Category Archives: Pro Life

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.

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.

Women at War or War on Women?

In regard to the recent post by Cammy about the military’s offer to freeze the sperm and eggs of soldiers, I feel the need to comment if only to give myself a brief blog item to send to others who are better qualified or better positioned to raise an alarm about this.

In vitro fertilization (IVF), as a means of human reproduction, is an evil use of medical technology which is forbidden by God’s laws. That is not my opinion. That is the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Here is a link:

Church teaching on In vitro fertilization

That’s one of the great things about being Catholic. You don’t have to agonize over every moral dilemma that comes along (and new ones come along at a breathtaking pace these days). You don’t have to make all decisions based on your own very imperfect intelligence, knowledge, feelings and judgment. Some things have already been decided for you. Save yourself the effort and the grave danger of getting it wrong. Believe what the Church teaches and live by it.

Here is the link to the recent speech by Defense Secretary Ash Carter outlining the new programs to “support our military families.” Many good Catholics who are strongly pro-llfe and pro-family still hold the American military and government in high esteem. I beg them to read Mr. Carter’s speech carefully and then get back to me.

Force of the Future

The Force of the Future apparently requires the Family of the Future. Within the past year or two we have seen several rapid fire developments. Women can not only join the military but they are now able to engage in combat. They may even be required to register for the draft and forced to fight for the American Empire in the near future. Furthermore, in order to make all this more palatable, the Pentagon will now assist and encourage women to freeze their eggs and then provide the IVF technology to let potential moms serve the State first, and postpone having a family to a more convenient time. Evil on top of evil on top of evil. The military is not merely reflecting the evil in society, it is here acting as an innovator of evil in the cultural realm and it has specifically targeted young women and is now waging war against femininity and natural law.

Where are the Catholic priests and bishops, the Catholic fathers and grandfathers? Who will stand up to this? 

Please readers, if you find examples of Catholic voices that condemn this atrocity let us know about it.

Doug Fuda

 

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid!

Gradually the truth about the enormity of the evil which the U.S. has unleashed upon the world is penetrating the consciousness of Americans. We need to have a national conversation about what has happened and perhaps the passage of time and the breathtaking collapse of American government illusions about the “success” of its Middle Eastern policies have given us an opportunity to reflect.

Here is an another example of the evidence which is mounting that our government leaders had numerous warnings about the dangers which they chose to ignore:

South Africa Told Bush, Blair That Iraq Had No WMDs

According to the author of a new book, in 2003 both South African President Mbeki and former President Nelson Mandela tried to warn Bush and Blair that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. The Guardian reports that

“He [Mbeki] warned that the wholesale removal of Saddam’s Ba’ath party could lead to a national resistance to the occupying coalition forces. But with huge military deployments already under way, Blair’s mind was clearly made up.”

And here’s the latest from Mike Flynn, former head of DIA. Flynn expresses regret in an interview over the invasion of Iraq. He describes U.S. policy and actions variously as a “mistake,” a “strategic failure,” a “huge error.” Flynn says that “History will not be and should not be kind with that decision.”  A Catholic looking at the story without blinders on might well conclude that it was pure evil, not just a mistake, and that this evil U.S. policy led directly and inexorably to the rise of Islamic State.

Want to know where ISIS came from? Take some time and watch and read this report from the Guardian about what was happening in Iraq from 2004-2006.

“Petraeus and Steele would unleash this local force on the Sunni population as well as the insurgents and their supporters and anyone else who was unlucky enough to get in the way. It was classic counterinsurgency. It was also letting a lethal, sectarian genie out of the bottle. The consequences for Iraqi society would be catastrophic. At the height of the civil war two years later 3,000 bodies a month were turning up on the streets of Iraq — many of them innocent civilians of sectarian war.”

Is it possible for an entire nation to repent for its sins? We need to find out fast because that is the only possible chance for saving America. Being an optimist by nature, I think it can happen if Catholics lead the way. But the surest way to short circuit the process is to advocate a new American all out war and invasion to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. Do you think that might be what the “Father of Lies” has prescribed for the world at this time? The Army of the Head Choppers against the Army of the Baby Choppers. Be afraid, be very afraid! But pray all the time, be Catholic all the time, and never give in to despair.

Addiction and Recovery

The following was written by Paul Nyklicek, a Catholic, husband, father, psychotherapist and frequent visitor to CAM. We thank him for this contribution to our blog.

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Recovery is the most natural response to any state of addiction. Addiction is a process of diminishing returns. It is a downward spiral into destruction and dehumanization. In active addiction one loses one’s sense of real identity and a kind of false identity takes its place. Who you are and what you have is never enough. There is a persistent desire for “more” in the pursuit of a satisfaction that is never realized.

At this point it is not necessary to pose the question as to whether, as a society, we are addicted to violence. It is painfully obvious that we are. The question is: How many different ways is our violence manifested? If we really stop and think about it we come up with quite a long list. If we view violence in its various forms as an addictive “drug” (it doesn’t take that much imagination to see this) then it is apparent that the corporate media serves as the ubiquitous “dealers” for the general population. In some form or another, violence is dispensed like Halloween candy to eager trick-or-treaters on a continual basis. The corporate media consistently presents violence as the problem started by the Bad Guys and as problem-solving when perpetrated by the Good Guys. The “product” is presented, packaged, and sold in the most seductive possible way to make the point that one is either stupid or a loser or both if you don’t buy what they are selling. Who wouldn’t want to feel the exhilaration of dominance, desirability, and superiority?

If you are a modern, sophisticated consumer you accept the Establishment’s framing of reality. This is a framework that extolls the “virtue” of fighting and killing for the “just cause” of Our Side. It extolls the “virtue” of committing state-sanctioned murder in the proclaimed defense of Our Way of Life and our “freedom”. We must kill Them over there so They can’t kill Us over here.

