Over recent weeks a series of events in the states surrounding the Russian Federation has erupted that certainly are not being greeted with joy in the Kremlin. Each crisis center of itself is not a definitive game-changer for future Russian security. Taken together they suggest something far more ominous is unfolding against Moscow. A recent RAND study prepared for the US Army suggests with remarkable accuracy who might be behind what will undoubtedly become a major threat to Russian security in coming months.
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In 1981 the United Nations declared by unanimous resolution that September 21 be recognized as The International Day of Peace. This is a “globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.” (see: internationaldayofpeace.org).
Why is “building a Culture of Peace” so hard for us?
Every reasonably intelligent person will say that they want peace and yet a Culture of Peace eludes us. At this point many a reasonably intelligent person will also reflexively qualify their desire for Peace with some form of the following: “…but we can’t have Peace as long as they…”. So the work to establish a Culture of Peace stalls.
“Who do you think you are?” is usually expressed as the indignant rejection of an insult but if we consider it as a serious question for ourselves to answer, it may shed some light on why it’s so difficult for us to establish that Culture of Peace.
Maybe we think we are inherently a violent and warlike species. Maybe we think it’s “in our genes” and that “we can’t help it.” Maybe we believe that, despite our best efforts, we are killers from a long line of killers.
That is the Old Story.
This is the story of us, locked into a world of toxic competition in which some must “lose” in life in order for others to “win.” It’s the concept that supports capitalism as we know it and keeps us in seemingly endless wars.
But is this who we really are?
There is a New Story (see: mettacenter.org) of humanity that is emerging. This story paints a very different picture of who we are. It shows us that, at our core, we are actually good rather than evil. We are inclined to cooperate and help each other succeed in life. We see this truth emerge again and again when some sort of disaster strikes (remember how people treated each other right after 9/11?) and our differences are quickly put aside. For however brief a time, we see each other clearly. We see each other as fellow human beings instead of as members of some artificial category.
Creating a Culture of Peace becomes not only possible but natural when we start to remember who we really are and start letting go of the false narratives that hold us prisoner.
As a means to reaching this end there is the concept of the two hands of Real Peace. One hand is closed and says “I oppose your injustice and destructiveness” while the other hand is open and says: “I’m open to you as a person.” This is a realistic practice. We can affirm the humanity of every person without exception while standing firmly against all systems that oppress any person anywhere.
This Real Peace rests on the foundation of our relationships with each other. These relationships form the bonds of our inter-connected nature. That is where our real security begins and how it thrives. It is not our neighbor’s fear of us that makes us feel safe. We feel safe with each other because, in some way, we see each our neighbor as family. Security is the result of knowing that what happens to any family member happens to all family members. We have defined “family” in an exceedingly narrow way for far too long. That needs to change and change fast.
Building a Culture of Peace does not mean that we will live in a conflict-free world. There will be conflict well into the future as long as human beings are involved with each other. What it does mean is that we solve our problems without resorting to violence. It means we recognize that the problem is the problem and not that people are the problem. It means that we give up the illogical belief that hurting others, or ourselves, is a viable way to resolve conflicts.
Building a Culture of Peace is both realistic and natural for the human family when we understand who we are in relationship to each other. We hold ourselves back from this realization by continuing to cling to our artificial categories of identification. We imagine that we are members of a particular nation, religion, political party, profession or class. No such category gets close to the depth of who we really are as beings. That would be like going for your regular medical check-up and having your doctor assess your health by examining the clothes you’re wearing. It doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.
If we want to establish a Culture of Peace in human society we will need to establish that culture within ourselves as part of the process. We need to heal the injuries sustained by our fragile humanness by claiming the truth of our own sacredness. Not only our own but the sacredness of everyone else as well. There is no one who isn’t. This sacredness is by no means limited to human beings. It encompasses all of creation.
We get to the heart of the matter when we recognize the sacredness of All. There we will find the Culture of Peace.
And Fr. Nolan. I tried to get Fr. Nolan on the podcast. He called me back and left me a very nice message, saying he’d be happy to do an interview but he can’t because he’s been silenced by the bishops.
God help us!
Eric Defends Fr. (Ted) Rothrock
Eric, a CAM blogger and member of Catholics for Unity and Peace (CUP), was interviewed by Church Militant about the suspension of Fr. Theodore Rothrock and CUP’s counter-protesting efforts and attempts to stand by their priest.
July 16, 2020
On July 16, 1251, Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to St. Simon Stock and gave him the brown scapular, a symbol of protection and a sign of trust in God. On July 16, 1858, in the final apparition at Lourdes, Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. On July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb, code-named Trinity was detonated at White Sands Missile Site in New Mexico.
