You know the story. The evil queen looks in a magic mirror every day and says, “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” Each day the mirror responds that the queen is the fairest in the land. But then one day the queen looks in the mirror and the following exchange takes place:
Queen: Slave in the magic mirror, come from the farthest space, through wind and darkness I summon thee. Speak! Let me see thy face.
Magic Mirror: What wouldst thou know, my Queen?
Queen: Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?
Magic Mirror: Famed is thy beauty, Majesty. But hold, a lovely maid I see. Rags cannot hide her gentle grace. Alas, she is more fair than thee.
Queen: Alas for her! Reveal her name.
Magic Mirror: Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow.
Queen: Snow White!
The queen is so outraged that Snow White’s beauty has surpassed her own beauty that she orders her Huntsman to kill Snow White. When the Huntsman objects, the queen threatens him with his own life if he fails to follow her orders. The queen then demands that he provide her with proof that he killed Snow White, by delivering Snow White’s heart to the queen in a jeweled box.
Later, while Snow White is in the forest, the Huntsman approaches her from behind and raises his knife to kill her. When she sees him and screams, instead of killing her, he drops to his knees and begs for her forgiveness. He then reveals that the queen wants her to be killed and tells her that she needs to run and never come back.
So what was it that caused the queen to order the murder of Snow White?
What was it that caused the scribes and Pharisees to order the murder of Jesus.
It was the deadly combination of three of the seven root vices: pride, envy, and anger. It is this particular combination of vices that can cause a person to seek revenge upon another person. Sometimes that revenge leads to the murder of the other person.
It was the combination of pride, envy, and anger that prompted Cain — one of the first two sons of Adam and Eve — to murder his brother, Abel. It is the combination of pride, envy, and anger that sometimes causes a man to kill the woman he once loved. And it is the combination of pride, envy, and anger that sometimes fuels the rage of a young man to murder as many people as possible.
If you pay any attention to the national news, you know about the mass murders that took place last week in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. There’s no doubt that the two young men who were responsible for killing several people are evil, mentally deranged monsters, but they didn’t start out that way.
In an article that was published on April 24, 2018, at psychologytoday.com, Sam Louie reported that several of the young men who had gone on killing sprees had been “involuntary celibates.”
An involuntary celibate — which is commonly referred to as an “incel” — is an individual who is unable to find a romantic or sexual partner because he is awkward around other people and is incapable of functioning normally in society. There are places on the internet where incels gather and complain about how they have been denied what they believe they are entitled to: the companionship and sex that they crave.
Because of their pride, envy, and anger, some incels openly endorse violence against sexually active people. Over time, they develop a hatred for women and the men they are attracted to. There are various websites that provide support for and encourage this type of thinking and behavior.
It appears from early reports that Connor Betts, the 24-year-old gunman who killed nine people and injured 27 others last week in Dayton, Ohio, was a member of the incel community. The Psychology Today article that I mentioned earlier reported the following about mass murderers and the incel community:
The tragic death of 10 innocent lives in Toronto [on April 23, 2018] is a reminder of the vitriol and hate stemming from a minority viewpoint from within a fringe group known as “involuntary celibates” or incels for short. 25-year-old Alek Minassian intentionally struck a number of people on a busy Toronto street with a rental van and was charged today with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. Police say that on the suspect’s social media accounts, messages read: … All hail [to] the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!
Elliot Rodger was a purported incel who went on a killing rampage in 2014 near his campus of UC Santa Barbara after having written a manifesto seeking “vengeance against attractive women” for denying him sex and affection. He killed six people before shooting himself.
In 2015, Chris Harper-Mercer shot and killed nine people at a community college in Oregon before taking his own life. He was a self-described incel saying [in his own manifesto], “Here I am, 26, with no friends, no job, no girlfriend.”
While all mass murderers are not incels, they all have one thing in common: they are all evil people who, over time, have developed a hatred of others, in part, because their minds, hearts, and souls have become consumed by the sins of pride, envy, and anger.
Briefly, a person who is consumed with pride is defiant, vain, revengeful, unforgiving, and completely blind to the advice of others. To overcome pride, a person can, through prayer, discover and put into practice the antidote to pride, which is the virtue of humility.
A person who is consumed with envy is hateful, malicious, jealous, spiteful, and joyful over the sorrow and misfortune of others. Envy corrupts a person’s soul and leads people to believe that they have been unjustly deprived of something that they believe they are entitled to. To overcome envy, a person can, through prayer, discover and put into practice the antidote to envy, which are the virtues of humility, charity, and admiration (of others).
A person who is consumed with anger is impatient, indignant, explosive, vindictive, revengeful, cruel, full of rage, and not at peace. To overcome anger, a person can, through prayer, discover and put into practice the antidote to anger, which are the virtues of humility, kindness, and forgiveness.
By the way, there is a miraculous mirror that you and I can look into and, over time, learn to see ourselves as we truly are. That mirror resides in a monstrance that is located in our adoration chapel. By visiting that mirror every day, we will eventually be able to replace all our vices with the virtues that reside within the heart and soul of our Lord and Savior.