On Chris Benoit's death - or why I'm Catholic


By now most wrestling fans, especially Canadian ones, will have heard of the murder-suicide of Chris Benoit and his family. The following is an editorial I wrote this morning for the local secular media:

On Chris Benoit's death
By Pete Vere

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Initially I was going to write this editorial on last weekend's fun at the St. Jean Baptiste Day festival, the opening of the Desbarats farmers' market this Friday, and this weekend's Canada Day celebrations. I had not intended to devote another editorial to professional wrestling so soon after the last one.

Nevertheless, like most other fans of this sport, I was both shocked and saddened by the death of Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy, and their seven-year-old son Daniel, in what now appears to have been a murder-suicide.

Although he struggled at his mic skills, Benoit was a gifted technical performer and rose to become Canada's best after injury forced Bret Hart into retirement. In an industry where egos often clash, my contacts within the industry tell me Benoit was a good guy in the locker-room who always treated other wrestlers with respect. This certainly was the case with the fans, for whom he never gave any less than 100 percent.

I regret never having had the opportunity to see Benoit perform live. Yet he certainly entertained me on many a Monday and Thursday night. His flying headbutt was one of my favorite moves. His departure from WCW after the company aborted his championship run angered me - enough to reconsider my boycott of the WWE.

But this is now in the past.

This morning I find myself, along with many other fans, struggling with the following question: How do I reconcile Chris Benoit the humble performer who consistently gave his all, with the Chris Benoit who reportedly killed his family before ending his own life?

Was it steroids? A mid-life crisis? Had he suffered some sort of brain injury in the ring of which nobody was aware? Is there some other medical or scientific explanation that the experts don't know?

I certainly don't.

So this is one of those times when I must set aside logical explanations for the comfort of my Catholic faith. As a Catholic, I believe both murder and suicide to be acts of great evil. Each of these acts ends one of God's most precious gifts to us: the gift of human life. Those who take innocent life are worthy of eternal damnation.

Yet as a Catholic I also believe in forgiveness and redemption. I believe that Jesus Christ gave His own life to bring us an even greater gift, namely, salvation which is the gift of eternal life. Because Christ is an infinite God who became man, whereas we are finite human creatures who desire to come to God, I believe there is no sin of which we are capable that Christ cannot forgive.

This includes sins against human life.

There is no way of knowing what went through Chris Benoit's mind as he struck out against his family and himself. Yet there is also no way of knowing what conversation took place between him and God in the final moments of his life. Therefore, what sustains at moments like these is the hope that Chris, Nancy and Daniel, in their dying moments, each made their final peace with God.

May their souls, and the souls of all the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


I pray the same, and presume nothing.

One year later and very few answers.

May their souls, and the souls of all the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


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This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on June 26, 2007 4:40 PM.

The Mass as it should be sung was the previous entry in this blog.

Does my bishop "get it" yet? is the next entry in this blog.

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