Category Archives: Just War

Bishop Barron’s Clever Dismissal

The following was written by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy:

Friends,

This eight minute video presentation by Bishop Robert Barron is an example of the clever dismissal of Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, which the average Catholic is subjected to ceaselessly in thousands of different ways by the violence justifying institutional Church through its senior personnel and its various avenues of communication. It is a example of the traditional ecclesiastical tactic of damning Gospel Nonviolence by faint praise, saying—in stark opposition to Jesus’ “new commandment”—that all sane minded, realistic Christians certainly do not want all Christians to be nonviolent, although it is nice to have a few Christians around who follow that Way in order to remind us what heaven will be like.

https://youtu.be/Y-0z2m_NtS8

In this video Cardinal George and Bishop Barron have strayed a long way from what  Jesus teaches in the Gospels. Their statements equating celibacy with Gospel Nonviolence are erroneous and meant to teach the majority of Christians to ignore Jesus’ teaching of nonviolence, while they give it a backhanded tribute.

To undo some of their obfuscation it must be stated without equivocation that celibacy is not the will of God as revealed by Jesus in the Gospels, but Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is. Celibacy is an option within the will of God as revealed by Jesus. Violence and enmity— the quintessential components of every war—are explicitly rejected as options within the will of God as revealed by Jesus, who is God Incarnate. Contrary to Bishop Barron’s talk rejecting Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies in imitation of Jesus is not an option granted to any Christian by Jesus. The analogy of Barron and George comparing celibacy with Jesus’ teaching on nonviolence is an invalid, self-serving, misleading and anti-evangelical effort. It appears to be the work not of two learned Christians who do not know that Nonviolent Love is a teaching of Jesus applicable to all Christians at all times, but rather the work of two highly educated Christians who do not want to know and/or to admit it, and who want to proselytize others into following a non-existing just war Jesus as they follow a never existing just war Jesus—as if there were spiritual safety in numbers.

Their duplicitousness in proselytizing is chilling because while comparing nonviolence in the Church to celibacy in the Church and simultaneously effusively praising both, their statements in the minds of most Catholics, marginalize to the position of useful Catholic gadflies, those who proclaim Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolence Love of friends and enemies. Their statements are intended to obscure or undermine the fact that those who proclaim Gospel Nonviolence are proclaiming, not an optional Church discipline, but rather an essential dimension of God, of Divine Love, of that power, the only power, which in truth saves. As the Catholic Biblical scholar, the late Rev. John L. McKenzie, wrote in his book The Power and the Wisdom (Imprimatur, 1966), “The power which destroys all other powers is the power of love, the love of God revealed and active in Jesus Christ. God revealed in Jesus that He loves man and will deliver him through love and through nothing else… 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.”

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

P.S. Daniel Berrigan, S.J. in following the Way of Nonviolence was not following Gandhi, Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day as Robert Barron claims. He was following Jesus. There is an infinite difference between following the Creator and following another creature like yourself.

Just War, by Murray Rothbard

A classic essay, “Just War,” in which Murray Rothbard addresses the American Civil War in a different light,  which is relevant to the “conversation” happening right now about Civil War monuments. He talks about classic international law and the replacement of it by “humanitarian” war.

The cause of “human rights” is precisely the critical argument by which, in retrospect, Abraham Lincoln’s War of Northern Aggression against the South is justified and even glorified. The “humanitarian” goes forth and rights the wrong of slavery, doing so through mass murder, the destruction of institutions and property, and the wreaking of havoc which has still not disappeared.

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For in this War Between the States, the South may have fought for its sacred honor, but the Northern war was the very opposite of honorable. We remember the care with which the civilized nations had developed classical international law. Above all, civilians must not be targeted; wars must be limited. But the North insisted on creating a conscript army, a nation in arms, and broke the 19th-century rules of war by specifically plundering and slaughtering civilians, by destroying civilian life and institutions so as to reduce the South to submission. Sherman’s infamous March through Georgia was one of the great war crimes, and crimes against humanity, of the past century-and-a-half. Because by targeting and butchering civilians, Lincoln and Grant and Sherman paved the way for all the genocidal honors of the monstrous 20th century. There has been a lot of talk in recent years about memory, about never forgetting about history as retroactive punishment for crimes of war and mass murder. As Lord Acton, the great libertarian historian, put it, the historian, in the last analysis, must be a moral judge. The muse of the historian, he wrote, is not Clio, but Rhadamanthus, the legendary avenger of innocent blood. In that spirit, we must always remember, we must never forget, we must put in the dock and hang higher than Haman, those who, in modern times, opened the Pandora’s Box of genocide and the extermination of civilians: Sherman, Grant, and Lincoln.

