Horror in Oregon … and Glory? A reminder about your own soul and death.

I am sure you are all as horrified and alarmed at what happened in Oregon yesterday as I (and at certain knee jerk political reactions) and that you are offering your prayers for the victims and families and perhaps also the perp.

If reports are accurate the murderer targeted for death the Christians who identified themselves.

According to a story at WND, …

The Oregon gunman who lined up his victims and asked specifically which ones were Christians before shooting them execution style had a special interest in “magick” and “spiritualism” and had joined a dating website called “Spiritual Passion.”

On the site, [I won’t post his name – damnatio memoriae], 26, who killed nine people and injured seven at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg before he was shot and killed by police, describes his politics as “Republican” and his interests as “killing zombies,” meditation, the occult and punk-rock music.

He also made clear that he had a disdain for organized religion.

Using the handle “IronCross45,” Mercer describes himself as a “not religious,” man who lives with his parents. He belonged to a group on the site who shared common interests in “magick and the occult.

So, this guy was into things that could open himself up even to demonic forces.  Deviant in the head and perhaps even possessed.

I wonder if he played lots of violent video games.

If this deviant killed those people for hatred of Christianty… when the victims had not denied their Christian identity… perhaps they do indeed at this moment see their Creator, as the killer ominously threatened.

May God have mercy on them all, but there may be that silver lining in the teary cloud.

Some of them may be modern martyrs.

This incident should prompt us all to greater situational awareness on many levels, not the least is the spiritual level.

Pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you.  No, really.  Don’t blunder along like a zombie glued to your stupid phone.  Look around.  Be aware.  Keep your head on a swivel.

Pay attention to your state of soul and the exigencies of your vocation.  If being alert I your material surrounding is important, being honest and observant in regard to your soul is even more important.

Death is short.  Eternity isn’t.

I urge you to spend time thinking about the Four Last Things.   We don’t know the moment or manner of our going before the Judge.

Be prepared.


Get yourselves right with God, self and neighbor.

Don’t be presumptuous when it comes to your salvation or God’s mercy.

Pray.  Ask God to save you and your loved ones from a sudden and unprovided death.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Four Last Things, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    To Everyone who reads this:

    Your mindset is KEY! I’d rather face down a 6′ 5″ tall guy, weighing in a 230 lbs with 4% body fat, with a gun who doesn’t have the fighting mentality, rather than a 5 ft nuthin’ accountant who weighs 90 lbs soaking wet, who’s unarmed but has the mentality of “I don’t need a gun to **** up your ****! The first thing I pick up in my hand is going into your neck or your head!!

    If some demon-possessed crazy starts shooting up the place, and you’re not Concealed Carrying, do the following:


    Cellphones. Books. iPads. Wallets. Keys. Cans of Food. Shoes. Lights. Tables. DVDs. Beds. Pillows. Backpacks. Purses. Makeup Kits. Chairs. Everything and Anything.

    If it isn’t nailed down, grab it, and throw it!

    Try shooting with something flying right at your face, or just try to simply concentrate with a college textbook flying at your face (Done it. Don’t recommend it.) and you’ll see what I’m getting at.

    Then tackle the bad-guy. With his gun, focus on the barrel, and wrestle him like your life depends on keeping that pointed in a safe direction. Because it does! Don’t be afraid to break the bad guy’s bones! Basically all “social niceties” that we live with day-to-day are off the table until the threat is neutralized. So find your inner demon, and Act!


    DON’T GO TO THE BACK ROOM! Dead bodies are found in the back room!

    DON’T LINE UP! As we’ve seen at Oregon, bad things happen when you’re lined up.

    Think: This bad guy is human just like me. He can bleed and die just like me. There’s nothing super-human about him.

    I’m something of an oddball who thought having an instructor scream in my ear “HE’S GOT A GUN! HE’S GOT A GUN!” in training was no end of fun. So I’ll probably react differently than “normal” people out there…

  2. AnnTherese says:

    Could you please say what “The Four Last Things” are?

