ROME (CBS) — For Chicagoans in Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, the news of Osama bin Laden’s death brought a sense of relief.
As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports from Rome, where the message is usually one of forgiveness, things were different when it came to the al-Qaeda leader.
“Without forgiveness of even those who hate us we simply reinforce the status quo,” he said in the homily.
But later on outside the church dedicated to martyrs, he made it clear Osama bin Laden wasn’t one of those people so deserving of quick forgiveness.
“‘What came to me this morning as I heard about it on the news was the line from Holy Scripture – whoever lives by the sword, dies by the sword,’” George said.
And as to the fact that this was a kill operation?
“Well, this was war, and sometimes it’s kill or be killed,” George said.
The views of Chicagoans who’d come with the cardinal to celebrate the beatification of John Paul the second were much the same.
“I have many friends in New York. My daughter lived there, and many of her friends passed away, and I just think it was OK,” said Grace Scanlon.
“As far as to me, he was dead 10 years ago, because he’s just a figurehead. There are more, other people that are out there,” another Chicagoan said.
The Chicagoans continued their pilgrimage in Rome Monday, seemingly unconcerned about a possible terrorist retaliation.
“I just want to live my life,” said John Jelinek. “I don’t want to be intimidated or any attempt to be intimidated, so I’ve just got to do what I want to do.”
Increased security at the Vatican meant long lines that kept some of the Chicagoans out of St. Peter’s for the second straight day. The closest they got was looking out onto the façade of the basilica, while a tour guide described what they would have seen inside.
In fact, the crowds everywhere seemed to indicate tourism as usual – at the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, and out shopping, Rome didn’t miss a beat. The Chicagoans out to enjoy it didn’t miss a beat either.
“It’s just another day. I’m here in Rome enjoying myself for the beatification of Pope John Paul,” a Chicago pilgrim said.
While the Vatican Monday night objected to rejoicing over someone’s death, one Chicagoan saw a sense of symmetry – and maybe even justice – to the notion of honoring a man of peace in Pope John Paul II, while in the same day eliminating one who preached war.