Indeed, there is a vital critical difference between the two unjust causes we have described: the British and the North. The British, at least, were fighting on behalf of a cause which, even if wrong and unjust, was coherent and intelligible: that is, the sovereignty of a hereditary monarch. What was the North’s excuse for their monstrous war of plunder and mass murder against their fellow Americans? Not allegiance to an actual, real person, the king, but allegiance to a nonexistent, mystical, quasi-divine alleged entity, “the Union.” The King was at least a real person, and the merits or demerits of a particular king or the monarchy in general can be argued. But where is “the Union” located? How are we to gauge the Union’s deeds? To whom is this Union accountable?

The Union was taken, by its Northern worshipers, from a contractual institution that can either be cleaved to or scrapped, and turned into a divinized entity, which must be worshipped, and which must be permanent, unquestioned, all-powerful. There is no heresy greater, nor political theory more pernicious, than sacralizing the secular. But this monstrous process is precisely what happened when Abraham Lincoln and his northern colleagues made a god out of the Union. If the British forces fought for bad King George, the Union armies pillaged and murdered on behalf of this pagan idol, this “Union,” this Moloch that demanded terrible human sacrifice to sustain its power and its glory.

 

Letter to Pope Francis

The following was written by Mark Scibilia-Carver

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Dear Pope Francis,

Greetings from Trumansburg, New York and Mary, Mother of Mercy Parish.

Many U.S. Catholics agree with your assessment that we are already in the midst of World War III, given the open, covert and proxy wars that are ongoing.  The U.S. is the world’s greatest arms merchant and has bombed, invaded and occupied Muslim countries for at least the last 25 years.  This  “jubilee of mercilessness” is motivated by the greed and arrogance of the wealthy who covet the world’s resources.  These wars have resulted in the deaths of millions of poor souls, to mention one of the costs.  There is no doubt that thousands of women have been killed, along with their children, including the unborn.

No one should be surprised that a group like ISIS has arisen to resist this “crusade” of the west but it is the U.S. with its military that is, by far, the world’s greatest terrorist.

Please note that this February 15 marks 87 years since the death of Benjamin Joseph Salmon, a Catholic of Denver, Colorado.  Ben Salmon refused to fight and kill his “brothers” in WWI years before Gandhi, Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, Dorothy Day or Martin Luther King.  For his conscientious objection to a war in which millions of baptized Christians killed each other, he was first sentenced to death and later to 25 years in prison.  After 2 ½ years in prison he wrote a 235 page treatise based on his Catholic faith and his reading of Christian scripture and concluded that there was “no such animal as a just war”.  This treatise and much more can be seen at www.bensalmon.org.

February 19 is the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time.   The Gospel is Matthew 5: 38-48, from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus commands that we love our enemies.  The same command is pronounced twice in Luke’s Sermon on the Plain.  Both sermons end with Jesus insisting that his disciples put these commands into action.

The U.S. has seen the rise of a peculiar “Christian” fascism in support of our imperial wars.  This is a time that seems right to place the light and truth of Jesus’ nonviolence on a lamp stand and not under a bushel basket.  Pope Benedict was right, “it is no longer licit to even speak of a just war.”  Pope St. John Paul II was right, “violence is a lie”.  You were right, “to be a true follower today, it is necessary to embrace Jesus’ nonviolence”  Now we need more than words.  We need an authoritative teaching of the gospel truth.  The teaching must be so clear that our Catholic youth, who are constantly targeted for military recruitment, cannot mistake it.

As you already know the nonviolent truth about Jesus, please consider February 19 as the day to give an ex cathedra teaching to end the “just war” era of Catholicism!  With Jesus and the Gospel there is no justified killing, no “just war.”

In solidarity with the suffering such a witness will entail,

Mark Scibilia-Carver

In Case You Missed It

CAM started a few years ago when we wanted to speak out against the first ever collection for the Archdiocese of Military Services and we suggested putting a paper of protest in the collection basket.

Bob Woldrop of the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City prepared a similar statement this year. It can be found here: http://www.justpeace.org/mscollection.pdf

Though this happened on November 5 and 6 this year, and we forgot to tell you about it, it is still good to read the statements and ponder them and keep this small boycott in mind for next year.

Fr. Emmanuel McCarthy writes: “I have added a few words to it to make it fully consistent with my conscience. But ninety-nine percent of what is written is Bob’s work.”

Here is the text of the statement slightly tweaked by Fr. McCarthy:

I am not giving to the 2016 Archdiocese for Military Services Collection on the weekend of November  5-6.The bishops of the Archdiocese for Military Services, together with nearly all of their brother United States Bishops, are guilty of material cooperation with the objective evil of unjust war. In 2003, both Pope John Paul II and then Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Benedict XVI, condemned our attack on Iraq as an unjust war. In spite of the Pope’s opposition, the Most Rev. Edwin O’Brien, then Archbishop for the Military Services advised Catholic members of the US Armed Forces: “Given the complexity of factors involved, many of which understandably remain confidential, it is altogether appropriate for members of our armed forces to presume the integrity of our leadership and its judgments and therefore
to carry out their military duties in good conscience.”

