Category Archives: Events

“Reclaiming” Jesus–Really?

Reclaiming Jesus Event Brings Its Message to the White House, National Catholic Review, May 25, 2018

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RECLAIMING JESUS

but not

THE NONVIOLENT JESUS OF THE GOSPELS

by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

It is difficult, if not impossible, to figure out which Jesus is being reclaimed in the recent much-ballyhooed document, Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis (attached below). But, what is clear is the Jesus that the document presumes to reclaim is not the Jesus of the Gospels who was Nonviolent and who teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies. Not once in the entire Reclaiming Jesus document is Jesus’ rejection of violence by word and by deed in the Gospels mentioned, although the document gives a list of things that must be reject based on Jesus teachings and His being Lord. Nor is it mentioned that His disciples are called to follow Him and reject violence. So the document communicates that a Christian, whether American or British, who has reclaimed Jesus as the document prescribes could join the American or British military and bomb the be-Jesus out of human beings designated “enemies” or designated “collateral damage” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

The idea governing Reclaiming Jesus and around which its authors state the entire document is composed and validated, is this: “Jesus is Lord. That is our foundational confession. It was central for the early church and needs to again become central to us. If Jesus is Lord, then Caesar was not—nor any other political ruler since. If Jesus is Lord, no other authority is absolute.” Neither I nor any other Christian could reasonably disagree with this. It is in fact the theological basis for proclaiming and adhering to Gospel Nonviolence. The Gospels themselves in which Jesus teaches, lives and dies in the Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies—and which Gospels the Catholic Church teaches in its Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution Revelation (sec 18-19), “faithfully hand on what Jesus Chris, while living among men really did and taught for their eternal salvation” —are the historical root of Gospel Nonviolence. But the profession, Jesus is Lord, is the theological root of Gospel Nonviolence, because if Jesus’ authority in matters of Christian faith and morals is not absolute, then He is just another guy conjecturing about the manner in which life should be lived or how to be saved from eternal death.

The Reclaiming Jesus document goes on to say, “What we believe, i.e., Jesus is Lord, leads us to what we must reject. Our ‘Yes’ is the foundation for our ‘No.’“ It then goes on to list those matters that Christians must say, ‘No’ to and rejected on the basis of their, ‘Yes,’ to Jesus is Lord. The given list of what must be rejected because Jesus is Lord is this: “white nationalism and racism, misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women, language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God, the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life, any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule,  “America first” as a theological heresy for followers of Christ.”

It should be noted, and noted well, that while their document states, “If Jesus is Lord, then Caesar is not,” these Christian peace activists from the U.S. and Britain and their document do not reject Christian participation in Caesar’s violence and war because Jesus is Lord. This is bizarre since the Lord Jesus’ rejection of violence in the Gospels is unambiguous. It is strange since the authors respective countries are two of the greatest purveyors of violence in the world historically and today. It is gravely disingenuous since the Christians in their societies did and do most of the violence done by each country. Reclaiming Jesus and proclaiming Jesus is Lord in such societies should at a minimum mean rejecting participation in the legal and illegal, romantic and sorted violence of these societies and their institutions that incarnationally follow the way and use the means of the violent Caesar rather then the Nonviolent Jesus. It should mean at least this because,

Jesus taught that violence belongs to the Reign of Satan, and that men must expel violence if they wish to liberate themselves from the Reign of Satan. If Jesus did not reject any type of violence for any purpose, then we know nothing of him. No reader of the New Testament, simple or sophisticated, can retain any doubt of Jesus’ position toward violence directed to persons, individual or collective, organized or free enterprise, he rejected it totally. Jesus in no way accepts violence as a means of controlling violence. 

Jesus presents in His words and life not only a good way of doing things, not only an ideal to be executed whenever it is convenient, but the only way of doing what He did.” (Quoted section is from the Catholic Biblical scholar, Rev. John L. McKenzie.)

It is, however, not surprising that no mention is made of reclaiming the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels. Some of the authors of this document were formally on Barack Obama’s, aka Barack Obomba’s, spiritual consultation team. And, one the authors is the episcopal chaplain of the British royalty—a gene pool that has never existed, cannot exists and does not exists without gargantuan amounts of violence being employed to sustain it and to protect its unholy and promiscuous accumulation of luxury wealth in the face of thousands of human beings writhing in pain and unnecessarily perishing daily because they lack the few cents to procure the needed food or medicine. The hording of luxury wealth in a world where billions do not have the bare necessities need to live can only be defended and sustained by violence.

If a Christian were to truly desire to reclaim the Jesus of the Gospels—the only Jesus there ever was or will be— it takes no literary skill to say,

What cannot be done without violence cannot be done by a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus. A Christian cannot follow Jesus’ “new commandment ” to “Love one another as I have loved you,” and use violence to do good or to fight evil.”

But this is exactly the Jesus that this document and its peace activists authors do not want to reclaim, any more than the institutional Churches of Christianity want to reclaim Him. Both want a “Jesus” who endorses violence so they can carry out their plans to make the world a better place by using violence, whatever their plans may be.

So which Jesus is this Reclaiming Jesus document trying to reclaim? It is trying to reclaim—or more accurately trying to propagandize— a “Jesus” that never existed in history as a person—a violent liberal-Constantinian Jesus. But a violent liberal-Constantinian “Jesus” is no more the reality of the Person revealed and proclaimed in the Gospels than is a violent conservative-Constantinian Jesus. They are mirror images of each other in terms of the means they use to respond to evil and to promote the good. What each calls Christian love is saturated with violence—that is, with that phenomenon that “Jesus teaches belongs to the Reign of Satan.” It is Christians and their Churches that almost universally confess faith in a violence-endorsing “Jesus” that are the source of this time of crisis. The spiritually malformed Christians Trump, Obama, Clinton, Bush, Merkel, Blair, Putin, etc. are but blips on the screen of the crisis.

It is the institutional Christian Churches and their deceitful leaders, who gave them—hardwired nurtured them—and billions of other Christians into the mind-style of justified Christian killers and liars under the pretense of helping them put on the mind and truth of Jesus, who are the cause of the crisis. It is absurd to believe that implementing a new agenda for the betterment of humanity via a new version of a violence endorsing “Jesus” can solve this crisis. The violence-endorsing “Jesus” illusion is the crisis in the Church and in the world.

The Jesus that must be reclaimed to solve this crisis is the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels with His Way of Nonviolent Love, without exception, of friends and enemies. The Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels is Lord. Believe it or not. His authority is therefore absolute. Believe it or not. Jesus presents in His words and life not only a good way of doing things, not only an ideal to be executed whenever it is convenient, but the only way of doing what He did. Believe it or not. And, that Way unequivocally rejects violence, even when, indeed most especially when, ordered by Lord Caesar. Believe it or not.

Let this new evangelization program, as well as all new evangelization programs of all Churches, be in fact new and reclaim the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels from the deceitfully concocted and institutionally propagandized illusion of the violence justifying, endorsing, supporting Jesus, that has brought so much evil and misery into the world and prevented so much good from being done.

Review of Andrew Bacevich’s Book

Our blogger Doug has arranged for Andrew Bacevich to give a speech on June 1 in Boston.

Here is a review of his latest book: America’s War for the Greater Middle East at The Intercept. 

Here are the details of the event:

For our readers in the Boston area, here is a chance to get involved:

Please join us on June 1 to hear a talk by Andrew Bacevich on the dangers of American militarism.

Andrew Bacevich is a Catholic historian and Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at Boston University where he taught for many years. He is also a Vietnam veteran who retired with the rank of Colonel after over 20 years in the US Army. He has written many books on American foreign policy including The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War, and Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. His newest work, America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History will be available on April 5, 2016.

Professor Bacevich is also a regular contributor to the Catholic magazine/website Commonweal and many other publications and websites. He has appeared on TV shows such as the Bill Moyers Journal and even the comedy show of fellow Catholic Stephen Colbert.

This event will be the first in a series intended to help American Catholics and others to confront the problems of militarism and perpetual war which exist in our country today.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
7:00 PM at:

The Hibernian Hall
151 Watertown Street
Watertown, MA

Free and open to the public. Ample parking. Doors open at 6:30.

Sponsored by Boston Catholics Against Militarism
Join our meetup. Oppose militarism and build Catholic solidarity!

 

Boston CAM hosts Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich speaks at the Naval War College (from Wikipedia)

Andrew Bacevich speaks at the Naval War College (from Wikipedia)

For our readers in the Boston area, here is a chance to get involved:

Please join us on June 1 to hear a talk by Andrew Bacevich on the dangers of American militarism.

Andrew Bacevich is a Catholic historian and Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at Boston University where he taught for many years. He is also a Vietnam veteran who retired with the rank of Colonel after over 20 years in the US Army. He has written many books on American foreign policy including The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War, and Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. His newest work, America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History was released on April 5, 2016.

Professor Bacevich is also a regular contributor to the Catholic magazine/website Commonweal and many other publications and websites. He has appeared on TV shows such as the Bill Moyers Journal and even the comedy show of fellow Catholic Stephen Colbert.

This event will be the first in a series intended to help American Catholics and others to confront the problems of militarism and perpetual war which exist in our country today. After the talk, we will have a “social hour” with a cash bar available. Relax, have a pint and make new friends. Discuss politics and religion. Even this year’s humdrum Presidential campaign! All the things you can’t talk about at work!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
7:00 PM at:

The Hibernian Hall
151 Watertown Street
Watertown, MA

Free and open to the public. Ample parking. Doors open at 6:30.

Sponsored by Boston Catholics Against Militarism
Join our meetup. Oppose militarism and build Catholic solidarity!

Manhattan Project Park

I believe stories like this, lauding nuclear weapons and defending our supposed need for them, will likely become more prevalent in the ensuing weeks and months in an effort to gain support for their use.

New Mexico Community Marks Opening of Manhattan Project Park, ABC News, November 11, 2015

 

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In Atlanta, May 2

All Catholics against militarism are invited to an event at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church in Sandy Springs (Atlanta) Georgia on May 2. This will be a one-day conference called “Gospel Nonviolence: The Great Failure, The Only Hope” presented by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy. All are welcome to attend, listen, and reflect.

The-Christian-tradition2
It seems most of us Catholics learn precious little about either tradition in the Church when it comes to dealing with conflict. I, for one, have never heard the word “nonviolence” mentioned in a Catholic Church! I often hear the term “just war” thrown around. It is important to learn about both of these traditions, I think.

Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy received his B.A. and two M.A. degrees from the University of Notre Dame and his Doctorate in Jurisprudence from Boston College. He taught at the University of Notre Dame where he founded The Program for the Study and Practice of Nonviolent Conflict Resolution and he is also co-founder of Pax Christi-USA. For twenty-five years he served as Spiritual Director and/or Rector of St. Gregory the Theologian Byzantine-Melkite Catholic Seminary.

Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

For over forty years he has directed retreats and spoken at conferences throughout the world on the issue of faith and violence. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his life’s work on behalf of peace within and among people. He is author of several books and his series BEHOLD THE LAMB is almost universally considered to be the most spiritually profound presentation on the matter of Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies available on CD/DVD.

Please spread the word to anyone in the Atlanta area who might be interested in attending.

