LONDON – The Vatican has said that it hopes Osama bin Laden’s death will lead to the growth of peace and not hatred.
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said in a statement that the al-Qaida leader held the “gravest responsibility for spreading hatred and division among people, causing the deaths of countless people, and exploiting religion for this purpose.”
He suggested, however, that his death was not an occasion for rejoicing but rather one for reflecting on man’s responsibilities.
“Faced with the death of a man, a Christian does not rejoice in anything, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace,” he said.
Bin Laden, blamed for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was killed when U.S. forces raided a fortified compound in Abbottabad, around 62 miles from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
U.S. President Barack Obama, who reportedly ordered the killing, said "justice has been done."
He said: “We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.”
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed news of his death but noted that the terrorist threat remained and that Britain would have to be vigilant in the coming weeks.
“The news Osama bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world,” Cameron said.
“It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror.
“This news will be welcomed right across our country. Of course, it does not mark the end of the threat we face from extremist terror – indeed we will have to be particularly vigilant in the weeks ahead. But it is, I believe, a massive step forward.”
Christians have taken to their blogs to respond to the news.
Popular anonymous blogger, Archbishop Cranmer, said: “There is no obituary to write for bin Laden, other than ‘good riddance.’ He has reaped simply what he sowed. Justice has been done. The world is all the better for his passing.”
Krish Kandiah of the Evangelical Alliance said on his blog that bin Laden’s death was a “victory for peace.”
“Jesus told us to love our neighbours and this can mean protecting them from danger and a man who was willing to indiscriminately kill men, women and children is a threat to all," he said.
“He was trying to ignite a clash of civilisations all at war between the Islamic world and the rest of the world and so for him to no longer be operative is a victory for peace.”
He concluded his blog by encouraging Christians to follow Christ's example and be peacemakers.
"In these difficult days its time for Christians to get busy doing the family business – seeking peace."