If you are looking for something uplifting to watch, check out “Noble.” It’s free on Amazon Prime. A true story about a Catholic woman from Ireland who felt called by God to go to Vietnam — but for what reason she didn’t know. It’s beautiful!
No comment yet because I haven’t had time to listen, but I plan to.
“My Name is George Zabelka” by Peter Kearney
Now I am an old man, soon to meet my God
My journey here is almost at an end.
But before the journey’s over there’s one place I must go
Can’t get into heaven till I face up to my hell.
My name is George Zabelka, an ordinary man
And in answer to your questions, my story I will tell.
I was raised to be a Christian in the fashion of the day
Seemed all I had to do was follow rules.
So it seemed right to join the army on that island in the sea
Where I was chaplain to the 509th bomb crews
And I gave the boys a blessing as they flew that August day …
Hiroshima still sleeping and no word did I say.
So I go to light a candle that can shine in the night
For my brother I have wronged, my sister I have killed.
Come light a million candles in the tomb of the night
And we’ll see the light of morning rise again.
Well something deep inside me knew the truth of what I’d done
And my nightmares brought the terror home to me.
I knew the dark and loveless spirit, the cold and clever lie
That held the power and condemned those towns to die
And I know I was no better than the men on Calvary
Who had their orders and followed thoughtlessly. CHORUS.
I know that war has always been, it’s a habit deeply formed
And every land thinks God is on its side
And the Church has offered blessings and talked about ‘just wars’
Inside with Caesar, leaving Christ outside the door
But I say this stage is over, the bomb has changed it all …
Together we will rise up or together we must fall. CHORUS.
And now I am an old man, soon to meet my God
My journey here is almost at an end.
But before the journey’s over I’m going to Japan
As a pilgrim, a small and sorry man
To kneel and beg forgiveness in the hope to reconcile…
One step begins the journey along the homeward mile. CHORUS.
Words and music by Peter Kearney
Don’t miss the latest CAM podcast: Episode 50!
I know, I know — it’s almost three hours long! But it is the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and this episode provides a great “behind the scenes” oral history that you won’t hear elsewhere; not to mention it acts as a great testimony to the way God works in human lives and human history, carrying out his plans in ways we can’t even see or could ever possibly plan.
God had a plan for George’s life. Find out more about:
- What he did as a Catholic chaplain in 1945 at Tinian Island
- Why he “blessed the bombs” of the 509th composite group, the group that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan
- How belligerent Fr. Zabelka was when he first showed up at Fr. McCarthy’s retreats in the mid-70s. (“Are you telling me Jesus wouldn’t enjoy a good boxing match?!”)
- His eventual conversion.
- How his story came to be known around the world, despite Catholic media having no interest in it whatsoever.
- How his story helped to spark the movement on the part of the U.S. bishops that eventually led to the writing and publishing of their 1983 pastoral “The Challenge of Peace” (which was a really big deal back in its day)
- Why Zabelka is “considered a saint” in some circles of Japanese Christianity
To me, the story of George is unimaginably important. The story of why there are hardly any Catholics who know about George is equally important. It’s a great story, one about conversation, repentance, peace. Why were so few media outlets in the United States, both American and Catholic, so disinterested in telling it?
Don’t forget to watch the documentary about George as well, “The Reluctant Prophet”:
Father Raymond J. de Souza wrote “The Morality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 75 Years Later” at The National Catholic Register:
In it, he said: “It is beyond dispute that nuclear weapons — a single bomb capable of killing 140,000 in Hiroshima and 75,000 in Nagasaki — changed the military dimension of the war. The atomic bomb made it clear that every major city in Japan could be obliterated with a few dozen American sorties. The unconditional surrender of Japan thus followed swiftly.”
He is wrong. Maybe he should listen to members of the military at the time, some with titles like Admiral and General and names like MacArthur, Eisenhower and Nimitz, to understand the “military dimension” of the use of the nuclear bombs on Japan.
It’s sad when we have to rely on the LameStream news of Yahoo/LA Times to help us unequivocally understand the horrors of war, over the FakeNews of a supposedly Catholic publication: