WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Four days ago, Henry Borja, a parishioner at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in suburban West Palm Beach, set off a kerfuffle by asking that the noon Mass today include the intention of praying for Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks who was killed by Navy SEALS on May 1.
This example of what seemed to many as excessive Christian charity aroused controversy, but after Borja backtracked and agreed to change the intent of the prayers for world peace, things quieted down.
Today's noon Mass offered no protesters, and no disruptions, only a church full of Catholics happy to pray for world peace.
In an interview with The Palm Beach Post on Saturday, Borja said he wanted to make clear that he was not a terrorist sympathizer. He said he has prayed for 10 years for the victims of the 9/11 attacks and of other terrorist acts worldwide.
He said he originally requested prayers for the soul of bin Laden after seeing the celebrations of the al-Qaida leader's death and wanting to reconcile them to his faith's teaching of forgiveness. He changed his request Friday after talking with the church's pastor, the Rev. Gavin Badway.
"Jesus told us to forgive our enemies. But we don't abide," said Borja, 50, of Palm Springs. " Even with so much death and destruction in the world, we must strive for peace."
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