It is said that when the late Heath Ledger was tapped to play the role of the Joker in the 2008 Batman film The Dark Knight, he was cautioned by the man who had done so before. Veteran actor Jack Nicholson, who himself starred as the twisted villain in the 1989 film Batman, part of an earlier incarnation of the Batman saga, gave a cryptic response when told of Ledger's death from a perscription drug overdose.
"Well," Nicholson told reporters in London early Wednesday, "I warned him."
Ledger recently told reporters he "slept an average of two hours a night" while playing "a psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy ...
"I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going."
Prescription drugs didn't help ...
... which betrays not only the truly dark nature of the fictional character, but the reality of evil in the world. Opinion polls have shown that most people believe in angels, but also that most do not believe in the Devil, himself a fallen angel. Our Mother the Church warns us that Satan is a real person, if only in pure spirit, one who, in the words of Peter's epistle, “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) In depicting the character in prototypical comic book fashion, as opposed to Heath Ledger's deranged creature, Nicholson may have saved himself from being consumed by the role. Those who do not see this concern as realistic, would be even more hard pressed to explain than those who do, the recent incident in Aurora, Colorado, (not far from Columbine High School), which has come to be known as the "Movie Theater Massacre."
Does it come as any surprise to us, that one who would cold-heartedly engage in such an evil act, would depict himself as the unspeakable villain from the comic book series?
In the wake of the 9-11 tragedy nearly eleven years ago, a funeral was held in Arlington for one of the victims. The homily, given by the Reverend Father Franklyn McAfee, spoke of what the Church teaches us of the nature of evil.
I cannot explain the madness that took place on Tuesday. For what we saw with our own eyes is the face of evil. And evil cannot logically be explained because, as those of you who are steeped in the philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas know, evil -- malum -- is nihil. It is nothing.
Since God is existence itself -- God told Moses, “I am who am” -- evil would be nonbeing. Nothingness. And to confront nothingness is to come face-to-face with unspeakable horror.
We can, however, understand how people would be compelled to murder with enthusiasm so many people.
A terrorist is not born. Terrorists are made, with every conscious decision they make in life to hate, to choose death rather than life.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
Et lux perpetua luceat eos.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
And may God have mercy on us all.
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