Videos on Catholic Just War Theory, Christian non-violence and much more

Below are a set of seventeen (17) powerful 10-minute videos recorded by Fr Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

1. Resurrection

2. The Gift of Nonviolence

3. Putting On The Mind Of Christ

4. Nonviolence and The Right To Life

5. Trust In Nonviolence

6. Nonviolence and Hope

7. Gratitude

8. Nonviolence/Resurrection Ethics

9. History And Conscience

10. The Church And War

11. Post Constantinian Christianity

12. Just/Unjust War

13. The Ripple Effect of Nonviolence

14. Truth

15. Self Deception

16. Culpable Conscience

17. The Mystery of Jesus And His Way

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Pope Francis and Protecting People from “Unjust Aggression” – part three

Pope Francis and Protecting People from “Unjust Aggression”

(Part Three)

Christians and people in general who justify homicidal violence as the way to stop “unjust aggression”—whatever that is, e.g., the unjust aggression of the US against the people of El Salvador or an abortionist against a child in utero—are forever running to the analogy that “if there is a fire the first job is to throw water on it to extinguish the fire and save what is being destroyed, and then later fire prevention systems can be discussed and put into place.” How does one argue against such a self-evident and reasonable common sense truth such as this? One doesn’t! It would be irrational and callous to sit in Antium and fiddle around with esoteric ideas on the nature of fire while Rome is burning. “Start throwing water on the fire now,” would be the only reasonable, as well as compassionate, course of action. Wouldn’t it?

No! It would not! Throwing water on a fire can extinguish a fire, but throwing water on a fire can also exacerbate a fire. Water is a fuel for some types of fire. Used on many categories of fires it can produce a ferocious eruption of heat and flame, and in many instances leave smouldering beneath the ashes for extensive periods of time residue that has the potential to cause further destruction. One has to know the content that initiated and sustains the fire before one is in a position to stop the fire from spreading its destruction.

Pope Francis recognizes this and therefore concludes his statement on stopping “unjust aggressors” by saying, “And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated.”

‘Means’ are always evaluated in terms of ends desired and norms that transcend or exist prior to the immediate situation, e.g., God’s will, the maintenance of power and wealth, the Pythagorean Theorem if one is a carpenter who plans to build a set of stairs, etc. Means that cannot achieve the ends they were chosen to achieve are illusionary means. They may achieve other ends, but if they cannot achieve the ends they were chosen for they are fanciful means.

To stone a chronically disobedient teenager boy to death as a way of disciplining him so he will be obedient is obviously the choice of illusionary means, since the boy is no longer around to obey. To kill the evil one to stop evil is equally a choice of fanciful means. Jesus made this quite clear: “How can Satan drive out Satan?” (Mk 23:4 ff; MT 9:34, 12:24: Lk 11:15) Or, as Mahatma Gandhi stated it, “The means are the ends in embryo. As you choose your means, you get your ends. That is the iron law of the moral universe.” Or, as W.H. Auden wrote in his poem, September 1, 1939, which has been so often quoted in relation to the Twin Towers’ tragedy, “I and the public know/What all schoolchildren learn, /Those to whom evil is done/Do evil in return.” Evil perpetuates itself by deceiving people into choosing evil to stop evil.

Many, perhaps, most people who have ever lived, including most moral theologians, regardless of religion, ignore or reject what Jesus and Gandhi are communicating as truth here. For example, such Twentieth Century theological notables as Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., obsessed with his quixotic view of the nobility of the military man and glories of battle, and Martin Buber, obsessed with a desire for a piece of geography, publicly rejected Jesus and Gandhi teaching on the consequences of choosing evil to drive out evil. Indeed most of those whom people consider “the greats” of history, Christian or otherwise, have utterly rejected, perhaps more accurately ignored, this truth by which Jesus and Gandhi lived and for which and in which they gave their lives.

Previously in Part Two of this series on Pope Francis’ words to journalist on intervention, when I was speaking about his nebulous, non-defined term “unjust aggressor,” in his statement, I wrote, “Ambiguity here reduces this statement to a banal platitude. Francis’ statement on intervention is a Rorschach answer into which each person or group can project anything it wants to see or put anything into it that it wants to do, and do it all under a Papal or Church moral canopy. His statement functions in the human condition exactly as the perfidious Christian Just War Theory does. Its ambiguity serves as a moral carte blanche for doing what Jesus taught must not be done.” Well, so also is this the case with Francis’ sentence, “And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated.”

