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