AUSTIN, Texas -- Melissa Bernstein thought she'd be happy when someone finally killed Osama bin Laden. Instead, she's confused.

"I don't know how I should feel," said the Austin woman, whose mother was working at the World Trade Center and died in its destruction on 9/11. Americans across the country cheered bin Laden's death after the President's announcement Sunday night with flag waving, horn honking and rallies.

The celebratory mood left others uncomfortable. The Vatican released a statement saying the event called for "reflection, not rejoicing." Some questioned whether it was morally wrong to celebrate a death, no matter the crime.

The euphoria Americans are feeling is a catharsis, said Arthur Markman, a psychology professor at the University of Texas. "We've been carrying around this national tragedy for 10 years."

For some the emotional reactions were driven by relief of knowing bin Laden was no longer a threat, said Joseph White, director of family life for the Catholic Diocese of Austin.

Then there's the fact that people wanted to enjoy what they considered to be a national victory against terrorism. At a time when the country is deeply divided ideologically, coming together in mass celebration is appealing, Markman said.

Some religious leaders called for tempered reactions.

One Vatican spokesman said, "In the face of a man's death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred."

Bernstein said she's still working her way through her emotions. But she said she took no pleasure in watching the rallies on television. They reminded her too much of the videos showing foreigners celebrating on 9/11.

"We don't look any better than they did, dancing on TV at the loss of life," she said. "It is complicated."

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