Subsequent events have sadly proven the truth, wisdom, and prudence of Pope John Paul II’s judgment, and the fallacy and danger of the moral relativism embraced by the Bishops of the Archdiocese for Military Services and most of the other US Catholic Bishops regarding unjust war.

The consequences cascading from our invasion brought death and injury and social dislocation to hundreds of thousands and devastated the historic Christian communities of Iraq and subsequently Syria. It may fairly be said that those who enabled and supported the war on the people of Iraq are “secondary terrorists” in that they created the support system and the objective conditions on the ground in the Middle East that are driving the extreme forms of terrorism currently prevalent in the region.

Evil actions have evil consequences and those who propose the actions must own the evil consequences —and repent.

Therefore, because of these issues, and the overriding issue that Jesus absolutely rejected violence and enmity and taught His disciples to do the same, I am not giving to the collection for the Archdiocese of Military Services.

It is a sad and scandalous day when a people’s religious leaders fail them so egregiously. I promise to pray for the conversion of the Military Services hierarchy and clergy, and for the moral and physical protection and conversion of the members of the U.S. Military, and of all members of all militaries who are our sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, and children.

They deserve religious leaders who will courageously preach and teach the entire Gospel of Christ, not just that which is acceptable to the United States Government.

Oops, They Did It Again

This article was written by Bob Waldrop and was posted on AntiWar.Com. Here is the link.

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Oops! The Catholic Bishops Forgot To Include War in Their List of Issues for Pro-Life Month!

In the Catholic Church, October is “pro-life month” – an organized focus on the Church’s teaching that life should be respected from the moment of conception to the time of natural death. Yet, “time of natural death” notwithstanding, the issue of war doesn’t even get a sentence.

The letter of the Archbishop of New York City, His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, chairman of the bishops’ committee on Pro-Life Activities, introducing this year’s activities, says nothing about war. There are brochuresavailable for free download – on mercy, abortion, suicide, euthanasia and end of life care, fertility treatment, adoption, and the Care of Creation. War however is not a topic of concern. The bishops suggest intercessions and bulletin notes for the month of October, but invite no one to pray about war. The 18 page catalog of pro-life resources has nothing about war or peace. The bishops’ website section on Pro-Life Activities, has 15 topics, but nothing about war and peace. They provide lots of free social media for posts and tweets, but again, we find not one mention of war.

This cannot be an accident. How can it be anything other than a deliberate decision to marginalize the issue of Catholic participation in the unjust wars of the United States government? Alas, this latest maneuver is consistent with the U.S. Catholic bishops’ attitudes since the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq.

When the United States attacked the people of Iraq in 2003, Pope John Paul II judged that to be an unjust war, a decision confirmed by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict. He famously stated that there was no justification for a preventive war in Catholic teaching.

The US bishops’ position was summarized in their November 2002 statement: “With the Holy See and bishops from the Middle East and around the world, we fear that resort to war, under present circumstances and in light of current public information, would not meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching for overriding the strong presumption against the use of military force.”

It is fair to ask, in light of subsequent history: Did the US bishops actually believe what they and Pope John Paul II said about this war? What actions – if any – followed their words?

One bishop certainly believed the Pope. The Most Reverend Michael Botean, of the Eparchy of St. George in Canton for the Romanians, wrote to his people during Lent 2003, saying: “Therefore I, by the grace of God and the favor of the Apostolic See, Bishop of the Eparchy of St. George in Canton, must declare to you, my people, for the sake of your salvation as well as my own, that any direct participation and support of this war against the people of Iraq is objectively grave evil, a matter of mortal sin. Beyond a reasonable doubt this war is morally incompatible with the Person and Way of Jesus Christ. With moral certainty I say to you it does not meet even the minimal standards of the Catholic just war theory. Thus, any killing associated with it is unjustified and, in consequence, unequivocally murder. Direct participation in this war is the moral equivalent of direct participation in an abortion.” (Emphasis added.)

That level of moral certitude was not shared by the rest of the Bishops. Their response, as we moved directly to war, can only be described as moral relativism:

  • “People of good will may differ on how to apply just war norms in particular cases, especially when events are moving rapidly and the facts are not altogether clear.” Nov. 2002.
  • “People of good will may apply ethical principles and come to different prudential judgments, depending upon their assessment of the facts at hand and other issues.” Sept. 2002
  • War has serious consequences, so could the failure to act. People of good will may and do disagree on how to interpret just war teaching and how to apply just war norms to the controverted facts of this case. We understand and respect the difficult moral choices that must be made by our President and others who bear the responsibility of making these grave decisions involving our nation’s and the world’s security.” March 2003

The Most Rev. Edwin O’Brien, then Archbishop for the Military Services, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, March 25, 2003, advised Catholic members of the US Armed Forces:

“Given the complexity of factors involved, many of which understandably remain confidential, it is altogether appropriate for members of our armed forces to presume the integrity of our leadership and its judgments and therefore to carry out their military duties in good conscience.”