Again, who can disagree with the need to evaluate means in any area of endeavour, including intervention to stop “unjust aggression?”  But, evaluate by whose standard, by what value system? Jesus’?; The Project for a New American Century’s?; The EU’s?; The Arab League’s?; or by the value system of the “Gang of 192,” the United Nations? All serious discussion of whose system of right and wrong, whose standard of good and evil is to be employed to evaluate the means that can be used to stop ‘unjust aggressors” and why it is to be chosen is left in the moral twilight zone of ambiguity. Francis’ statement reminds one of the piece of oratory with which Dwight Eisenhower, knowing that voting Americans are big on God, often closed many of his speeches during his campaign for the Presidency: “I don’t care what God you believe in, just so long as you believe in God!”

When it comes to God, His way and His will nothing sells in the public domain of politics and mass media, and nothing bring more peace of mind in the salons of the political, military and ecclesiastical power elites, as does ambiguity. Just think, Christian rulers and Christians on both sides of every European war and every American war, north and south, for over 1700 years have declared themselves to be conducting a just war against unjustified enemy violence. And moreover, no national hierarchy has ever told the Christians of its Church that the war in which their nation is presently involved is unjust and that they may not participate in this mass murder operation. The Christian Just War Theory (CJWT), which is open to an indefinite number of interpretations of each and every aspect of its content, which is ambiguous in each and every aspect of its content, is nothing but a Christian license to engage in mass murder with impunity—and with a clear conscience. Nothing in the history of Christianity has poured more evil into the hearts of Christians and into the operation of their various institutional Churches as CJWT.

The king’s bishops, priests, ministers and theologians with chameleon dexterity color CJWT one way and then another in order to wrongly reassure the local Christians that if they kill for the local Grand Poobah in this particular situation they will be living in conformity with the teaching of the Church, and need not feel conflicted about whether they are living in conformity with the teaching of Jesus.

Pope Francis’ brief equivoque to a world press on stopping “unjust aggression” by means yet to be decided upon by the power elites of nations—power elites who make every decision as if the Incarnation never occurred—is a misuse, if not an outright abuse, of the Petrine Ministry as instituted by Jesus. He could have proclaimed the Gospel but chose instead to dabble, while in Papal robes, in realpolitik in the strict sense, and I would add, that in the perception of a large part of the non-Western world in power politics in the pejorative sense. When the Pope enters the world of realpolitik and power politics with anything other than the teaching of Jesus and with anything other than the salvation of souls as his primary objective, he is then only speaking as a man among other human beings voicing his opinion on who is the unjust aggressor and who should decide the means to stop that unjust aggressor. He is functioning as a philosopher and as a partisan politician, two commissions never given by Jesus to Peter or to Peter’s successors.

Basically, what Frances and what his two alter ego Cardinals have done with his statement is misuse the Petrine Ministry to designated one unkempt and brutalized Mafia gang an unjust aggressor while designating the other well attired Mafia gangs—who have killed a thousand time more children and innocent human beings than the now “unjust aggressor’ and who are responsible for the brutalization of the people in the other Mafia gang —as agents of peace to use their power, which is not the power of Christlike love, to stop the newly designated “unjust aggressor” gang. This is morally bizarre, to say the least. But if this is how Francis wishes to spend his time on earth, that is his decision. What I vigorously object to is his using the Petrine Ministry of the Church, the Church in which I have an eternal stake, to give a Christian flavour to Western power politics, with its insatiable and savage self-interest, by sprinkling it with Papal anodynes, whose possible serpentine interpretations are left wide open for the Snake to access and publicizes as only the Snake can do.

As noted in Part One, in 1983 the US Catholic Bishops voted overwhelmingly for a Pastoral addressing the issues of war and peace that had as one of its guiding composition points planned ambiguity. And, the fruits of that Pastoral and its planned ambiguity over the last thirty years have been what? US Catholics at every level of the Church and society, minus a few Catholic peace and justice groups, have totally ignored it and run off by the tens of millions to follow and support the murderous US political and media pied piper of the day—and, while in the process of following someone other than Jesus, killing and maiming tens of millions of men women and children across the globe. US Catholic military chaplains being always on duty and on call to assure Catholics so engaged that this is morally AOK with the Church and therefore with Jesus.

And so also is this already taking place with Pope Francis’ calculated off-the-cuff statement on intervention by other nations with its inherent planned ambiguity. The power elites of the US for the last two weeks have been bombing the bejesus out of Muslims in Iraq whom they say are ISIS members. US Catholics are now supporting the bombings and US Catholic prelates are answering all objections by quoting the Pope and two Cardinals, as if they were quoting Jesus Himself.

US Catholics of every ilk and rank now believe that the US and they have a duty to intervene militarily in Iraq today (and who knows where tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow) because the Pope says Catholics “can” (the two talking Cardinals say “must”) intervene, but left the means of intervention ambiguous and wide open. So if intervention requires the military to engage in the” humanitarian killing” of more Iraqis and Muslims to put out the fire, to stop the “unjust aggression de jour, so be it. Deus vult. “It’s God will.” The Church says so. Where have we heard that before.

