Modern means of communication give us the ability to see the ugly face of terrorism graphically: heartless beheadings, brutal murders, suicide bombings, the bloody deaths of innocent people and the like. No one can deny that terrorists who vow the destruction of individuals and even whole societies are just plain evil. It cannot be said enough: terrorism is satanic.
A few days ago one official at the UN said that terrorism is like a cancer that can only be cut out of the body if we are to save the whole person. I do not agree.
Terrorism can't be cut out, it must be cast out. It cannot be excised, it must be exorcised. Guns will not extirpate a spiritual cancer like terrorism which is now metastasizing throughout the world.
If terrorism is satanic, then the actual solution to it is to conquer Satan and his minions with the Church's spiritual power. All other human solutions bear fruit as a result of that. Diplomacy and military action are necessary human means to arrest the advance of evil, but by definition they only seek the cessation of hostilities. We are looking to banish the root cause of the hostilities.
And that is precisely the point about the way the Church works in the world. The Church always goes to the root of things and addresses the conflicts in men's souls that lead to any worldly evil. As Christians we do not sit in churches and shrink from the problems of the world in which we live, because it is our duty to evangelize the world and transform its evil into something good. In the Church's perspective, modern terrorism is just another manifestation of the evil that is in men's hearts, and when this particular evil passes, the Church will be around to confront the next wickedness that afflicts humanity.
We must never lose confidence in the power of holiness over evil. Communism as a system was dismantled without a shot being fired, and much of it had to do with the holiness of a man like John Paul II and the durable Catholic faith of his brethren in Poland. Likewise, in 1982 there was a “miraculous” cease-fire between the warring factions during the siege of Beirut because a small Albanian nun named Mother Theresa decided that 37 handicapped children needed to be rescued from war. When she marched onto the battlefield that day, all the guns went silent. There are more examples, but I'm sure you get the point. The durable solution for terrorism is spiritual. This evil must be cast out.
As the worldly powers send diplomats to hammer out agreements between the warring factions, the Church should be sending saints and exorcists to hammer out the devils who are the spiritual instigators of all sin. To those who say this solution will never work, I say “Try it.” Don't forget that many years ago there was a Man who walked about that same region casting out demons. He literally transformed the world by His grace. Now the Prince of Peace wishes to be invited to the Middle East again.
Fr. Tom Euteneuer is president of Human Life International.