Praising the war by their faint condemnation of it.

Subsequent to these statements, the U.S. Bishops did not distinguish themselves as peacemakers. Indeed, for most of the bishops, the Iraq War was not an issue of concern. It may fairly be said that they praised the war with their few and faint criticisms of it. In 2006, I researched the individual statements about Iraq of the bishops who are responsible for dioceses in the US I searched the website of every diocese, the website of the primary daily newspaper in the diocese, and did searches via Google on the bishops’ names for statements made between 2002 and 2006 on the subject of Iraq.

  • Only 39 diocesan bishops made public statements calling for prayers for the people of Iraq.
  • Twenty publicized or endorsed the various statements of the bishops’ conference on Iraq.
  • Twenty-eight provided some sort of catechesis about just war teaching.
  • One hundred forty-six of the bishops responsible for dioceses had nothing to say about Iraq.

I found all the bishops on the Internet talking about other issues –mostly about the clergy sexual abuse crisis – so the problem was not that the bishops were absent from the Internet. What they were absent from was public teaching about just and unjust war and a firm and unequivocal witness to the right to life of the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sine poena nulla lex. (Without penalty, there is no law.)

The refusal of bishops to issue canonical declarations such as that of Bishop Botean, and their public embrace of moral relativism on this critical Gospel of Life issue, gave the government and the armed forces tacit ecclesiastical approval to wage an unjust war against the people of Iraq. Their unspoken message was clearly understood by everyone concerned:

“Do what you will to the people of Iraq, we will not use our canonical authority to stand in your way. We will thus make it easy and morally comfortable for you to kill hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom will be women and children.”

The Iraq War had an objective moral reality that was independent of any person’s perception of its morality. It was either a just war or it was an unjust war. It could not morally be”both-and.” While it is true that people can come to different moral conclusions about international issues, it is not true that all of those opinions are correct, nor are they morally equal. Unjust war at all times and under all circumstances is a moral evil on the part of the aggressor.

Here is how Bishop Botean constructed his argument on the moral equivalency of involvement with the Iraq war and murder:

  • Botean starts with – “The Church teaches that good ends do not justify the use of evil means. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states this principle succinctly: ‘One may never do evil so that good may result from it.’ (1789) .”
  • He writes – “Paragraph 2309 of the Catechism states: ‘The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy.’ Since war is about the mass infliction of death and suffering on children of God, Christians can enter into it and fight in it only if the war in question strictly meets all the criteria of the just war theory, and only if these same standards are likewise meticulously observed in the course of fighting the war. Vague, loose, freewheeling, conniving, relaxed interpretations of Catholic just war theory and its application are morally illegitimate because of the gravity of such a decision.”
  • He continues – “’The evaluation of these conditions of the just war theory for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good,’ states the Catechism. (2309) However, the nation-state is never the final arbiter or authority for the Catholic of what is moral or for what is good for the salvation of his or her soul. What is legal can be evil and often has been. Jesus Christ and his Church, not the state, are the ultimate informers of conscience for the Catholic. This is why the Church teaches as a norm of conscience the following: ‘If rulers were to enact unjust laws or take measures contrary to the moral order such arrangements would not be binding in conscience.’(Catechism 1903) She also warns ‘Blind obedience [to immoral laws] does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out’ (Catechism 2313). When a moral conflict arises between Church teaching and secular morality, when contradictory moral demands are made upon a Catholic’s conscience, he or she ‘must obey God rather than man’ (Acts 5:29).”

It is a tragedy of historic proportions that the United States Catholic Bishops turned a deaf ear to the cry of the people of Iraq for life and opted instead for moral relativism. Their behavior was so egregious that it seems to me to be material cooperation with the objective evil of unjust war.

The Fruits of Moral Cowardice

Since one-fourth of the US armed forces are Catholics, if the bishops had gone as far as Bishop Botean, the United States would have had difficulty waging its unjust war on Iraq. The impact of their moral relativism is all too evident. Millions of people throughout the Middle East hate us because someone that they knew and loved died in our war. We laid the foundation for the birth and success of terrorist groups such as ISIS. The Christian communities of Iraq and Syria have been devastated.

So if we look at what the bishops have not done in the past and are not doingtoday regarding the unjust wars of the United States, it’s hard to take them seriously when they speak about the “Gospel of Life.” Their own inactions and silences boldly proclaim that the United States Catholic Bishops don’t really believe that everyone has the right to life, from the moment of conception to the time of natural death. The people of Iraq never had that right in the eyes of our bishops. Too bad for them that they were in the way of the geopolitical maneuvers of the United States.

The bishops will no doubt protest “this is slander,” but let’s ask the people of Iraq what they think about these bishops’ “defense” of their right to life. This is a scandal as bad as the clergy sexual abuse tragedy, yet it flies under the radar. No one sees that the empire’s bishops are morally naked when it comes to war and peace.