The planned ambiguity of this statement on intervention against “unjust aggressors” is as insidious and destructive as the planned ambiguity of that mirage of Christian morality of which it is but an extension, namely, the nefarious CJWT. It will be employed by Catholics, and those who want Catholics as their canon fodder, exactly as CJWT has been employed for the last 1700 years, as a moral sound bite without Gospel content that will operationally result in giving the political and economic power mongers of the world free rein to pre-emptively drone, to assassinate, to sabotage, to invade, to kill people in any nation anywhere on the planet at any time self interest dictates.

For the good of the Church, for the good of humanity and for the salvation of souls, Pope Francis has to unequivocally and publicly retract his statement on intervention against “unjust aggressors,” not because those in need of help should not be helped, they must be. He must renounce it because his statement in its planned ambiguity is not an extinguishing agent that can help quench the immediate fire but is rather an agent that will fuel the present fire and in the hands of the wicked will fuel untold numbers of infernos long into the future.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Pope Francis and Protecting People from “Unjust Aggression” – part two

Pope Francis and Protecting People from “Unjust Aggression”

(Part two)

Toward the end of the process that resulted in the US Catholic Bishops publishing their 1983 Pastoral, The Challenge of Peace, a Bishop requested to the conference of Bishops that an alteration to particular paragraph be undertaken in order to make more palpable the non-violence of Jesus and of the original Christian community. Cardinal Joseph Bernadine, the chair of the committee chosen to compose the pastoral on which the Bishops’ Conference would vote, responded by asking the gathering of Bishops to reject the requested change because “it would undermine the planned ambiguity of the document.”

One of the practical difficulties of the Petrine ministry as it presently is structured and administered is that it is very often impossible to determine if the Successor to Peter is speaking to Catholics or to Christians in general or to humanity as a whole. It is very often equally difficult to determine if he is speaking as the Pope, as a Catholic or Christian or as a human being with a point of view. I am not referring here to an infallible proclamation, which must always be unequivocally and explicitly declared by the Pope to be such. There can be no ambiguity about a statement or writing being an ex cathedra infallible dogma in the area of faith or morals, e.g., the Dogmas of the Immaculate Conception (Pope Pius IX, 1854) and Assumption (Pope Pius XII, 1950). An ambiguity about whether a declaration by a Pope is infallible means it is not infallible. So infallible Papal statements are not the concern here.

The concern here is the thousand upon thousands of other ideas a Pope expresses publicly. From what principles is he speaking? To what audience is he speaking? What degree of spiritual, theological or moral authority, short of infallibility, do his utterances carry beyond that of any reasonable person—and for whom?

If the Pope is saying something simply as a reasonable person to other people, that carries no more authority than the self-evident truth-quality of his premises, the accuracy of his logic and the consistency of his conclusions with his premises and logic will permit. This is precisely the situation that exists for every human being who honestly communicates with another human being about some matter. The problem enters in when it cannot be ascertained whether the Pope is speaking from self-evident premises that can be known and validated or invalidated by any human being as self-evidently true. Or, whether he is speaking from premises that are derived from the authority of His faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, God and Saviour, which he is logically applying to some aspect or another of the human condition. If the latter is the case, the self-evident truth of these faith-based premises is not self-evident to someone outside the Pope’s faith consciousness, and therefore norms of behaviour that can be logically derived from them are not universally true for all people, and hence no person or group outside of the Pope’s faith is or can be expected to follow them—let alone be coerced into following them.

With the above in mind, examine Pope Francis’ statement to reporters on his flight back to Rome from Korea. “In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underscore the verb’stop.’ I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.’ And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated.” Is Francis speaking here as just one human being communicating his reasonable understanding of what should be done to other human beings? Or, is he speaking here out of his faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord, God and Saviour, and as the definitive revealer of God and God’s will to humanity?

If it is the former I would suggest there would be no shortage of human beings who would have one or more bones to pick with him over the reasonableness of his statement in its premises and application. Depending on whose ox is being gored and what information people are allowed to know, they may see ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Israel, Hamas, the US, Britain or France as an unjust aggressor. However, within these groups they and their supporters see themselves as justified employers of violence. So by what reasonable standard is “unjust aggression” determine? If a group is firing a guns at people today, who have been firing guns at them for decades, does that mean that a violent response to such a history is unjust aggression? If a group is fighting to get back land it had lived on for the thousands of years and that was stolen by murderous violence from them, is that unjust aggression? If a group is trying to protect by violence its people from those who hate them and have killed them in the past, or if a religious faith is trying to preserve itself from having the perversities of those who don’t belong to it imposed upon them, is that unjust aggression?  If massive financial investments that a group has made in a geographical area are on the verge of being taken or destroyed, is that groups violence unjust aggression?  If a religious group is being decimated by another religious group who is sending hundreds of thousands of adherents thousands of miles to cross borders and kill and maim millions of the first groups people, is the first religious group’s violence unjust aggression? As a reasonable man making a reasonable proposal on stopping unjust aggression Francis cannot leave the term ‘unjust aggressor’ hanging out there without telling people what this term reasonably means to him. Without a definition of  “unjust aggression,” how does one reasonably know whom to stop? Ambiguity here reduces such a statement to a banal platitude. Is voicing banal, reasonable platitudes what the Petrine Ministry was instituted by Jesus for?

