(BOSTON) — Forgiveness, not retaliation, is how the U.S. can help cure “a culture of violence,” Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley told his Catholic congregation Sunday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
It was the first Mass delivered by O’Malley since last Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon left three dead and more than 170 wounded. Some of the victims were badly maimed.
For those seeking quick revenge and possibly the death penalty for 19-year-old suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the cardinal told the faithful, “Forgiveness is part of our obligation as disciples of the Lord. It’s only a culture of life and ethic of love that can rescue us from a culture of violence.”
The cardinal, who heads the Archdiocese of Boston, remarked that there is still confusion surrounding the motive of what Tsarnaev allegedly did with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died early Friday in a shootout with police.
O’Malley stated, “It’s very difficult to understand what was going on in their heads. What demons were operative. What ideologies or politics or the perversion of their religion.”
Meanwhile, the cardinal made a dig at Washington lawmakers who failed to pass a sweeping package to curb violence last week, telling the congregants, “The inability of the Congress to enact laws to control access to automatic weapons is emblematic of the pathology of our violence culture.”
Some at the Mass seemed willing to accept O’Malley’s plea for forgiveness although others admitted that acts of terrorism may justify the death penalty.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Sara Ashley O'Brien, CNN
Tom LoBianco, CNN
Chris Isidore, CNN