    I’m sorry to hear violence suggested as a response to violence, YoungLatinMassGuy. I keep hearing Jesus’ words: Put your sword away… Those who live by the sword die by the sword. And, Love your enemies… Turn the other cheek. Killing or injuring each other, even in self-defense, is getting us nowhere– or perhaps, closer to hell. I don’t care if it’s our legal right to carry and use a gun. What overrides that is our Christian calling to love, and die for that, if necessary– as some of these people did in OR. As Jesus did.

  3. oldcanon2257 says:

    AnnTherese says:

    Could you please say what “The Four Last Things” are?

    I’m sorry to hear violence suggested as a response to violence, YoungLatinMassGuy. I keep hearing Jesus’ words: Put your sword away… Those who live by the sword die by the sword. And, Love your enemies… Turn the other cheek. Killing or injuring each other, even in self-defense, is getting us nowhere– or perhaps, closer to hell. I don’t care if it’s our legal right to carry and use a gun. What overrides that is our Christian calling to love, and die for that, if necessary– as some of these people did in OR. As Jesus did.

    The Four Last Things are Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven. Those were taught in every older catechism book (even those for little kids) back in the good old days. To put it simple: each of us human being will die at some point, each of us will be judged by God, each of us will spend eternity either in Hell or in Heaven. We laity were supposed meditate on these things frequently. In fact Saint Alphonsus Liguori (the founder of the Redemptorists) wrote a book called “Preparation for Death” to help us meditate on The Four Last Things. I think Saint Thomas More (English martyr during the reign of King Henry VIII) also wrote a short book on it. It is a shame that after the Second Vactican Council, the Church became horizontal (touchy-feely, kissy-huggy, feel-good-about-yourself) and man-centric (no longer God-centric), and consequently priests and bishops “got with the time” no longer teach or preach about The Four Last Things (and those who still do tend not to do so as often as they should, or delve deeper into it as they should, only treating the subject supericially.)

    As for your pacifism, perhaps you might want to re-read # 2264 and # 2265 under “Legitimate Defense” of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:



    You should also refer to the papal encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” by Pope Saint John Paul II, paragraph 54 and 55:


    Also refer to Saint Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa Theologica”, Part II-II, Question 64, Article 7 “Whether it is lawful to kill a man in self-defense?”:



    There are plenty of references inferring an obligation to self-defense in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Over the years that subject had been discussed extensively and dissected exhaustively on many Catholic forums (not to mention non-Catholic Christian forums). You can search the web yourself for those discussions. All I will say is that pacifists tend to argue against Christians exercising self-defense by quoting Matthew 5:38-42 and John 18:10-11 without understanding or providing the proper context for those paragraphs.

    Also, since you’re referring to violence, did Jesus not, in His righteous anger, use violent means to drive the moneychangers out of the temple? (He certainly didn’t go up to each of the moneychangers and asked them nicely and politely, “Would you please consider relocating, etc.?”)

    Did Jesus not tell his disciples to buy swords (Luke 22:35-39)?

  4. The Masked Chicken says:

    ” What overrides that is our Christian calling to love, and die for that, if necessary– as some of these people did in OR. As Jesus did.”

    There is a right to self-defense. Even Jesus evaded his would-be capturers in many instances. He did not die until it was time. Loving your neighbor does not mean letting them commit a mortal sin. The notion of striking someone one the cheek had a different meaning in the Old Testament than killing someone. From Wikipedia:

    “The scholar Walter Wink, in his book Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination, interprets the passage as ways to subvert the power structures of the time.[2] He says that at the time of Jesus, striking someone deemed to be of a lower class with the back of the hand was used to assert authority and dominance. If the persecuted person “turned the other cheek,” the discipliner was faced with a dilemma. The left hand was used for unclean purposes, so a back-hand strike on the opposite cheek would not be performed. An alternative would be a slap with the open hand as a challenge or to punch the person, but this was seen as a statement of equality. Thus, by turning the other cheek the persecuted was demanding equality.

    Wink continues with an interpretation of handing over one’s cloak in addition to one’s tunic. The debtor has given the shirt off his back, a situation forbidden by Hebrew law as stated in Deuteronomy (24:10–13). By giving the lender the cloak as well the debtor was reduced to nakedness. He notes that public nudity was viewed as bringing shame on the viewer, not just the naked, as seen in Noah’s case (Genesis 9:20–23).