Beyond this, why isn’t bombing and making war on unjust aggressors the right way of reasonably stopping them? And by what reasonable moral standard does one evaluate what are the moral means to stop an unjust aggression. Assuming Francis is speaking here as one reasonable person to another, if he were asked the question in a college class that the reporters on the plane asked him regarding cross border intervention, and he answered it the way he responded to reporters, I think he might be given an ‘F,’ because his reasonable answer is so full of reasonable loopholes that it amounts to a non-answer. It is a highly ambiguous Rorschach answer into which each person or group can project anything it wants to see into it or put anything it wants to do under its moral canopy. It functions in the human condition exactly as the perfidious Christian Just War Theory does. Its ambiguity serves as a moral carte blanche for doing what Jesus taught must not be done.

Therein lies the difficulty with the planned ambiguity that results in not knowing whether the Vicar of Christ and Vicar of St. Peter is only speaking as an intelligent, well meaning, reasonable human being, or is speaking as the Rock of faith, the Rock of the Church, adhering to the commission he and the other Apostles were explicitly given by Jesus, after His resurrection:“Teach them to obey all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19).

Pope Francis and Protecting People from “Unjust Aggression” – part one

Pope Francis and Protecting People from “Unjust Aggression”

(Part One)

That people have to be protected from evil is not an issue. Jesus came to protect people from evil now and forever. Indeed He came to protect people from evil by vanquishing evil. The Christian cannot just stand by, as Jesus did not just stand by, and let evil run rampant, while he or she does nothing but watch it take its course. To give but one obvious example, it would wrong to simply watch the Palestinian people be subjected to war crime after war crime, crime against humanity after crime against humanity, hideous evil after hideous evil by the Natanyahu-Shamir-Begin disciples within Israel and Judaism, and do nothing.

As Pope Francis said to reporters flying back to Rome from Korea, “In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underscore the verb ‘stop.’ I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.’ And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated.”

In the First World’s media frenzy to morally validate its own anti-Gospel violence justifying value system, it pre-emptively flooded every avenue of communication with the idea that what Francis said is that it is morally legitimate for Catholics and Christians to go into Israel and Gaza and kill the unjust killers of Palestinian men, women and children. He did not say that! Read the statement. He did not endorse military violence as a moral means for Catholics, Christians, or anyone else for that matter, to stop violence.

But, the universal media presentation of his words is that he morally put Peter’s seal of approval on taking out the sword violent military interventionist action against the likes of Israel for the “unjust aggression” it is carrying out against Palestinians, as well as, against other groups engaged in “unjust aggression.” He did not. Read his words. The secular and the Constantinian Christian media blitzkrieg to saturate the world with the thought that Pope Francis approves of Catholics and Christians, and non-Christians, using militarized homicide to stop violence is so completely overwhelming and suffocating all other possible thought on the subject that what Francis actually said cannot be separated from what others are saying he said, which, in fact, he did not say.

“I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.’ I underscore the verb ‘stop.’  Those are not words that morally validate Catholics or Christians or anyone else using military violence. If anything the word “not” of itself communicates that military violence and homicide is exactly what he is not morally endorsing let alone advocating.

“And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated.” ‘Means’ are always evaluated in terms ends desired and ideas that transcend the immediate moment. For example, if a person says, “We need to evaluated that candidate for the job,” he or she means that there are standards that exist independent of the person that must be used to measure whether this candidate is suited or not suited to do the job that is available. The candidate has to meet those standards, to whatever degree desired by the employer, or else he or she will not have the value that the company needs in that job and his evaluation for the job will be a negative one.

So also states Pope Francis, this must be the case in dealing with stopping an “unjust aggressor,” whether it be by Israel, the United States, Britain, ISIS, France, Russia, etc. Certainly in evaluating the means that need to be employed to simply stop an “unjust aggressor,” the means being evaluated are not the means needed to conquer or to destroy or to procure surrender from an “unjust aggressor.”