On August 6 and 9, 1945, the second and third atomic weapons were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, killing half a million people.
Every year since 1990, a small group of people have gathered just outside the original Trinity Test Site in the desert of New Mexico. From sunset on the 15th of July through sunset on the 16th, they keep vigil in prayer in repentance for the bombing and in petition for protection from all of the effects of our nuclear development and deployment.
Just before dawn on the 16th, at 5:25 A.M., silence, song, and tears mark the exact time of detonation.
Refusing to believe that faith and love are powerless over hate, our vigil continues into the day as the sun bakes the desert. Hour after hour people kneel or sit in the presence of God, as we each understand God, for the 24 hours. Rosaries are said by those who pray rosaries, but every prayer of every attendee is welcomed.
Just before sunset, a final service is offered: the nonviolent prayer of the nonviolent Jesus. Trinity is not merely a code name; it is a sacred word of a Father who embraces all, of a Son who loves all and of a Spirit who is the breath of life for all. We abide in union with each other. It is who we are. It is why we are in a desert of destruction praying.
–Excerpted from an essay by Sr. Patricia McCarthy, CND
Duck and Cover (1951)
Are masks the new “duck and cover”?
Cancel Culture comes to Carmel
On Father’s Day, my longtime pastor Father Ted Rothrock gave a rousing homily reminding the viewing audience at home and the few of us still in the pews that Holy Communion is the point of church (meaning the Catholic Mass). He also said we needed to preach this from the rooftops. After Mass, I asked him in honor of his homily if we could have a Eucharistic Procession along the Monon Trail in downtown Carmel on July 4th. The City had canceled the usual annual Celebration of Secession from the London Crown parade, so I assumed this was a good way to fill that vacuum. He intended to take his annual July break to boat on Lake Michigan so passed the duty to his young pastoral associate. The associate happily agreed to do so.
I called Father Summerlin to start the planning, and we agreed 10am on July 4th worked best. I started emailing all this lists and contacts I have in the Carmel Catholic Community. The next day Father Summerlin asked for me to explore whether the City had any permitting requirements for this type of gathering. I agreed to do so, though since this was small and was essentially a group of people walking together on a public trail, there probably wouldn’t be any permit requited. I did not intend to block streets or the trail itself.
My wife humorously asked whether Jesus asked Pilate for permission to enter Jerusalem on the donkey so long ago. Since this was not about my views on government (I’m an anarchist in the tradition of Murray Rothbard) but about Jesus, I contacted the police department and parks department to determine whether we needed permission or were required to notify. Both confirmed my original view.
In the meantime, Father Ted penned his weekly bulletin article; this one would generate national headlines since he made some pointed remarks about the leaders of the BLM and Antifa movements. In a church with only about 25% of its normal weekend attendance because of the fear of a virus (which is worse, a virus or Satan?), it is somewhat ironic that this one bulletin article of his finally hit such a nerve. He has written many similar stemwinders over the years. He is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly irrelevant and milquetoast Catholic Church. Some people that didn’t like Father Ted’s article announced they were going to protest our church on Sunday. Father Summerlin said the Eucharistic Procession was cancelled, in light of this, even though it was just a few parishioners gathering together and taking a walk with Jesus on a public trail.
Our new administrator appointed by the Bishop invited the protestors onto church property. The church also blocked some people, including a Lutheran pastor, from “counter” protesting on church property. Therefore, so these two groups could get visibility, they both ended up largely protesting on the public easements, including a neighbor’s house across the street. They didn’t ask for permission of the city to do this!
In a side note, there were many more of us who prayed in front of the church most of the day around a beautiful St. Elizabeth Ann Seton statue commissioned by Father Ted than there were protestors. Some people walked out during the Bishop’s comments before Masses this weekend about the suspension; my family did not the night before because his message was so watered down either way that it was hard to get so emotional. We are a large parish and I have been asking Father Ted to get the Bishop here. Sad that this is what it took.
Unfortunately, my takeaway from this: John the Baptist said He must increase, I must decrease. The Church did decrease by not having a Eucharistic Procession, unrelated to anything except Jesus, and protestors increased onto church property to celebrate the scalp of Father Ted’s pastorships (this one and his next assignment, at the largest parish in the diocese). This is a site against militarism, but it does not encourage cowardice either by the Faithful or the Hierarchy. I pray that we listen to John the Baptist.
RFK on the night of MLK’s death
COVID and War
I was recently criticized for letting this blog turn into a coronavirus blog instead of a blog against militarism — which I don’t think is true — but this is a good article that shows the clear link between them: Coronavirus Propaganda Mimics War Propaganda.