Charles J. Chaput, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia, said in a column addressing the Boston Marathon bombings that something is very wrong with America's way of life.
"Something wrong with our way of life, and millions of people can feel it; something selfish, cynical, empty and mean. Something that acts like a magnet to the worst impulses of the human heart. We're no longer the nation of our founders, or even of our parents. Some of their greatness has been lost," the 68-year-old Archbishop wrote in his weekly column for CatholicPhilly.com.
Boston was under lock-down Friday as the manhunt for the second suspected man connected with the tragedy, which left three people dead and over 170 injured. Police caught and arrested 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev last night after his elder brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was shot dead Thursday overnight.
"The latest terrorist bloodshed is not at all senseless. It's the work of calculated malice. Innocent people, including children, have paid the price for other people's hatred. Our most important task right now is to pray for the victims and their families," Chaput noted.
President Barack Obama, Christian leaders across America and millions of people have offered their support to the victims of the bombings and all those affected, but one question that always comes up in events like this, Chaput says, is "how can a good God allow this kind of evil to happen?"
"The answer is both simple and hard," the Archbishop offered. "There's nothing soft-focus or saccharine about real Christianity. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for the brave; not the complacent, and not cowards. The world and its beauty give glory to God; but we live in it with divided hearts, and so the world is also a field of conflict. God's son died on a cross and rose from the dead to deliver us from our sins. He didn't take away our freedom to choose evil. Until this world ends, some people will do vile and inhuman things to others."
The Philadelphia archbishop argued that it is the duty of leaders to reassure and strengthen people in times of such tragedy.
"Our country has a vast reservoir of goodness built up by generations of good people. America's best ideals are well worth fighting for. But we also need to remember that our way of life is as mortal as every other great power; and sooner or later, America will be a footnote in history. Only God is forever.
Chaput said that America's first task is to help and pray for the dead and wounded – but after that, "we need to begin to change ourselves."