“The means to stop them must be evaluated.”  Francis “underscores the verb ‘stop.’”  “Unjust aggressors” can be stopped in an untold number of ways other than killing and maiming them. For example in the case of Israel, the U.S. and the EU notifying Israel that all aid military and domestic will be cut off immediately by emergency executive order for an extended time into the future unless it stops its “unjust aggression” against the Palestinians, that dual citizenship status of people holding both Israeli and US or EU citizenship would be terminated and the person would have to make a choice and a renunciation, divestment from Israeli corporations, etc. have very high probability of stopping “unjust aggression” against the Palestinians.

In the case of ISIS or other non-state terrorist groups, who never possess the wherewithal to make one AK 47 or its ammunition, one M 16 or its ammunition, rockets or rocket launches, short range, long ranger or battlefield missiles, or any other piece of modern weaponry or replacement parts, cutting of their weapons supply has about a equally extremely high probability of stopping the “unjust aggression” of the non-state group. The black market organizations and operators who make a fortune in the arms trade by running a perpetual and overflowing river of armaments into ISISesque groups across the globe are known to every major governmental intelligence agency in the world. Moreover, those who finance the purchase of those weapons are traceable and known. Both the black market arms makers and those super-wealthy people and organization and states that ultimately pick-up the tab for the weapons have million and billions of dollars worth of assets in the U.S. and the EU that can be frozen or confiscated in order to stop the flow of that without which ISIS and ISISesques non-state “unjust aggressors” cannot operate.

Until such step, and many, many others that are available, are taken against “unjust aggressors”—state or non-state—it is impossible to claim one has reach the point of last resort, which is the point one needs to reach before homicidal violence can be morally justified even in just war theory.

However, let me conclude with this anecdote from decades ago. In the spring of 1970 while teaching at the University of Notre Dame and at the height of the U.S. War on Vietnam, I organized an anti-war rally on the campus in the large courtyard between Dillon Hall and Alumni Hall. I asked Rev. John L. McKenzie who was on the faculty of the Theology Department at the time to speak to the gathering. He did. Upon the conclusion of his talk, which had several satirical but poignant references to the number of Christians killing people in Vietnam and the non-violent and love of enemies teachings of Jesus, a student got up in the Q&A period and said with a perceptible level of aggressivity, “What you’re saying is stupid. Non-violence is stupid. It doesn’t work and it can’t work!” McKenzie’s response was, “Most Christian do not believe that Jesus knows what He is talking about in this area. They dismiss Him as unrealistic at best, probably stupid. Therefore they refuse to even to try to implement what He taught about non-violence and love of enemies. This guarantees that His Way of non-violence will never enter into history as more than a naïve and stupid idea. Give me the money that Christians give to the Pentagon for war, and I’ll show you non-violence works.”

RORATE CÆLI: “Dear Father”: Answers for Troubled Times II – In these times, can I be critical or sceptical of hierarchy pronouncements?

An excellent article via RORATE CÆLI: “Dear Father”: Answers for Troubled Times II – In these times, can I be critical or sceptical of hierarchy pronouncements?.

“Dear Father”: Answers for Troubled Times II – In these times, can I be critical or sceptical of hierarchy pronouncements?

“Dear Father,Can I be a good Catholic and still be sceptical or even critical of certain things said or done by bishops and popes that appear to contradict all the Tradition of the Church?

Thank you,

Confused in Ontario”

Dear Confused in Ontario,

This is a question that I am asked many times. It is, of course, the result of disquiet over what is said by Church authorities mainly in Rome but elsewhere as well. So many “off-the-cuff” pronouncements by members of the hierarchy and the reappearance of theologies that we thought were dead because they lead to dead ends have had this disquieting effect on many of the faithful.

I fear that I will not be able to answer your question in a way in which you will be satisfied. For a clear answer would have to be part of a serious theological task that so far no one has undertaken and that involves a serious rethinking of the role of the Pope and of the bishops in the Church in the light of Tradition. Tradition, we must always remember, is something living and therefore is integrally connected with the past and open to the future, all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It bothers me that those Catholics who are labeled as Traditionalists are seen to be somehow locked in the past. While it is absolutely true that the teaching of the Church in the past is necessary for true development of the Church’s teaching in the present and future, one must always be one’s guard against antiquarianism (which in part gave us the Novus Ordo ) and against nostalgia for a perfect time that never really was.

One of the greatest problems in the Church for the past hundred years has been a creeping Ultramontanism that seeks to almost identify the Church with the Pope. We see this happening all through the 20th century, but especially during the last quarter of that century. The era of instant communication afforded by the Internet and the all-pervasive presence of the media has contributed greatly to this situation. But it is also because of a series of Popes who traveled widely in the world in the name of evangelization. Those Masses in football stadiums with thousands and thousands of people, the World Youth Day celebrations, all followed by the media everywhere as they would follow “rock stars”, further contributed to this phenomenon.

