Moral Charade

The following was written by Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy:

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The Institutional Churches’ Moral Charade Regarding Gospel Nonviolence Marches On!

“Dear military Ordinaries and military chaplains: As you carry out your mission to form the consciences of the members of the armed forces, I encourage you to spare no effort to enable the norms of international humanitarian law to be accepted in the hearts of those entrusted to your pastoral care,” 

“The Second Vatican Council calls those in military service ‘custodians of the security and freedom of their people.’ The servants of Christ in the military world are also the first to be at the service of men and women and of their fundamental rights,” said Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace Oct. 31, 2019, as he met with military chaplains from around the world as they participated in a formation course on international humanitarian law hosted by the Vatican.

This same Pope Francis in an address to the International Theological Commission on January 15, 2014 said,

The definitive revelation of God in Jesus Christ makes every recourse to violence in God’s name ultimately impossible. It is precisely because of [Christ’s] refusal of violence, because of his having overcome evil with good, with the blood of his Cross, that Jesus has reconciled men to God and each other”  

 On August 19, 2013, he said,

“The true force of the Christian is the force of truth and of love, which means rejecting all violence. Faith and violence are incompatible! Faith and violence are incompatible! But faith and strength go together. The Christian is not violent, but he strong. And with what strength? That of meekness, the force of meekness, the force of love.” – Pope Francis, (8/19/13)

Commentary:

How about instead of the Pope telling the military bishops and priests that they should work diligently to assure that “the norms of international humanitarian law to be accepted in the hearts of those entrusted to your pastoral care,” they be told by that they should spare no effort in assuring that the norms of the Sermon on the Mount, the norm of Jesus in the Gospels,, e.g., “love your enemies,” “put up your sword,” “love one another as I have loved you ,” accepted into the hearts of those entrusted to your pastoral care.

Pray tell what are the “norms of international humanitarian law” in regards to the mass slaughter of human beings in war. “Humanitarian laws of war” is an oxymoron. (Oxymoron is derived from the Greek ‘oxumoron’ meaning “pointedly foolish.”) The “norms of international humanitarian law” are as porous, as slippery, as wide open to indefinite interpretation as the norms of Catholic Just War Theory. They are the Deceiver’s tool to get people to believe that war can be conducted humanely, just as Christian Just War Theory is the Deceiver’s PR tool to get Christians to believe they can be good and faithful disciples of Jesus as they go forth to slaughter people named by politicians “the enemy.” The norms of international humanitarian laws of war are something Jesus never taught or could never teach because war intrinsically requires violence and enmity— even if done according to the norms of international humanitarian laws. And, violence and enmity are forever outside of what a person committed to obedience to Jesus, to Jesus’ “new commandment, love as Jesus loves,” could ever morally participate in.

How about a Vatican formation course for military bishops and priests on the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies?

How is a person a servant of Christ in the military and to military personnel unless he is telling the truth that Jesus taught to at least the Christians involved in the military world, that is, in the world where people spend their life’s time learning to kill and killing other human beings on the command of others or ordering such killing. The truth of Jesus, as Pope Francis once proclaimed, is “Faith and violence are incompatible! Faith and violence are incompatible…The definitive revelation of God in Jesus Christ makes every recourse to violence in God’s name ultimately impossible. ” So why didn’t the Pope say to the Catholic military bishops and priests of the world gather before him:

“Dear military Ordinaries and military chaplains: As you carry out your mission to form the consciences of the members of the armed forces, I encourage you to spare no effort in teaching that Faith and violence are incompatible! The definitive revelation of God in Jesus Christ makes every recourse to violence in God’s name ultimately impossible; ” teaching it so thoroughly that this truth of God and Jesus be accepted in the hearts of those entrusted to your pastoral care.” 

 I do not know why the Pope refused to speak this clear truth of Jesus, which he full well knows, to the military bishops and priests. But what I do know is that if he refuses to vigorously proclaim this teaching of Jesus to the very people who are ignoring it, disobeying it, defying it and calling their bracketing out of it faithful Christin discipleship, to whom is he going to proclaim this teaching with vigor and authority? Dorothy Day?

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