This is a framed reality that depicts Us as the innocent victims and Them as the inhuman psychotic killers who cannot be reasoned with and therefore must be exterminated. In this way the Home Team is justified in getting the job done by any means necessary.

Collateral damage? That’s just the cost of doing business.

And this is a very big business. A lot of people are making a lot of money from this “drug”. How much money do weapons manufacturers make every year? How much money is made from the sale of violent computer video games? How much money does Hollywood make from its war movies, its comic book superhero movies, and its crime dramas? How much money do television networks and their advertisers make from all their programs depicting “good-guy vs. bad-guy” stories where someone has to die in spectacular fashion? This is “must see TV”!

Yes, these “drug dealers” are making quite a killing. Violence is a kind of methamphetamine for the human ego. This “narcotic” deludes a person into believing that he or she has a god-like power to control others or the environment and is entitled to do so. This is true of an individual ego, a national ego, and true of the ego of a corporation. In each case the ego becomes so “super-sized” that the person, nation or corporation equates themselves with God. Believing in our own entitlement and in our own “benevolence”, any means to the “sanctified” end is justified. In this way any killing, maiming or institutionalized oppression is standard operating procedure.

What if we choose to be modern, sophisticated people who do not accept the framed reality as marketed by the Powers That Be? What if we recognize the “Halloween candy” as the addictive drug it really is? What if we admit our own addiction to violence in its many forms? What if we decide that enough is enough and that we need to stop it here and now?

Just as All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again after his fall, there is no Magic Politician who will make us whole and healthy. There is no Enchanted Political System that will save us from ourselves. All of us fallen addicts need to put ourselves back together again. It’s our responsibility. In our active addiction to violence we have forgotten who we are and if we are to recover we must start remembering who we are. We need to re-member ourselves. We need to put ourselves back together again. We need to be more of who we really are.

As addicts, we need to continually recover from this particular addiction. In this recovery process we can become free of our delusions of righteous omnipotence. We can let go of the fantasy that we are Zeus administering justice by hurling thunderbolts from the top of Mount Olympus. Instead we can be real human beings. We can embrace what is real and genuinely good about ourselves. We can reclaim our birthright as people of honest love.

It’s time to find out what this kind of recovery looks like.

–Paul Nyklicek

 

Planned Parenthood and the US Government — Partners in Crime

LargeRonPaul

[this article by Ron Paul contains important lessons for Catholics and all pro-life folks. I made a couple of paragraphs bold because they are particularly relevant to both the anti-abortion and the anti-militarism cause — Doug] 

Politics Is Not the Path to Pro-Life Victory
by Ron Paul

During my time in Congress, I regularly introduced legislation forbidding organizations that perform abortions from receiving federal funding. The US Government should not force taxpayers to subsidize an activity they believe is murder. Thus, while I was horrified by the recently released videos showing Planned Parenthood officials casually discussing selling the organs of aborted babies, I am glad that the reaction to these videos has renewed efforts to end federal funding of abortion.

My experience in Congress does not leave me optimistic that federal funding of Planned Parenthood will be ended this year, however. This is not just because the current US president is pro-abortion. When I started my efforts to end taxpayer support of abortion, I was shocked to find out how many Republicans, including some self-described “pro-life” leaders, were unsupportive of, and sometimes hostile to, my efforts.

Most pro-life politicians preferred to add language to funding bills prohibiting federal funds from being used for abortions, rather than denying federal funds to abortion providers. This approach does not stop US taxpayers from subsidizing abortions. The reason is that money is fungible. Giving Planned Parenthood $100 to use for non-abortion activities allows it to spend an additional $100 of its non-government funds on abortion.

Foreign interventionists in both parties were particularly hostile to my efforts to eliminate federal funding for international organizations that performed or promoted abortions. This is a foolish policy that gives people around the globe another reason to resent the US government.

Planned Parenthood may have abandoned the explicitly racist and eugenic views of its founder Margaret Sanger, but the majority of its abortion “services” are still provided to lower-income and minority women. Every day nearly 2,000 African-American babies lose their lives to abortion, a rate five times higher than the Caucasian abortion rates.

I support the black lives matter movement. I have long advocated an end to the drug war, police militarization, and other threats to liberty that disproportionately victimize African-Americans. However, I wish some of the black lives matter movement’s passion and energy was directed to ending abortion. Unborn black lives also matter.

The federal government has no constitutional authority to permit, fund, or even outlaw abortion. Therefore, efforts to make abortion a federal crime are just as unconstitutional as efforts to prohibit states from outlawing abortion. A Congress that truly cared about the Constitution would end all federal funding for abortion and pass legislation restricting federal jurisdiction over abortion, thus returning the issue to the states.

While passing legislation may help limit abortion, the pro-life movement will never succeed unless it changes people’s attitudes toward the unborn. This is why crisis pregnancy centers, which provide care and compassion to women facing unplanned pregnancies, have done more to advance the pro-life cause then any politician. By showing women they have viable alternatives to abortion, these centers have saved many lives.

One factor hindering the anti-abortion movement’s ability to change people’s minds is that too many abortion opponents also support a militaristic foreign policy. These pro-lifers undercut their moral credibility as advocates for unborn American lives when they display a callous indifference to the lives of Iraqi, Iranian, and Afghan children.

Libertarians who support abortion should ask themselves how they can expect a government that does not respect the unborn’s right to life to respect their property rights. Therefore, all those who wish to create a society of liberty, peace, and prosperity should join me in advocating for a consistent ethic of life and liberty that respects the rights of all persons, born and unborn.

Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given. 

Here is the link to the original article:

Politics Is Not the Path to Pro-Life Victory