People celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden in times Square in New York early May 2.


People celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden in times Square in New York early May 2.

May 9, 2011

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican said the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden should prompt serious reflection about one’s responsibility before God, not rejoicing.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, released a brief written statement May 2 reacting to the killing of bin Laden, a man Lombardi said sowed division and hatred and who caused “innumerable” deaths.

The Vatican statement came the day after President Barack Obama announced that U.S. forces had killed bin Laden in an attack on his hideout in northwest Pakistan. In several U.S. cities, the news prompted street demonstrations and expressions of jubilation.

“Osama bin Laden, as we all know, bore the most serious responsibility for spreading divisions and hatred among populations, causing the deaths of innumerable people, and manipulating religions to this end,” Lombardi said.

“In the face of a man’s death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred.”

Father Mario Rodrigues, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, said after a meeting with government officials: “They put us on alert, requesting the closure of our institutes and making available additional police personnel around the churches. “The Christians of Pakistan are innocent victims in this and other situations. Any pretext is used to threaten them or launch an attack.”