Do we as Catholics stand against “hate”. That may seem to be a question with an obvious answer, but we need to look deeper. First, yes we do stand against hate, but that is like saying teachers are against bad grammar. In fact they are, but the student who cannot spell or multiply or tell you the difference between communism and capitalism still won’t graduate even if his grammar is impeccable.
This is the problem with standing up against “hate”, it is a term that does not mean anything in the long run. As Christians, the term is absurd for us to consider when we understand the bigger moral picture to which we commit our lives.
I am writing this after seeing video of British mourners holding up signs against hate after the Manchester bombing.
Did the bomber commit an act of hate? Some would say yes, but is it not more accurate to say that act was evil? This presents our problem. With the growing rejection of God we change our terms for what is good and evil to less accurate terms that ultimately become meaningless.
The bomber committed an act of hate, but he more accurately actually commit an act of evil which includes hate. We cannot dismiss the difference.
Jesus reminds us that only God alone is good and He is also the source of all that is good, including love. The commandments are summed up in two simple sentences: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. These two sentences define what it means to be a Christian. Goodness and Love are among the attributes that describe God. Jesus said the Father alone was good and is the source of all goodness. Paul says that God is love. This means that both goodness and love are as eternal as God Himself. They have no beginning or end.
Evil, say the saints, is the privation of the good. Jesus demonstrates this well. He compares evil to darkness. If we walk away from light, there is nothing to walk to but darkness. If we walk away from the good, there is nothing to walk to but evil.
When we reject the source of all that is good, we embrace, even unknowingly, that which tends towards evil. God calls us to do His will. In fact, Jesus only did the will of the Father. It is God’s will that we love God and others with a transformational love. It is in our nature to love ourselves more than anything else. When we choose what we want against what God wants, we choose selfishness over the source of all good. Selfishness is a word with bad connotations for a reason.
God calls us to be people of love, but to love as He calls us to love. So, if we want to do what is truly good, we need to love God and others. When we choose not to love God and others we are not doing God’s will and when we do not do God’s will, we walk towards evil. This is why for Catholics to say we must not hate is so incomplete. The bomber did do an act of hate per se, but he acted in evil. He acted against God’s will and God alone is the source of all good. There are those who reject God, but I ask them to answer the question What is the source of all good if not God. Are we being good when choose not to commit a violent act, or are we being good when we do so much more than something that benefits others.
Remember the defining act of the Christian is to love, pray for and do good to our enemies.
Obviously, we must not hate, but Jesus calls us to be people of love. Therefore to be in sin, we do not have to hate, we have simply choose not to love and that begins not with hate but indifference. That sin is far more serious for it is the first step to evil and evil includes hate and the action that hate spawns. Let us not just stop the hate, let us choose to love as Christ loves, then hating will be out of the question.