Tag Archives: 1917

Letters to the Editor

Two Letters to the Editor of Boston Pilot on the Robert Barron article

Mark Scibilia-Carver • 15 days ago

Actually, it was 1700 years ago that “something broke in the Christian culture” and Bishop Barron himself is evidence of a Christian who has not recovered from the allure of Christian Just War Theory. (CJWT) After the “1917” film reminded him of the evils of WWI, he assures us he is not so unnerved as to advocate pacifism (or Gospel Nonviolence) but he applies an “in bellum principle” of CJWT. However, to be just, a war has to first meet all the “ad bellum” criteria. CJWT has no basis in Jesus or the Gospel and has never been taught with the authority of an encyclical or church council. It is accepted with, perhaps the lowest level of certainty and authority. It is a critical mistake to give it such precedence over the Gospel.
Most US CO’s in WWI were from the historic peace churches which had never accepted CJWT. The witness of one of the 10 or so Catholic CO’s should be of particular interest. Benjamin Jospeh Salmon wrote a 235 page treatise while fasting in prison and concluded, “There is no such animal as a just war”.
Bishop Barron seems to place much responsibility on the combatants for not understanding the significance of their baptism. We should note that the US bishops first organized themselves as the National Catholic War Council to support and encourage Catholic participation in WWI. Even after witnessing the scandal of Christians killing each other by the millions in Europe they pledged their patriotism and support for the president. They considered the CO’s to be traitors.
Cardinal Gibbons wrote, “This war offers us, indeed, the greatest opportunity in all history of inspiring our men with religion.” (!)
Will Bishop Barron’s New Evangelization take account?

-Mark Carver

I’m not sure what point the bishop wishes to make here, Europeans had been slaughtering each other relentlessly for centuries prior to world war I. World war 1 was particularly awful because of obsolete military tactics contending with advances in military technology. Probably the longest, most brutal and totally pointless war in history, with an estimated 5-10 million dead, raged between the two pseudo-christian powers of England and France for more than 500 years. Oh, and all these wars have been championed by the major pseudo-christian churches of Europe both Catholic and Protestant.

-JP Fitz

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.)


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