The story of the slaughter of the Holy Innocents not only tells of the cruelty we humans are capable of it also makes the point that the mission of Jesus Christ would be a shared mission. Yes, Jesus suffered and died, but he did not do so alone. From the very beginning of our redemption ordinary human beings would be caught up, often without their consent, in both the joy (Christmas) and the pain (Holy Innocents) of Christ's work. This is still the case. Throughout the world today Christians are suffering because of their faith and its proclamation - from the losing of employment to imprisonment and, far too often, death.

There are many Herods in our world today, there always have been and, no doubt, there always will be until Christ returns to bring in the Kingdom of God. But we should be wary of judgementally demonising the Herod of the Bible. Each time we spend or vote selfishly we are no better than he was.

Every four seconds a child dies because of poverty, hunger, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes. Around 7600000 holy innocents each and every year and the number is growing. On top of this, in the last decade, at least two million children have died in acts of warfare.

We could stop this obscene carnage. But we don't.

We are all Herods.



  1. Just doing something to provide clean water to the poor would reduce child deaths. In the time it takes for an average Sunday mass, call it 1 hour and 15 minutes. 300 chilenginidren die from diseases they get from bad water. There is no excuse for this.

    Not only do we have the technology to clean up the water, industrialized countries could create jobs for engineers, pipe-fitters, and operators by giving that technology to underdeveloped countries.

    We are all culpable.


  2. Anonymous…polish the glasses. The headline reads (minus prepositional phrase) not ONE is innocent, another way of saying no one is innocent…singular noun all the way.

    would you say no one ARE innocent?

  3. Yes, I do. I am aware of the fact that I could save a child’s life rather than drink a pint of beer. Therefore, the fact that I choose the beer is an intentional act, not accidental. Whether it is more sinful to murder a child with your own hands or allow a child to die is pretty irrelevant, in my opinion, as both are hideous. Fortunately for me, in this life, it is not illegal to allow others to die. Unfortunately for me, in the next life, I will most certainly be called to account for my wilful and self-centred lack of action.

  4. RENZ: MP changed the Headline from “None Are Innocent” after I pointed out his error. My glasses are clean.

  5. I am not sure how. “children” became, “chilenginidren” in my first comment. But as the grammar police seem to have hit this thread, I thought it a good idea to acknowledge that somehow this happened. Clearly I am aware of the correct spelling and did not intend, “chilenginidren.”

    On the topic (remember the topic?) yes, it seems to me, voting or consuming in some ways does make a person morally culpable at the same level as pulling the trigger. One problem however is that it is frequently unclear when one approaches a ballot, or a retailer for that matter, which choice is the morally correct or at least the less harmful choice.

    Consider one spot on a complex and long ballot. Do I vote for Governor Quinn who has been trying to clean up the mess left by Blagoyavich and is orders of magnitude more trustworthy? Is it more correct to vote for a member of a different party that does not have the Blago stain? You can bet the Republicans are going to say that any vote for a Democrat in Illinois is morally wrong. And they have a case.

    I think we can say that we have an obligation to seek the moral choice and not necessarily the choice that is in our own best interest. Sometimes, as in the case in Illinois last time, there is a horrible muddle, the homophobe or the crook?

    I voted Green last time, knowing the candidate had exactly no chance. Was that moral? Should I have voted for Blago, knowing that he would likely be indicted and impeached thereby leading to a Quinn administration? What if the impeachment or impeachment trial had not happened?

    I think the human condition is that sometimes we have choices that are muddled, murky and lead to unknowable ends. All we can do in those cases is make our best, most informed guess. We who live in democracies, it seems to me, have a moral duty to try to make the choices better. But we cannot know that we have done that, nor can we know that the votes we cast always go to the correct place. And we also have to accept that in a democracy, even if we are “right” our “fellow citizens/subjects” may simply get it all wrong.

    Being human can be tough! Lord have mercy.


  6. I was referring more to those people who vote for the party that will enrich them the most without thinking about how this will effect already poor people. A homophobe socialist is probably less morally reprehensible than a conservative tax cutter due to the magnitude and type of harm each one causes.

    If you vote for a party for moral reasons (not to do with financial matters) without those moral reasons enriching yourself then it is a different (and far more complicated) kettle of fish

  7. Grammar police: I’m very old. I was in high school in 1960. In those antedeluvian days a collective, such as none, could be treated as a singular collective, or as a plural of numerous persons. Nota bene, grammar is fluid. (And the one who corrects my spelling is in for it because spelling of English words was in great flux until fairly recently, in the great scheme of things, and is now changing again.
    Hrumph. Here endeth the boring bits.

  8. Hmm… Here at least, I cannot see how either main party would enrich me.

    I try to vote for candidates who will advance justice, and seek to advance the general welfare. The alternative, I think, among American candidates, is those who seek to advance the rich and screw the world. We call those people, Newt Gingrich.


  9. All I know for sure is I don’t think I can keep on in this world for much longer.

    Innocent or not, I’ve been beat down enough, thanks. I’m not sure there are enough actual humans left to make a difference.

    It’s not worth the effort, anymore.