Category Archives: Uncategorized

I Need A Favor

Here is the comment that I left on Bishop Barron’s talk on YouTube: “1917, War, and Faith.” If you have a second, please go to the video and click “like” on my comment. Hopefully that way, the comment will be more visible and more people will see it. It’s terrible that Bishop Barron isn’t sharing this sad truth with his listeners. (I wonder why.)

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Bishop Barron seems mystified as to how Christians could have gone and slaughtered each other in World War I. The answer is easy: Their religious leaders told them to. The U.S. Bishops of the time supported and endorsed the war, publicly. In April of 1917, Cardinal Gibbons wrote a letter to Woodrow Wilson, signed by all of the Archbishops of the United States:

“…now that war has been declared, WE BOW IN OBEDIENCE to the summons to do our part…Inspired by the holiest sentiments of truest patriotic fervor and zeal, we stand ready, we and all the flock committed to our keeping, TO COOPERATE IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE WITH OUR PRESIDENT AND OUR NATIONAL GOVERNMENT…” In November of that year, he wrote to Wilson: “Guided as we are by the sublime teachings of Christianity we have no other course open to us but that of OBEDIENCE and devotion to our country….we wish for our people to see, and WE ARE STRIVING TO HELP THEM TO REALIZE, that they OWE UNSWERVING LOYALTY to the rulers whom they have elected to office, and that in doing so they are not acting in a slavish manner, for obedience is not an act of servility we pay to man but AN ACT OF HOMAGE WE PAY TO GOD…”

I find it very hard to believe that Bishop Barron would not know this history and the complicity of the Catholic Church leadership in war. At least the American Bishops don’t encourage Christians to go slaughter people in war anymore. Instead, they coyly condone the country’s wars through 17 years of straight, complete and utter silence.

LETTER OF OUR ARCHBISHOP TO PRESIDENT WILSON http://www.bensalmon.org/uploads/8/2/5/7/82576010/archbishopsletter.pdf

LETTER WRITTEN TO PRESIDENT WILSON BY CARDINAL GIBBONS https://books.google.com/books?id=OpMwAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA9-PA5&lpg=RA9-PA5&dq=archbishop+gibbons+letter+president+wilson&source=bl&ots=wIhsc8_PiY&sig=ACfU3U0ZEbXjJJrYNswiCDa3mCrvexgR6A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjH1-PvlK_nAhWPVs0KHbx5D5UQ6AEwD3oECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=archbishop%20gibbons%20letter%20president%20wilson&f=false

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Who killed Thomas Merton?

The following was written by Fr. Emmanuel McCarthy:

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Friends,

On February 18: The U.S. State Department announced the highest U.S. casualty toll of the Vietnam War, with 543 Americans killed in action and 2,547 wounded during the previous week.

On March 16: U.S. ground troops murdered more than 500 Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai Massacre in South Vietnam.

On April 4: Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in Memphis, TN

On June 5: Robert Kennedy was murdered in Los Angeles, CA.

On December 10: Thomas Merton is murdered in Bangkok, Thailand

The Martyrdom of Thomas MertonPaperback – March 7, 2018

 Hugh Turley (Author), David Martin (Author)

Review from Amazon:

“Seldom can one predict that a book will have an effect on history, but this is such a work. Merton’s many biographers and the American press now say unanimously that he died from accidental electrocution. From a careful examination of the official record, including crime scene photographs that the authors have found that the investigating police in Thailand never saw, and from reading the letters of witnesses, they have discovered that the accidental electrocution conclusion is totally false. The widely repeated story that Merton had taken a shower and was therefore wet when he touched a lethal faulty fan was made up several years after the event and is completely contradicted by the evidence. Hugh Turley and David Martin identify four individuals as the primary promoters of the false accidental electrocution narrative. Another person, they show, should have been treated as a murder suspect. The most likely suspect in plotting Merton’s murder, a man who was a much stronger force for peace than most people realize, they identify as the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States government. Thomas Merton was the most important Roman Catholic spiritual and anti-warfare-state writer of the 20th century and the powers-that-be in the corporate world, in the military world, in the world of the CIA, FBI and NSA and in the world of government were as acutely aware of the power he possessed to undermine their bloody profit making schemes as they were of King and Kennedy’s power to do the same. To date, Merton has been the subject of 28 biographies and numerous other books. Remarkably, up to now no one has looked critically at the mysterious circumstances surrounding his sudden death in Thailand. From its publication date on the 50th anniversary of his death, into the foreseeable future, this carefully researched work will be the definitive, authoritative book on how Thomas Merton died.”

I read this book cover to cover and it is a solid presentation of the logically unbridgeable abyss between the physical evidence that is available for anyone to examine and the official story put out by the U.S. Government and the Church regarding Thomas Merton’s death. What concerns me is not that the U.S. government had a hand in Merton’s murder and cover-up of the murder. Clandestinely murdering innocent people is the ordinary modus operandi of all major governments all the time. What concerns me is that the leadership of the institutional Church acquiesced to a narrative regarding the murder of one of its own, which narrative cannot be sustained, indeed is in contradiction to, the evidence. Of course, maybe the leadership of the institutional Church did not see Merton as one of its own but saw him rather as a hair shirt of truth to whom they were glad to say, ever so piously, “Good riddance.”