One has to wonder when peace will get a chance with these bishops and they will defend all life, from the moment of conception, to the time of natural death, with the same intensity and vigor that they dedicate to raising funds for their annual diocesan appeal. In view of the lack of attention given to this issue by the bishops during their official “pro-life month,” the answer is evidently “don’t hold your breath.”

“Thus says the LORD regarding the prophets who lead my people astray; Who, when their teeth have something to bite, announce peace, But when one fails to put something in their mouth, proclaim war against him. Therefore you shall have night, not vision, darkness, not divination Then shall the seers be put to shame, and the diviners confounded; They shall cover their lips, all of them, because there is no answer from God. . . . Therefore, because of you, Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem reduced to rubble, And the mount of the temple to a forest ridge.” Micah 3:5-7, 12

Bob Waldrop is the founder of the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City, which works in food security and for justice and peace. He has consistently opposed all of the United States military adventures since the 1970s when he met Justin Raimondo and Eric Garris tabling for the Libertarian Party at the San Jose Flea Market. He has been a consistent critic of the poor performance of the United States Catholic Bishops on the issues of war and peace since the embargo on the civilian economy of Iraq. His anti-war paper trail is at http://www.justpeace.org/warresponse.htm. He gardens, reads science fiction, and works as a church musician.

Catholic Military Chaplaincy

The above video was produced by the Catholic News Service. Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy is interviewed therein. While he provided over an hour of commentary, only a few soundbites were included. Below is an introduction to an independent taping of the same thing that was provided to the Catholic News Service. You can hear Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy’s thoughts in three parts.

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The Christian Military Chaplaincy: An Orwellian Ministry.
Part One 
A Ministry of the Ministry of Truth
by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Friends,

July 29, 2016 is the anniversary of the U.S. Military Chaplaincy. There will be, indeed there already has been, a parade of kudos in the Catholic and Christian press legitimating and glorifying the Catholic and Christian U.S. Military Chaplaincy. A few months ago Catholic News Service asked me to speak on camera about the Catholic Military Chaplaincy as a piece of an eight part series it was creating. What I had to say lasted for over an hour. a small segment of which was used in Part V of the series which I sent to you recently in Fast Food Helping Twenty-One. Since I knew extensive editing would be done to what I had to say, two days later in exactly the same location that the CNS interview took place I restated my position on the Christian Military Chaplaincy almost verbatim on another camera. CNS, I guess, owns the original reflection I made for it. But if that presentation and the presentation I made two days later were placed side by side there would not be a jot of significant difference.

I have broken the hour plus presentation into three logically-ordered, consecutive parts under the general title The Christian Military Chaplaincy: An Orwellian Ministry.

Over the next three days, one per day will our Fast Food Helping. Since each segment is about thirty minutes I am sending one per day in both video and audio-only format via Dropbox. This is the only way the video and audio format could be transmitted together and still be received on a normal computer. I am sending the audio only, an mp3, along with the video because at a length of thirty minutes you may prefer to put the presentation on your iPhone etc. and listen to it in some other place, e.g., bus, car, plane, walking, etc., than in front of a computer screen. To open the Dropbox and access both formats simultaneously, just click on the URL below. Then click on mp3 for audio only or mv4 for video only. If you have any problems with the Dropbox let me know.

I have also attached an Christian Military Chaplaincy Part Three. The caveat here is that this is a transcript of a verbal presentation and will not read like an essay. But, it is totally accurate.

I hope this is helpful to you in some way in fathoming the depth of the false witness to the teaching of Jesus on violence and enmity in the Gospels, which the U.S. Military Chaplaincy presents to Christians and to the non-Christian public in general with the backing of tens of millions of dollars each year from the U.S. government.

Do send a video, audio or print copy—or all three— to your Bishop, priest, minister and to any military chaplain you may know.

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Presuming Integrity

The following was written by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy:

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34th ANNUAL FORTY DAY FAST for the TRUTH OF GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE; July 1-August; FAST FOOD: TWENTY-SECOND HELPING (2016)

We don’t cut up when mad men are bred by the old legitimate, regular-stock, Established Church religions, but we can´t allow wildcat religions to indulge in such disastrous experiments.” -Mark Twain

There is nothing that ISIS has done or is doing under the auspices of “God’s will” today that Christians, their Churches and their Church leaders have not first done or are not doing under the auspices of  “Deus vult.” 

The Telegraph, London, 19 July, 2016

“U.S. air strike killed more than 85 civilians, including children, in Syria on Tuesday. Pictures of the aftermath of the dawn strikes village of Tokhar near Manbij in northern Syria showed the bodies of children as young as three under piles of rubble.” 

America Magazine, 4/7/03

“The head of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, said in a letter to his priests on March 25 that members of the armed forces should carry out their duties in good conscience, because they can presume the integrity of the leaders who decided to go to war in Iraq.”

[For the record, the specific people to whom O’Brien says a Catholic can give a presumption of integrity regarding the truthfulness of what they are saying, which then morally permits a Catholic to kill and maim designated enemies, are Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Perle, Libby, Feith, etc.]

