Tag Archives: collection

In Case You Missed It

CAM started a few years ago when we wanted to speak out against the first ever collection for the Archdiocese of Military Services and we suggested putting a paper of protest in the collection basket.

Bob Woldrop of the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City prepared a similar statement this year. It can be found here: http://www.justpeace.org/mscollection.pdf

Though this happened on November 5 and 6 this year, and we forgot to tell you about it, it is still good to read the statements and ponder them and keep this small boycott in mind for next year.

Fr. Emmanuel McCarthy writes: “I have added a few words to it to make it fully consistent with my conscience. But ninety-nine percent of what is written is Bob’s work.”

Here is the text of the statement slightly tweaked by Fr. McCarthy:

I am not giving to the 2016 Archdiocese for Military Services Collection on the weekend of November  5-6.The bishops of the Archdiocese for Military Services, together with nearly all of their brother United States Bishops, are guilty of material cooperation with the objective evil of unjust war. In 2003, both Pope John Paul II and then Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Benedict XVI, condemned our attack on Iraq as an unjust war. In spite of the Pope’s opposition, the Most Rev. Edwin O’Brien, then Archbishop for the Military Services 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.”

Subsequent events have sadly proven the truth, wisdom, and prudence of Pope John Paul II’s judgment, and the fallacy and danger of the moral relativism embraced by the Bishops of the Archdiocese for Military Services and most of the other US Catholic Bishops regarding unjust war.

The consequences cascading from our invasion brought death and injury and social dislocation to hundreds of thousands and devastated the historic Christian communities of Iraq and subsequently Syria. It may fairly be said that those who enabled and supported the war on the people of Iraq are “secondary terrorists” in that they created the support system and the objective conditions on the ground in the Middle East that are driving the extreme forms of terrorism currently prevalent in the region.

Evil actions have evil consequences and those who propose the actions must own the evil consequences —and repent.

Therefore, because of these issues, and the overriding issue that Jesus absolutely rejected violence and enmity and taught His disciples to do the same, I am not giving to the collection for the Archdiocese of Military Services.

It is a sad and scandalous day when a people’s religious leaders fail them so egregiously. I promise to pray for the conversion of the Military Services hierarchy and clergy, and for the moral and physical protection and conversion of the members of the U.S. Military, and of all members of all militaries who are our sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, and children.

They deserve religious leaders who will courageously preach and teach the entire Gospel of Christ, not just that which is acceptable to the United States Government.

Our Response to Father Z

Today the National Catholic Reporter published an article on the upcoming collection for AMS called “Bishops’ support for war underpins collection for military archdiocese.” Father Z criticized the article on his blog, calling the article an “attack” on military chaplains. It is unfortunate that any form of criticism is labeled an “attack.”

Father Z believes that the collection to support the Archdiocese for Military Services is important. We believe, along with the author of the editorial, Mark Scibilia-Carver, that the comingling of militarism and Christianity raises certain questions that, after a decade of war, must be asked and addressed. We believe this is important. We see the collection for AMS as being representative of a bigger problem, one that demands an honest conversation. Some dialogue would be healthy for our Church and for our country.

We respect Fr. Z’s view, but we found his commentary to be defensive and reactionary. We wish he would have addressed the actual points Mark Scibilia-Carver brought up, in order to foster some dialogue so desperately needed, instead of characterizing negatively any Catholic who has concerns that are related to the military. If you depict someone with an opposing point of view as silly, irrational, and out-of-touch, then I guess you don’t have to address his argument.


Note: If you express concerns about violence and war, then you must be on drugs.

three popes

Note: Then the three popes quoted in Mark Scibilia-Carver’s article must have been on drugs. The always seem to be, in the words of Fr. Z, in “virulent tree-hugging reason free flower power mode.”

Not that anyone asked us, but this is our response to Father Z, which we wrote in the comments of his blog.

The hippies have a point here: Militarism inside the Church discourages serious reflection on the moral gravity of war. Militaristic sermons reinforce the assumption that the U.S. military is a force for good. That assumption is debatable! When priests replace serious reflection about mass violence with unchecked glorification of all things military, they fail in their duties as priests. That’s not an “attack.” It’s legitimate criticism. We need to have a dialogue about the appropriateness of militarism inside the Catholic Church. Toward that end, check out our manifesto at Catholics Against Militarism.

Father Z seems to think that anyone who criticizes the military, militarism, or U.S. foreign policy is a troop-spitting, drugged-up, hippie-flowerchild. That is not true! The Founding Fathers viewed a standing army as one of the biggest threats to liberty. James Madison wrote, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war, is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.” Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler wrote, “War is a racket…It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many.” In 1961, Dwight Eisenhower warned that the military-industrial complex created the potential for “the disastrous rise of misplaced power.” Michael Scheuer, a CIA veteran who ran the Counterterrorist Center’s bin Laden station from 1996 to 1999, wrote, “The fundamental flaw in our thinking about Bin Laden is that ‘Muslims hate and attack us for what we are and think, rather than what we do’…It’s American foreign policy that enrages Osama and al-Qaeda, not American culture and society.” I am a former Marine, a veteran of the Iraq War, and a conservative/libertarian who agrees Father Z and his readers about most theological and political issues. When conservatives accuse war critics of “attacking” the troops, they’re no different than liberals who accuse welfare critics of “attacking” the poor.

P.S. There is not a single verifiable instance of antiwar protestors “spitting” on troops returning from Vietnam. That’s an urban myth used to silence war critics. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/press_box/2000/05/drooling_on_the_vietnam_vets.html

For the record, Father Z, neither of us here at CAM smokes hash or owns a bong. We do, however, like the guitar. You have to admit these are awesome. Let’s get coffee sometime.