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Excellent Overview

Paul Elie, writing for The New Yorker, provides an excellent overview of the Plowshares movement, and places the actions of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 within the context of not only this movement but the wider evolution of the Church’s thinking and teaching on nuclear weapons. Check it out!

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-pope-and-catholic-radicals-come-together-against-nuclear-weapons

Armistice Day

This was originally posted at LewRockwell.com.

Here is a letter Eric Norris wrote to his diocesan newspaper in Indiana:

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Dear Editor:

I am greatly disappointed by your announcement on the cover of the October 20 issue.

  1. It is “Veterans Day”, no apostrophe.
  2. It was originally Armistice Day, and is still defined as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace”, not fighting.
  3.  It is not meant to honor in any way current members of the military (“fighting”), but Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.”
  4. Armed Forces Day is the time to recognize those currently in the military.
  5. Please explain how, in what way, any current “fighting” is benefiting our country (“fighting for our country”).  This bothers me to no end.  Do you know why Osama bin Laden attacked the US?  He stated explicitly it was the actions (“fighting”) of the US military in the Middle East in the 1990s.
  6. I am a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  It brought no freedom to the Iraqi people, or you, or me.

We are meant to be counter-cultural and worship the Prince of Peace, not to knee-jerk support the military policy and actions of the US or any other government.  The wide world will be falling all over themselves “supporting the troops” on November 11.  What would Jesus do?  Maybe, just maybe, he would look at each one of us veterans individually, try to understand our personal reasons for joining, and the struggles, successes, and failures in the aftermath thereof.

Sincerely,

Eric S. Morris

St. Elizabeth Seton, Carmel

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Eric tells us that his pastor wrote in the bulletin this week partially in response to his concerns about the diocesan newspaper. You can see the response here on page 3.

Too Political?

How can it be that veterans who want to speak to schoolchildren about their experiences in the military are told that they cannot do so because their pro-peace views are deemed “too political” for young ears to hear? Is peace really too controversial a subject to be discussed openly in our schools? What makes peace “too political” but war somehow apolitical?

Our children go to school to learn about a variety of subjects. They learn facts about the world they will inherit and ultimately inhabit as young adults. They will make meaningful decisions that will significantly impact their own lives and the lives of others. There is great hope that they will learn to think critically and creatively. To achieve this skill they will need to be exposed to different perspectives and supported in analyzing those perspectives intelligently.

So if this is the purpose in educating our young people why would they not be served by hearing from those who have served in wars of the past and hear what those individuals have to say about the subject of peace? Our present-day culture goes to great lengths to honor veterans (e.g. “Thank you for your service.”) when such recognition is in alignment with the power structure and agenda of our government. This kind of national etiquette effectively separates those who serve in the military from the government foreign policy of which they are the tangible extension. This also serves to discourage questioning that policy. The pro-military paradigm is now constructed in such a way that if one openly disagrees with the government’s actions it is equated with “disrespecting the troops” who are “fighting over there so that we can be safe and free here” at home.

This framework encourages us to assume that all veterans are unified in their support of our government’s policy of military interventions around the world. This is, in fact, a false assumption. A recent survey of veterans by the Pew Research Center indicates that the majority believe that our current military involvement in the Middle East (casually known as the War on Terror) is a waste of human and material resources.

Why do we choose to value only those veterans whose perspectives agree with our government’s military actions and try to silence those who express skepticism and disagreement with how our government is using our military in the world?

How can we “respect the troops” if we don’t listen to them, particularly when they are saying what some of us (and our government) don’t want to hear? The fact is that we need to listen to what all of them have to say if the respect we say we feel toward them is more than just a matter of social etiquette.

As to the matter of whether or not it is “too political” to allow students to hear from pro-peace veterans we must come to terms with the pre-existing condition of pro-military bias in our schools. Students are already exposed to the political aspect of military service in various ways that have become so normalized that they blend in without much notice. Military recruiters are allowed direct and indirect access to students. Posters promoting careers in military service are in school hallways along with the various colleges student can attend after high school. And, of course, students are allowed hear from veterans as long as they don’t invite students to think about the possibility that peace is a real alternative to war.

This is the established pro-military status quo in most schools. Veterans who are overtly pro-peace may represent an uncomfortable disconnect for some who expect them to support our government’s military interventionist behavior. This position of explicit support for and implicit endorsement of this status quo is certainly political but is assumed not to be because it has become so normalized. It is a mistake to assume that such inherent biases are somehow apolitical.

Do we really want our students to grow up without the capacity for appropriately expressing and demonstrating dissent? We need our future leaders and contributors to be ready, willing, and able to question authority. If our education system succeeds only in teaching young people how to conform to existing social, political, and economic power structures we are doing them a great disservice.

Everyone agrees that we want our children to live in a better world and we all agree that that this better world needs to be one of meaningful justice and peace. There are members of our society who have had the direct experience with the unglamorous reality and horror of war. They have valuable lessons to share from their experiences. It would be a mistake to try to silence those voices that are calling for precisely that better world we all want. Our students need to hear the messengers that invite them to be participants in that cause.