Perhaps this was inevitable given the world in which we live. But it has had a bad effect on the understanding of the Papacy and its role both in the world and in the Church herself. We seem to have gone from an understanding of the role of the Pope as Supreme Pastor, Defender of the Faith and Guardian of the Liturgy, the Supreme Teacher who when guided by the Holy Spirit can define in a solemn way what the Church has always believed: from this understanding of the Papacy that reaches (one thought) its dogmatic zenith at the First Vatican Council with its careful definition of Papal Infallibility to the current understanding of the Papacy that sees him as the very embodiment of the Church with apparently no boundaries to his power and authority. It still boggles my mind to think that a Pope claims the power to suppress the Roman Rite of the Mass and impose a rite upon the Latin Church that many would insist is not continuous with the Roman Rite but is something new entirely.

The irony of all of this is that we find ourselves in the grip of reactionary forces that are pushing liberal (as Blessed John Henry Newman understood
that word) causes in the Church. That Newman foresaw this in his Biglietto Speech over one hundred years ago is no comfort to us who are going through this time of tribulation.

Having said all of this, I will answer your question in a qualified way. My answer is as follows. Yes, you are free as a Catholic to question the decisions of the bishops of the Church, including the Bishop of Rome, when they seem to you to depart from the Tradition, the teaching of the Church for the past two thousand years, in its roots in Scripture and in the organic growth of the Tradition. But one must differentiate here between criticizing and questioning. It really does no good to criticize specific words or acts of the Bishop of Rome or of any bishop in an uncharitable and carping way. It is often an offense against charity and leads to hardness of heart.

But it is surely the duty of the laity to question pronouncements (including press conferences and sermons) and decisions of the hierarchy when they seem to depart from the teaching of the Church, from the Tradition. Newman believed so strongly in the importance of an educated laity, educated both in the secular sense and in the ecclesial sense! And in this way it is the duty of the educated and faithful laity to question decisions of the hierarchy on the basis of the Tradition of the Church. And questioning here means to ask the bishops (with no animosity) how a specific pronouncement, whether official or unofficial, of a bishop squares with the Tradition. In this way, for instance, it is perfectly fine to ask how the image of the Church as a “field hospital” is consonant with the self-understanding of the Church within her Tradition.

I am sure, dear Confused in Ontario, that my response is not crystal clear nor does it help to assuage your genuine concerns about the state of the Church. But a priest is neither a medicine man nor a magician. He is called to faith in the same way as every Catholic is called to faith. And he sees, like we all do, “through a glass darkly”. But even through that partially de-silvered mirror that is the Catholic Church here on earth, we see the glory of the Truth in the face of the One who is our only hope, our only source of truth, our only source of real life, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Father Richard G. Cipolla


Fantastic, spot on.

CatholicScout Comments – LMS Chairman “To understand ISIS, look at Anglicanism”

“To understand ISIS, look at Anglicanism

Chalk and cheese, the Islamic militants of ISIS and Anglicans? Actually, they have a lot in common.”

– LMS Chairman.

That’s a quote (out of context of course) that Dr Shaw will have a hard time living down for a long time. Have a read of the post (I may copy it for future reference, as I wouldn’t be surprised if he took it down).

So the Internet Memes based on his words have already started…Meme mocking the concept that Anglicans are 16th Century terroristsMeme mocking the concept that Catholics are justified in violence

These Memes are crass and unbalanced.

But I would like to comment on his post.

I’m not going to comment about the fire-storm of wrath that Dr Shaw has whipped up for himself, but looking at his logic. Something which the Memes may have stumbled upon.

There are two concepts in action.

Firstly the Theory of Catholic Just War/violence and secondly the Dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus – Outside the [Roman Catholic] Church there is no salvation.

The concept that a Catholic can justifiably use violence is now so ingrained from 1700 years of teaching, so sub-conscious, that to say otherwise is considered Anathema. This is particularly the case with Traditionalists (for those who aren’t quite clear about the factions within the Catholic Church, I will attempt to elucidate in another post.).

Dr Shaw presents 16th Century Protestant England as being savage persecutors. He goes on to decry the acts perpetrated by the Sovereign powers of England as unjust – because it “was based on the idea that Catholics were idolatrous, and toleration would bring the wrath of God down on the land.”

When presented with facts that Catholic “savagery was based on the idea that Protestants were idolatrous, and toleration would bring the wrath of God down on the land”, Catholics, especially Traditionalist Catholics such as Dr Shaw, is often completely blinkered by the ingrained concept that a Catholic can be violent justifiably. They will simply respond “we were defending ourselves in [England during the reign of Mary, the Holy Land during the Crusades etc]”, and here we see the root cause of the argument.

