» what about hitler

Thursday, 4 October A.D. 2012 @ 7:52 AM

There is a wonderful priest who works at St. John Fisher College who shared a story with me. Some years ago he was teaching a religion class in a high school for boys and told his students that Christ were call to be pacifists. A student asked him hat he would do if the student got up and punched him in the nose. Father responded that he would knock him into the next county; while it is true that Jesus taught us to turn the other check, Father explained that he had not attained that level of holiness yet. He was trying to be a good Christian, but he knew he would probably fail if struck. That level of honesty makes me envious. Of course I would hit you back, and of course I would be wrong. You must not allow my inability to live faithfully let you think that Jesus did not mean it...

We must live faithfully; we must be humble in our faith and truthful in what we say and do; we must repay evil with good; and we must be peacemakers. This may also mean as a result that the evildoers will kill us. Then, we shall also die.

That's it. There is nothing else--or rather, anything else is only a footnote to this. We are called to live the kingdom as he proclaimed it and be his disciples, come what may. We are, in his words, flowers flourishing and growing wild today, and tomorrow destined for the furnace. We are God's people, living by faith.

The gospel is clear and simple, and I know what the response to the Hitler question must be. and I desperately want to avoid this conclusion. When my time comes, I may well trot out every nuanced argument I can develop, or seek for a way out in St. Thomas Aquinas or Paul Ramsey. This would serve me and my fear, my hypocrisy, and my faithlessness very well. But I would not be telling the truth or living as I ought and as I am called to live.

—Robert Brimlow, from What About Hitler?