Remember and Pray. But Nine Years Later, Let’s Take Stock.

Christus Vincit. Christus Regnat. Christus Imperat.

As every one of us, I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I thought life as we know it would change. No safe flying anymore, periodic announcements of the next aeroplane gone down, things like that. It may seem stupid to say it now, but it wasn’t so much at the time.

I remembered the terrorist years in Italy: they had started slow and then had become a truly dramatic phase in the life of the Republic. I really thought it would get worse before it gets better.

Nine years later I pray, like everyone else, for the victims of this heinous act.

But I would also like to share some reflections:

1) Huge, huge kudos to the security services and information agencies  of all Western countries. It is now nine years and Nine Eleven never repeated. This is a stunning success. Perhaps this was achieved at the price of some rendition flights, some harsh prison conditions and some waterboarding to boot. Fine with me. We’ll never know how many lives have been saved.

2) The declared aim of the terrorists was to change the way we live. To make us feel afraid of living our free way of life. The mission is, emphatically, not accomplished.

3) That terrible day has brought on the Arab world a series of humiliations. Two countries invaded as a result of the attack, several others (like Syria and Jordan) told to choose the right side, sharpish, or face war. The Arab/Mulsim history is full of humiliations from the West (from the First Crusade to the Reconquista, from Lepanto to the European colonisation), but this was a sudden awakening to their utter military and social inferiority,  (the religious one goes without saying) on their own ground.
Every Arab now knows that a strike to the West brings back humiliations on a multiple scale of the offence caused. Not a good investment. I wonder how many of them admire those idiots. A very tiny minority, I think.

4) From 9/11, paradoxically, hope also sprang. In Afghanistan, things might become less savage in the next years and in Iraq a most cruel and dangerous dictatorship has been replaced by an uncertain democracy now trying to walk unassisted. If it works in Iraq, democracy might spread to other countries. It will depend on the locals of course, but even from the humiliation of a foreign invasion a new dawn and a new hope has arisen.
As an Italian, I see in this what has happened in my own Country.

5) Bin Laden is just ignored. Forgotten. More dead than Disco for the media, probably truly dead since 2001 or 2002 anyway. Nine years later, he doesn’t even help to sell newspapers anymore.  In the meantime, his people continue to die like flies, hunted down all over the planet.

6) Nine years later, the West discovers that it is stronger than ever. Iraq is on the way to trying to become a half-decent country; Afghanistan trying not to become a Taliban state; people in the West are flying, holidaying, living as they did before.

Nine years later, Ronald Reagan’s slogan remains more valid than ever: we win, they lose.


Posted on September 11, 2010, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. A very nice perspective. Thank you.

    Air travel security, however, is not rational, in my opinion. The Mohammadans got us there. Flew to San Diego for a wedding this past weekend and my 88 year old mother-in-law, in a wheelchair, was frisked. My suitcase is always often chosen for inspection, and nothing is ever found. Shoes off, no containers more than 4 oz….it’s all so very silly. No carry-on wine from California (sigh!)

    As for the wedding ceremony, it was Catholic, at a beautiful basilica (The Immaculata) on the campus of the University of San Diego (Catholic institution). The priest resorted to using singing (Don’t worry, be happy) stuffed animal props twice and gave the most abyssmal sermon imaginable.
    Many there were not Catholic, and I was so embarrassed for the priest, and for the Faith. Even my husband, an agnostic, was embarrassed. It so took away from the beauty and dignity of the service. He wanted us singing along, clapping and rocking, but I would have none of it. Oh, by the way, the couple cohabitated up until the day of the wedding, and my nephew, the groom, bragged that this priest would visit their home for dinner and watching football games. In the sermon the priest validated this by saying he has visited them and the bride is “a very good cook”.

    • RV,
      I think the terrorist threat is nothing to do with the security measures. My opinion is that it is done to send a message that the government really cares for security, because most people will feel safer if there are these kind of control even if it ridiculous to think that 4oz of after shave may be a danger for the security on board…
      “Population reassurance”, they call it here…

      If I may be so cynical (I’ll accept if you criticise me for that) a couple considering cohabitation deserves a priest who ruins their wedding ceremony and a priest who is so relaxed about that (and about the Mass) will get what he deserves anyway. Do you know whether the priest in question gave communion to the two whilst they were living more uxorio?
      Was it a Mass btw, or a wedding ceremony?


  2. It was a Mass. The groom completed RICA while living with his fiancee. He was confirmed and received First Holy Communion this past Easter while cohabitating with the woman. The priest, BTW, is from Africa.

  3. RV,

    let me understand: he was baptised but had not made First Communion? This is the first time I hear such a thing, in my experience people tend to lapse later 😉 . It has been not uncommon in Italy, though, to be confirmed before marriage, from before V II times for sure.

    Anyway and without wanting to take the side of a very bad liturgist, there might be some extenuating circumstances for him. If the situation was so bad that one of the two was merely baptised and the other not even a Catholic, I am not surprised that the priest has not required them to live in separate homes until the time of the marriage. I think in such cases a priest would try to put an end to their living in sin by leading them to a Catholic Marriage. Just thinking of course, one would have to see how he has acted as a whole, how is the attitude of the two as a whole and whether he has hammered into them what a Catholic marriage is or has only gone through the “sacramental motions” and has showed himself fully tolerant of their trespasses.

    If you say to me that he is African I am less suprised about the “colourful” mass (still very wrong, of course; particularly in the West).


  4. The bride was baptized Catholic as an infant and remains Catholic. The groom was baptized Presbyterian, and the Catholic Church recognized that as a valid baptism. He never practiced any faith, however. The groom converted to Catholicism and received First Holy Communion and Confirmation at Easter. I don’t know the seriousness with which they take the Faith, but they cohabitated and the priest visited them in their home prior to the wedding for meals and watching football.

    • Thanks RV,
      yes one wonders whether the white bridal dress was a powerful motivator in this conversion, I hope the priest was being prudent rather than accessory in their sin.


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