Find us Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/411178052376042/
To register, go to:
http://www.stjudeatlanta.net/PaxChristiEvent

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“For Christians, Holy Week is the most meaningful and most significant week of the liturgical year…The primal spiritual encounter of Holy Week—between Satan and God, evil and good, the lie and the truth, death and life, total destruction and total salvation—takes place on the historical plane as an encounter between violence and nonviolence, violent hate and nonviolent love, violent justice and nonviolent righteousness, violent retribution and nonviolent forgiveness, violent mercilessness and non violent mercy, violent wounding and nonviolent healing, violent power and the power of nonviolence, violent holy men and a temptaion_in_gardennonviolent Holy Man, violent people and a nonviolent person, the violence of the secular and the religious kingdoms of this world and the nonviolence of the Kingdom of God, the violent Prince of this world and the nonviolent Prince of Peace, violent monotheism and nonviolent monotheism, the violent Cain and the nonviolent Christ, the violent sword and the nonviolent cross. Jesus does not suffer and die quietly, in bed, from medical problems associated with old age—and there must be a reason in the Redemptive Plan of God through Jesus Christ for this.

Holy Week is situated and saturated in a life-and-death battle between violence and nonviolence. Take the violence of humanly planned and executed torture and murder out of Holy Week, and there is no Holy Week. Take Jesus’ Nonviolent Love of all, of enemies and of friends, of His torturers and of His murderers, out of Holy Week and there is no Holy Week. Only God can author authentic revelation. If we do not choose to accept His Word as He communicated it, then we have no access to authentic revelation, which means we have no access to its power and wisdom.

So why do bishops, priests, ministers, and pastors refuse—almost universally, and almost universally in the spirit of willful obstinacy—to talk about, much less focus on, nonviolence, or its derivatives, e.g., nonviolent love, in their sermons about Holy Week during Holy Week?”

-Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Should Catholics be the “new isolationists?”

Here are three articles by some very conservative Catholics who oppose any further U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

– from Hands Off Iraq by John Zmirak:

“Any war which we launched to meddle in the Middle East would fail at least one criterion for a just war: It would have no solid prospect of success. It would be as futile as Guy Fawkes’ bombing of Parliament, or a vigilante attack on an abortion clinic.

Because it would be unjust, it would be sinful. And so Christians should oppose it — on principle.”

– from Make Congress Vote On War by Pat Buchanan:

“Rand Paul is right. If Barack Obama wants to take us into a new war, with air attacks and drone strikes, or with ground troops, he has a constitutional duty to get Congress to authorize that war.

And if Congress does authorize a new war, at least the voters will know whom to be rid of this November.”

– from Another Pointless War? by Judge Andrew Napolitano:

“There is a lesson in this, and it reveals the power of religious fanaticism when resisted by unprincipled political force…

But the American military-industrial-neocon complex wants more war. We must resist them. We should gather all Americans in Iraq, take what moveable wealth is ours and come home — and stop searching the world for monsters to destroy, as that will end up destroying us.”

In 2002, Amr Moussa, then-secretary general of the Arab League, warned that the coming invasion of Iraq would “open the gates of hell.”

Now this “prophecy” is being fulfilled with a vengeance, and it is a good bet that the worst is yet to come. It is evident that the “unprincipled political force” of the U.S. government, which employed a vicious divide and conquer strategy to destroy Iraq and which is chiefly responsible for opening those gates, needs to be restrained from any further murderous interventions abroad. Catholics can play an important role in advocating a “new isolationism” or non-interventionism for the government which represents us. Hopefully that might also lead to a period of introspection and true repentance in this country for the evils committed in the name of “Americanism” at home and abroad.

Faith and Resistance Retreats in D.C.

Annually three times a year, Jonah House and the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker of D.C. organize Faith and Resistance Retreats: one during Holy Week, the second on the anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the first week of August, and the third during the Feast of the Holy Innocents in December. These retreats operate on the praxis of reflection/action/reflection. Inspirational and informational presentations lead to public witness, prepared by the community that gathers, at the White House, Pentagon, and other sites in D.C. The presentation and the action are evaluated and the community moves to the next stage of retreat. Everyone is welcomed to join.