Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 37

FAST FOOD: Thirty-Seventh Helping



Icon of Our Lady of Nuclear Sorrows

“Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” Mt 25:40

“I studied in moral theology an ancient principle of Roman law: the principle of responsibility in solido. The public knows it in term of a proverb: ‘The one who holds the bag is as much a thief as the one who steals the money.’ When two persons commit a crime together, e.g., an assassin and the one who hires him, you hand down a full prison sentence for them both, and everyone understands that the responsibility may not be cut in halves.

A crime like that of Hiroshima required thousand of people sharing direct responsibility: politicians, scientists, technicians, workers, aviators. Every one of them quieted his conscience by telling himself that the total responsibility was divided among them all. Remorse reduced to the third or fourth decimal point won’t keep any modern man awake at night.

And so we have come to this absurdity. A caveman gives someone a blow with his club, knows that he has done wrong and repents of it. A pilot in the atomic age fills the bomb bay of his plane with what in a short period of time will liquidate 200,000 Japanese, and he does not repent. [He is just obeying orders. He is not responsible.]

If I understand the theorist of military obedience and certain German courts correctly, they would have us identify Hitler as the only person responsible for the extermination of six million Jews. But Hitler was irresponsible because he was mad. Therefore the crime never had an author and no one is responsible.

There is only one way to extricate ourselves from this macabre word-play. We must tell youngsters that obedience is the subtlest of temptations… You (military chaplains) should educate our soldiers for objection rather than obedience. Throughout these past one hundred years of history they have known all too little objection. To their shame and that of the world, they have known all too much of obedience.”

-Don Lorenzo Milani, (1923-1967), Italian Catholic priest, unambiguous and undaunted proclaimer of the Nonviolent Jesus and His Nonviolent Way


FAST FOOD: Thirty-Sixth Helping


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