The root cause is not the double standard that a Just Violence Catholic recognises that a Catholic can be violent and be justified, but not a Protestant.

It is the combination of a Catholic who combines the theory that a Catholic can be violent, with the Dogma that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church (meaning union in belief and practice with the Pope in Rome).

This combination makes for a particularly ugly prospect, for the Catholic justifies his violence by his conformity and union with the Pope in Rome (and therefore God), and junks everyone else’s “right” to be violent.

The reality is however, that for 1700 years the Catholic Church (and all the mainstream Christian Churches for that matter) have obfuscated the actual teachings of Messiah concerning violence. There is no justifiable violence according to the Messiah.

The praxis that Catholics are commanded to observe is “to love ones enemy, to do good to those that hate you” (Matthew 5:44), “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).

There is no glory in pointing the finger at those that are violent in the world, if we Catholics ourselves are unable to rid ourselves of the enduring delusion that we can be violent justifiably.

Christ taught quite the opposite.

We Catholics should ask ourselves “what would Jesus do?”. I can assure you He would not write to the UN and compel “the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities“. I can assure you He would not go on Crusade to “defend” His homeland, or purge “dissenters”.

The Way is not easy, but it is the only Way. No-one professing to be a Catholic is exempt, the elderly, the young, pregnant women etc. We must ask “What would Jesus do” and do it.

To understand ISIS, don’t look at Catholics who justify violence. We don’t even follow what our Founder (Who we believe is God Incarnate) said regarding violence…

“It’s God’s will…

(but we can’t quote Him on it…)”

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Fortieth Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Fortieth Helping

Again,

“We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

image


The general question around which these FAST FOOD Helpings for the 2014 Forty Day Fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence has revolved is not, ‘Does Jesus save?” but rather, “How does Jesus save?” The answer given, employing the words of Rev. John L. McKenzie, is Jesus saves by Christlike love:

The power, which destroys all other powers, is the power of love, the love of God revealed and active in Jesus Christ. God revealed in Jesus that He loves man and will deliver him through love and through nothing else. The saving act of Jesus is an act of love of the type which He recommends in the Gospels. He loves God by loving His fellow men. The enduring presence of the power which entered the world in the incarnation enabled man in any condition to live the life of Jesus and to continue in his own person the love which is the saving act. The resurrection is the climax of the saving act. But, man is not ready for love. He never has been. Yet, it is the one enduring reality in the created world, and in it man achieves enduring reality and value. Jesus presents in His words and life not only a good way of doing things, not only an ideal to be executed whenever it is convenient, but the only way of doing what He did.

The remainder of all FAST FOOD Helpings is then given over to elucidating, explaining, clarifying that it is by those He has chosen to be His disciples trustfully entering into the  process of participating in this saving act, that the salvation of Israel, of each unique individual and of all humanity is ultimately concluded. Participation in the saving of act of love as defined by Jesus’ words and deeds is participation in a moral revolution. This is why He says that for a person to follow in His Way, he or she must die to himself or herself or deny himself or herself.  “Die” and “deny” are pretty strong descriptive words that denote something significantly more than a slight alteration in thought and in behaviour. They are words that envision a moral revolution.

But, Jesus’ teaching is infinitely more than a mere moral statement about right and wrong. As the Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the world, He has  “the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68 ).

If a morality based on reason and nature is the supreme morality of which human beings are capable and it is able to deliver humanity from perpetual enslavement to evil, sin, suffering and death, then there is no need for a Messiah, the Incarnation or any other avenue of Divine revelation communicating God’s Will and Way to humanity. There is no need for a Saviour. Humanity or the individual human being can save himself or herself. But that fact is that neither humanity nor the individual person can save themselves by living in conformity with a moral code based on reason and nature. Why? Because whatever is deduced by reason from nature as a code of moral conduct is deduced from nature by a corrupted consciousness of extremely limited vision, not in its original state of holiness and righteousness, and obscured by personal desires, the ever present orientations and inclinations of concupiscence. The Way of Jesus the Messiah of Israel and the Saviour of the world is a Way of revolutionary revelation designed by God. It is not a way of reasonable deductions derived from a perception of a scintilla of nature.

So, now, the issues of how Jesus saves and why human beings and humanity need a Saviour have been addressed. But, how does it work? Most of the seventy billion human beings, homo sapiens sapiens, who have lived and died never heard of the Nonviolent Jesus and His Way and His saving act of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies. How can they be saved by Jesus with the cooperation of those He chooses to be Baptized into Him, to put on the Christ and to trustfully follow His Way by trying to “love as He loves?” I don’t know!

