along the way he lost a chunk of his soul and maybe it was all his own fault. I don't know. Only God knows his demons. That's why we're told not to judge. We are told, however, not to kill (the Commandment has no footnotes), and we are admonished to forgive. While an "eye for an eye" was the course of justice in the Old Testament, Christ gave us a New Covenant and in it He told us to turn the other cheek and if necessary to forgive seven times seventy times (Matthew 18:22). That's why I agree with Pope John Paul II and the American bishops, who courageously (and against strong public opinion) came out against McVeigh's execution.
I can't imagine how it would feel to lose a child, and to say anything else about what the victims suffered would be lip service. It's a trauma beyond words. But we must forgive or we too will suffer in the afterlife, and we must continue to pray for this man who for all we know is in a place of purgation.
E-mail this site to a friend
Return to home page