 

Truth is universally understood to be the first casualty of war. The Greek poet Aeschylus (525BC – 456BC) wrote, “In war, truth is the first casualty.” The evidence of the historical record since 500BC incontestably validates  this statement. Those leading a country into war lie without limit or reservation. How then can a Bishop, any Bishop of any diocese, logically and in conformity with the extremely high and strict standard of moral certainty that must be met before engaging in killing people or causing people grave suffering hold and communicate to those in his moral care that the politicians leading a country into war can be presumed to be telling the truth? He can’t. That is fact, not opinion. This is why no Bishop ever even tries to lay out to his people in detail the Catholic moral principles and their logical application on which he is morally permitting them to go to Iraq etc. and kill and maim other people. So as regards Catholic Bishops, it seems, that neither the moral teaching of Jesus in the Gospels nor the moral teaching in Natural Law Catholic Just War Theory applies to them.

Their personal and collective silence gives moral consent—and they know this— to the Catholics of each of their respective dioceses, to go to the Middle East and continue killing and maiming people by the truck load daily. It is more than past time to stop mouthing the U.S. media mantra, “Why don’t moderate Muslim cleric speak out against ISIS terrorism” Straighten out first your own house of God; war is terrorism. Ask why Catholic Bishops for the last thirteen years have not spoken out against American Catholic military terrorists roaming about and ravaging the Arab population and the Arab countries of the Middle East, thousands of time beyond what ISIS has done?

But then, “We don´t cut up when mad men are bred by the old legitimate, regular-stock, Established Church religions, but we can´t allow wildcat religions to indulge in such disastrous experiments.”

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Chilcot Report Shocks World! (Not)

You won’t believe this, but it turns out that the Iraq War was an illegal war of choice, not a last resort, based on fabricated evidence, propaganda and lies, with no just cause, and all peaceful means of resolution had not been exhausted. Also, the consequences of this war were severely underestimated and the plans for Iraq in the aftermath were “wholly inadequate.”

This is shocking — shocking! Does this suggest that world political leaders do not pay attention to or take seriously the precious “Just War Theory” tradition of Christianity when it comes to making the decision to go to war and their means of carrying it out?

Catholics respond: This proves we need Just War Theory more than ever! I suppose so, because on a realistic and practical level, JWT acts as an excuse and a loophole for Christians to go to war whenever their government tells them to; then in the aftermath, it tells them how very evil it all was.

Convenient. You can have your wars and your veneer of a moral standard, too.

Remember in 2003:

Vatican to Bush: Iraq war would be ‘disaster

White House: ‘Disarmed Iraq would leave the world safer’

When will we learn?

 

Response to a Priest

Today I came across some sentiments posted by a priest on Facebook. I have copied and pasted his words here along with my response. I absolutely hate political discussions on Facebook, and comment thread “flame wars” in general, and my intent was not to stir up something like that. However, these issues do need to be addressed and sometimes you just feel a responsibility to say something. I don’t know if posting my response was the best thing to do, but I couldn’t just let it go without offering a different perspective and, yes, a bit of a challenge.

I have removed identifying information from the priest’s post and have informed him hat I am posting his words here, and I will remove this blog post if he asks me to.

Anyone who read the thread on Facebook is most welcome to comment here and add some food for thought. I will read anyone’s comments with great consideration. Please be respectful. We are all in this mess of a world together, and we all want what is best for ourselves, our families, our friends, our Church, our nation, and humankind. God bless.

***The Priest’s Post***

Happy Fourth of July everyone! This year I am spending a few days while recovering from Cancer, with my Brother … who is serving in the Navy as a Lieutenant. … is a helicopter pilot. I also have a nephew, …, who is an officer in the Air Force, and a niece …, who is serving in the Army. I also have a niece …, who is in the Army reserves.. I am very proud of my family who is serving in the Military, and I am eternally grateful that they are protecting our Freedom as Americans.

Sometime we take for granted what it means to be Free! We often confuse Freedom with License to do whatever we choose. As Abraham Lincoln once stated, “True Freedom is not license to do whatever we want to do, True Freedom is making the choice to do what we OUGHT to do!” We have politicians today who distort the true meaning of Freedom. In fact, in my opinion our current President, and many others do not truly understand what freedom is. They continually infringe on our religious freedom and they rob the unborn of the freedom to be safe in the womb with the false and distorted reasoning that Killing the unborn protects a woman’s freedom. This is such a travesty. The rhetoric of Freedom of Choice is actually an assault on human dignity, the dignity of women and reproductive freedom! To justify abortion in the name of freedom is truly a political end run, robbing every one of us of true freedom. Killing a child is not Freedom! It is murder. No one is ever truly free, if everyone is not safe…Including an unborn child. Freedom can not be true freedom, if another person threatens my life and dignity..I also find it very frightening that there are many people who cannot tolerate this belief. In fact, if you want to be truly POLITICALLY INCORRECT, attempt to tell a pro-choice person that you are appalled by abortion, because you truly believe an unborn child is an innocent, human being. Somehow those who hold a pro-choice position find this believe incomprehensible and irresponsible. But in all honesty, it makes far more sense then the distorted reasoning that people like our president, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, among many, and even some of our Supreme Court Justices, attempt to suggest to the American people.

