When I heard the news on the radio last night, my immediate response was to offer prayer for the repose of his soul. If there's even the slightest chance the man is not in Hell, he needs all the help he can get.
This is, I hope, a Catholic response.
On the one hand, it is right and proper to rejoice in the defeat of one's enemy. And Osama bin Laden, by his own description, was our enemy. His actions were horrific and without excuse, and his defeat is a victory not only for the USA but for all those whom al-Qaeda targeted.
On the other, every human death is a tragedy, albeit a tragedy laced with hope, as we know from our celebrations of our Lord's resurrection. Osama bin Laden, before anything else, is a human person, and is a beloved child of God.
My prayers also go up on behalf of the team that conducted the operation. From some of President Obama's comments, it sounds as if the goal was to capture him, and that Bin Laden was killed in the course of that attempt. But the statement, "After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body," makes it sound as if bin Laden was assassinated after the fighting had finished. This would not be a morally just action, even on a battlefield.
Now, it goes without saying that I am in no position to judge the morality of actions that I know about only from summary news reports. And I hope it is obvious that I consider this a day of legitimate and true joy for the US. But this joy is tainted with sorrow, and with a sincere concern that our joy will turn to arrogance or forgetfulness of our own sins, and of our constant call to charity.
Hence my prayers for his soul. I know only of his public acts of violence and aggression; I know nothing of the state of his soul. I do know my own faults, and I hope that people will pray for me at my death. The Golden Rule dictates I do to others as I would have done to me, so...
From the gates of Hell, rescue his soul, O Lord. Amen.