    Wink interprets the succeeding verse from the Sermon on the Mount as a method for making the oppressor break the law. The commonly invoked Roman law of Angaria allowed the Roman authorities to demand that inhabitants of occupied territories carry messages and equipment the distance of one mile post, but prohibited forcing an individual to go further than a single mile, at the risk of suffering disciplinary actions.[3] In this example, the nonviolent interpretation sees Jesus as placing criticism on an unjust and hated Roman law as well as clarifying the teaching to extend beyond Jewish law.[4]”

    The Chicken

  5. Magash says:

    Because the shooter in Oregon deliberately targeted Christians there is a very nuanced understanding of the place of self defense in the situation, in my mind at least. I am not a pacifist, but can clearly see that it might be reasonable in this not to meet violence with violence. Why? Because the shoot deliberately targeted Christians. That means that it was a situation in which a Christian could could directly court martyrdom by the simple act of acknowledging Christ. This makes it subtly different in my mind from a simple robbery or even a case of directed homicide.
    One reason that it is nuanced is that there is still the aspect of the protection of others present, especially for someone who would be physically capable of attempting to act in the protection of others, as did Mr. Meyers. So is it better to act in the defense of others in such a situation when by doing so the Christian has given up the chance to witness (martyr) to Christ?
    I don’t know. It is certainly the case, in my opinion, that if you are armed there is no reason to not to protect others in deference to disarming yourself and allowing yourself to be killed, which is quite a different thing than being caught unarmed and having to decide whether you are going to acknowledge Christ or turn your back on him.

  6. AnnTherese says:

    Thank you for all those references, oldcanon2257, yet likely none would convince me that violence is pleasing to God. I choose to stick to pacifism. “Love your enemies” is crystal clear.

  7. The Cobbler says:

    “…describes … his interests as “killing zombies,”…”
    “Don’t blunder along like a zombie glued to your stupid phone.”
    I see what you did there.

  8. AnnTherese:

    Do you have children, grandchildren, or some other children entrusted to your care from time to time?

    I once went out on a date with a young man who expressed similar opinions to yours. I thought perhaps he simply hadn’t thought out his position very thoroughly, so I posed him the following question.

    “I have a child in my life of whom I’m very fond. He refers to me as ‘Auntie Pie’ and I consider him my nephew. If he were sitting at this table with us right now and a nutjob walked in, pointed a gun at that two-year-old, and announced that he was going to start off by shooting him in order to prove that he ‘meant business,’ would you do whatever was in your power to stop that? If not, why not?”

    He hemmed and hawed and asked what I’d do. I replied, “Well, I see a knife on the table in front of me, and while it’s not as sharp as I could wish for, it’s a start. Grab the knife, get between the kid and the gun, and then go as medieval as possible on the guy until the threat was over. This being Texas, I’d like to think that one or two of the other patrons would lend a hand.”

    He looked horrified. “But, but, Pie, you wouldn’t do THAT?! That’s awful!”

    Me: “Not as horrible as getting to my final judgment, having God look me in the eye and ask me if I’d done my best to protect those in my care from danger of all sort, be it physical or spiritual, and having to answer Him that I’d failed to do so.”

    He continued to hem and haw about violence not being very nice. There was no second date.

    You see, we are allowed, as per the above Catechism, to use self-defense. We’re also obligated to take care of our neighbors and those entrusted to our care to the best of our ability. We may be called to martyrdom, but that’s a very specific call. If you’d like, look to St. Gabriel Possenti. He wasn’t exactly the violent type, but when a band of soldiers invaded his town and one of them started dragging off a young woman to be raped, St. Gabriel did *not* tell her “oh, sorry, that’s awful” or “well, whatever you do, don’t hurt that poor guy who’s about to rape you.” Nope. He grabbed the soldier’s handgun, told him to get away from the girl, and then demonstrated excellent proficiency with a gun of the times (nowhere near as accurate as today’s weapons) by blowing away a small lizard who had the misfortune to be walking by at the time. The would-be rapists decided that perhaps they had better things to do, and exited stage right.

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