I desperately try to understand the reasoning behind their argument that this is reproductive Freedom. It always ends the same for me.. .There is no Freedom when we place ourselves in a position of superiority over another human being… Freedom belongs to every human being equally, in spite of age, politics, gender, ability, beauty, money or whatever a person claims as their own place in the world.. Freedom is a God Given Human right…Every Human being has a divine right to Freedom, and my freedom ends the moment, I infringe on yours… A women’s freedom ends when it destroys the life of a child… a man’s freedom ends, when he denies the dignity of a women, and my freedom ends when I decide my choice is superior to yours… Logically that means I must respect the beliefs of others. I understand that… except I don’t truly believe that any person who decides to terminate a pregnancy, truly believes the fetus is not human, and alive. I suppose if someone could convince me that the unborn are just blobs of tissue, with no potential for life, and are not alive, I could understand their belief that abortion is like removing a piece of tissue, like they did when they removed my Cancer.. But does any rational, education and intelligent person truly believe that tiny fetus is just like a cancerous tumor? If so then are we sure they have the brains to lead our country, protect our rights, and uphold our dignity.. I am not sure I want someone that stupid protecting my freedom. When will they decide I am not human? When I am black, when I am cripple, when I am poor… Oh yeah, that is the story of the history of the human race…Freedom dies, when we deny the humanity of any one different then ourselves… including the unborn…
Finally, I seldom address politics on Facebook..But this weekend, as I give gratitude to God for my life, my family and my freedom. I also question what is wrong with us as people when we deny the TRUTH to protect our politics… I wish someone was running for president who truly understood FREEDOM, and was able to articulate clearly and honestly the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, who understood Freedom so well and risked so much to protect it… for all of us… Where is he when we need him…

This fourth of July lets pray together, first for protection for our Freedom. Secondly for the men and women fighting to protect us. Third for the unborn who have a right to the life we enjoy.. .And finally for our politicians that they will stop lying to us about Freedom, and start protecting it…

****My response****

Dear Father _____,

I have utmost respect for you and wish you well in your recovery. I don’t really know you, but I attended your Mission talk on Mercy in … around Christmas. It was the highlight of my Christmas season, and for that I thank you. Your posts show up occasionally in my Facebook feed, and I always enjoy them. You mentioned that no one was willing to post with a different point of view. Well, I’ll take you up on that. I have ventured into Facebook comment waters before, only to experience a tidal wave of emotional vitriol and reactionary backlash, even, if not especially, among Catholics. However, I do believe the issues you raise are important, and I will try my best to say what I have to say in a calm and respectful manner, though I care deeply about these issues and it is as difficult for me as it is for the next person to control my passion.

I am a Catholic, and I don’t wish to challenge anybody’s pro-life position. I am pro-life. What I want to challenge is the apparently highly selective and restrictive nature of the your “pro life” definition… and some of the underlying assumptions that are built into your post. I agree with you that serious moral problems arise when we — as you so astutely point out — justify the immoral and reprehensible act of killing by wrapping it with the practically meaningless word of “freedom.” I say “apparent” because I hope that if I have the wrong impression of your views, you will correct me. I don’t want to miscategorize your attitudes and beliefs, but I only have a couple hundred words of yours to work with here, so I am going with what I have.

When I read your post, I experienced some of the same emotions of befuddlement and frustration that you described when hearing the explanations of other people’s “pro-choice” positions. I have two brothers who were Marines and have some other former military personnel in my family. Both of my brothers were Marines at the time of 9/11. I worked across from the World Trade Center at that time and was there that day. Both of my brothers were in Iraq at the start of the war. While I love them and admire them in so many ways, I do not believe their mission in Iraq ever had, and certainly does not currently have (thirteen years later), anything to do with fighting for Americans’ freedom here at home. I do not believe I am betraying them by saying that; one of my brothers completely agrees with me. If you look at the Bill of Rights as a gauge for political freedom, and the developments that have happened since 9/11 with the Patriot Act, the behemoth Department of Homeland Security, the NSA, the NDAA, the militarization of local police, the endless machinations of our secret police (FBI, CIA, etc.), it is hard to imagine that we in this country are headed for anything but a totalitarian nightmare of truly historic — and maybe global — proportions. We are not more free as a result of these wars. We are less free. These wars do not make us safe. They make us less secure. These wars do not prove our moral superiority as Americans; they are evidence of our moral degradation.

Perhaps you are thinking, “I was writing about abortion, not foreign policy, and regardless of what you think of these wars, we still need to support the troops.”