Jesus does not tell humanity how evil ultimately works at root. He does not give humanity a philosophy of evil. He does not even tell humanity how to cope with evil. He tells humanity only how to overcome evil—and that is by loving as He loves, as the God, who is love, loves. If one is spiritually assiduous one can see here and there how Christic love freely chosen does conquer evil in a particular situation. But how it conquers evil per se, the terrible and universal dynamic that haunts every nook and cranny of human existence, on this matter Jesus says not a word. So in trusting faith, emmunah faith, in Him, we have to take His word that it does. The metaphysical mechanism by which Jesus’ act of saving love conquers evil, and each Christian’s choice of such an act of love results in the salvation of all, are beyond description in human language because they take place beyond the domain to which human beings, and hence their languages, have access while living their lives on earth.

But within the realm in which language can authentically communicate, this much can be said. The saving act of love that is incarnated in, taught by and lived by Jesus and mediated to humanity through Jesus is a love that has within it the power of God, indeed God is within it, because the reality God is simply one with His love. It is the infinite mystery of the power of the almighty and eternal God within that act of Christlike love that makes any chosen act of Christlike love salvifically efficacious and of eternally enduring value. It is the living Almighty Eternal I AM, who is love, present in the chosen act that makes it an act that saves, an act of participating in the process of the eternal salvation of one and all.

It was on this day, August 9, in 1942, that Saint Edith Stein (St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce) was murdered by Christians at Auschwitz. On August 9, 1943, Christians in Berlin murdered Blessed Franz Jagerstatter. August 9, 1945, was the day that a Christian B-29 crew, lead by a Catholic man from Boston, murdered forty thousand people, mostly Christians, in Nagasaki. All of the Christians, who did all of this murdering on this date, believed that they were good Christians doing their duty for God and country. And there was no one in the power elites of any of their Churches that communicated to them anything different.

The photograph above is of the melted rosary of Midori Moriyama Nagai, which she had with her at 11:02 A.M. when the people of Nagasaki were cremated alive by a plutonium atomic bomb. Her melted rosary was all that was left of her at 11:03 A.M.

Midori was born into an ancient Japanese Catholic family, the Moriyamas. The family for about 265 years were kakaure kirishitan, “hidden Christians,” who lived secret Christian lives because for this time span (1600-1865) Christianity was an outlawed religion in Japan with torture and death being the consequences of being a Christian. Historically the Moriyamas were the traditional leaders of the kakure kirishitan for seven generations. Midori was fundamentally a mother of a family, although she did lead her future husband, Takashi Nagai, who after the war was known as the “Gandhi of Japan” into Christianity. Except for a small segment of Japanese Catholicism, she, like all those Christians who were murdered by Christians 30,000 feet above them on August 9, 1945, is all but unknown to history and the rest of humanity.

The first atomic bomb in the history of the world was detonated on July 16, 1945, at Trinity Site, deep in the New Mexico desert. It was a plutonium bomb. Major Charles Sweeney, a Catholic man, later to become Major General Charles Sweeney, was the pilot of the plane that dropped the second plutonium bomb ever made on the second civilian population to ever be incinerated by an atomic bomb, Nagasaki. On the 59th anniversary, July 16, 2004, of the explosion of that first plutonium atomic bomb at Trinity Site, Charles Sweeney died in a Boston Hospital.

So now two Christians, Midori Moriyama Nagai and Charles Sweeney, who in this life never came closer to each other than 30,000 feet on August 9, 1945, meet face to face, the murderer and the murdered, in the eternal life in which they both believed. How does the act of saving love by Jesus or subsequent acts of saving love by His disciples save in this situation? Or how does it make any difference when Edith Stein meets her murderers? Or, Franz Jagerstatter his? Or the other 39,999 people murdered at Nagasaki meet Charles Sweeney? I don’t know! What about when Hitler or Stalin or Churchill or “Bomber” Harris meet those upon whom they poured down unrelenting suffering and death? I don’t know!

What I believe is that the Nonviolent Jesus of Nazareth, who teaches by word and deed a Way of Nonviolent Love of friend and enemies as the Will of God, and as the Way God designed to save and restore humanity to the fullness of life forever, is emmunah-worthy. Of course I cannot syllogistically prove my faith in Jesus is God’s choice to be the Messiah of Israel and the Saviour of all humanity. I cannot logically prove that Jesus and His Way are worthy of emmunah. Faith by definition cannot be proved, even the faith of the atheist. All that it is possible to offer to anyone by way of justifying faith in the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels who teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is to suggest that he or she ruminate on and savor, these forty FAST FOOD Helpings and the Person and the Gospels that are their source. The only possible “proof “of the truth of this faith is to encourage a person seeking proof, seeking the truth, that he or she pray to God for clarity of mind and spirit, and then “taste and see” if this is not the Way, the only Way, to be freed oneself and to participate in freeing humanity from the chains of evil, sin, suffering and death forever.

– ECM