I disagree. I believe the issues abortion and war are interlaced, morally, spiritually, politically, and intellectually. They are both pro-life issues, though the American Catholic hierarchy never seems to want us to think of it that way. The Republicans are the Party of War, and they pretend to be against abortion. The Democrats are the Party of Abortion, and they pretend to be against war. But it’s all pretend. The Republicans had complete control of the White House and the Congress for over four years when Bush was the president. Why did the Republicans fund Planned Parenthood during this time? And why did conservatives not criticize them then for doing so? The idea that the Republicans are a “pro life” party that actually wants to end abortion…why do Catholics continue to be so hoodwinked after so many decades?

By forcing us to choose “the lesser of two evils” (abortion or war), it’s all leading us down the Primrose Path of a Satanic Culture of Death. The ugly truth is: It all involves the justification of the act of killing with the the facile term “freedom.” As Orwell said, the world of politics uses meaningless words and euphemisms to make “lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and… give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” We need to stop equating abortion with “choice” and the American policy of endless war with “freedom.”

I highly recommend the article “Christians and the Pro-Life Ploy” by G.C. Dilsaver.

“In traditional Christian morality a good end never justifies an evil means, and even if it did an evil means never procures a good end that lasts. A strikingly relevant case in point was the Fascist government in Italy. Mussolini’s state banned abortion, birth control, and homosexuality activity. As a Catholic I hold these things as intrinsically evil and their curtailment good. However, supporters of Italian fascism, even those who supported it primarily for the advancement of these moral issues, are responsible for facilitating a cataclysmic evil. This evil culminated in Catholics sheepishly submitting to national conscription and participation in an unjust and horrifying war. In addition, it led to the subsequent weakening of Catholic culture, morals, and faith in Italy and to the final eradication of European Christendom. The result now being a de-Christianized Italy that fully accepts those very moral issues some sought to address by compromising with the fascist regime. If even a fraction of the effort and sacrifice that was squandered by Italian and other Catholics in World War II had instead been brought to missionary efforts the world would be looking at the rebirth of Christendom rather than its demise. Moral decadence always comes in the wake of war…”

Abraham Lincoln once stated, “True Freedom is not license to do whatever we want to do, True Freedom is making the choice to do what we ought to do!”

Pope Benedict XVI said unequivocally in response to the American invasion of Iraq, “There is no allowance for preemptive war in the Catechism.” He called the Just War Theory “a problem,” and said, “we OUGHT to be asking ourselves if it is licit to even suggest the existence of a just war in this day and age.”

In 2003, John Paul II said in his message to American military chaplains: “By now it should be clear to all that the use of war as a means of resolving disputes between States was rejected, even before the UN Charter, by the consciences of the majority of humanity, except in the case of legitimate defense against an aggressor.”

It should be, but it’s not.

I wish someone was running for President who understood the meaning of “pro-life” beyond the abortion issue.

You asked: “When will they decide I am not human?”

I’d like to venture an answer.

“They” will decide you are not human, and thus not deserving of life, human dignity, protection and safety, let alone love and mercy, when “they” decide you are an enemy, like so many human beings who happened to be Iraqi, Afghani, Pakistani, Somali, Libyan, Syrian, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc. We’ve killed so many, and it matters so little to us as a nation, that our military leaders even admit now: “We don’t do body counts.” I have an honest question. Have you ever led a prayer for the victims of war in the Middle East in your church, victims who were not Christian but still innocent? It has been my experience that in church we only pray for American soldiers or Christians. Do we ever pray for our enemies in church? In what sense can we, as Christians, say that we love them?

An enemy is anyone who threatens you. A mother who is pregnant with an unwanted child sees that child as a threat, and feels justified to destroy “it.” The government sees people as threats, too, and they feel justified in destroying them. That is just the way of the world. It should not surprise us. It is not the way of Jesus, of course. But two millennium after his death, we, Christians, are still, unfortunately, not getting that. This should surprise us. When will we listen?

Over 1 million Iraqis perished as a result of the war (5% of the population), and 3 million refugees were created. 200,000 Afghanis dead, 80,000 Pakistanis. And that’s not counting the havoc we’ve wreaked in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, etc. Millions of people have died, lost family members, lost limbs, been burned, bombed, maimed, and slain in the name of “American freedom” (as I said, I’m not buying it) meanwhile less than 5,000 U.S. service members were killed in Iraq, less than 3,000 in Afghanistan. How can we call this proportional. How can we call this just. How can I reconcile this 13-year slaughter with your talk on mercy during Advent? More American veterans of the Vietnam War died from committing suicide than died in the actual war. It will be the same for the War on Terror. What does this tell us about the truth and nobility of our modern day “wars” (if you can even call them that)? Why do pro-life Catholics keep cheerleading this madness? To borrow your words: We deny the truth (and the way and the life) to protect our politics. That goes for those who support war as much as it goes for those who support abortion. That is my feeling and opinion, with all due respect, and I thank you for reading.