Archive for January 2013

Israeli spooks speak out

January 30, 2013

 

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Explosive would be a good word to use about the new Sundance film The Gatekeepers now showing to big crowds in Israel. an academy award nominee, It is basically appeal to the israeli conscience about the ongoing subjugation of the Palestinian people.

Director Dror Moreh coralled six former members of Israel’s secret police the Shin Bet and they prove that Israel is quite similar to most countries—there are always people of conscience who are prepared to disturb the national consensus.Israel can never be pigeonholed as a nation of thugs.While the Occupation, the grinding daily suffering of the Palestinian people is indeed a deep embarrassment to many citizens, good people are speaking out.This film can only augnment the national conversation.It also has the potential to wake the Jewish diaspora up to what is being done in its name. and what many refuse to see.

Two provocative quotes are as follows: One former Shin Bet director says, “We are making the lives of millions unbearable, into prolonged human suffering, [and] it kills me.” Another states, We’ve become, “a brutal occupation force similar to the Germans in World War II.” Ouch.

According to the great Israeli human rights monitor B’Tselem ,since 2005 at least 48 Palestinians have been killed by live ammunition fired at people throwing stones. Six more were killed by rubber-coated bullets fired at dangerously close range, and two were killed by tear-gas canisters directly fired at protesters.Imagine if these numbers were extrapolated to Canada, another country which prides itself as a serious democracy where the rule of law reigns.

On the surface the film seems incomprehensible. Six former directors of a secret spy agency bare all. But these men are humane citizens, extremely concerned about the future of their country.For these men iut wa not a big deal.Many,many Israelis are very concerned about the present road the  state is going down.Director Moreh went to considerable lengths when interviewed by Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman and Aaron Maté to insist that the Israelis are not the only “bad guys” here. A point worh making,The Occupation has produced horrible responses, the killing of innocents.It must also ve said rthat the state terrorism and its apparatus has overwhelming power and that this is the primary violence

Moreh simply can not argue with some of the statements made by these former directord.Avraham Shalom for example says basically”[We’ve become] a brutal occupation force similar to the Germans in World War II. “We have become cruel, to ourselves as well, but mainly to the occupied population, using the excuse of the war against terror.”

Avraham shalom a Shin Bet director who was forced to resign after an ugly incident raise dthe question about the culpability of the Prime Minister—in this case Yitzhak Shamir whose modus operandi was, “Look I don’t want to know anything” and then Shalom was the one whose head rolled.The irony jere is that Shamir was a “terrorist” himslf a member of the out of control stern Gang who murdered civilians.

Following the firing od shalom Shamir and Peres who followined him as PM tried desperately to keep knowlege of Shin Bet’s dirty tricks out of publ;ic view.They failed and this speaks well of Israel’s democratic trhust.

Two Directors spoke of the Israeli lunatic fringe whose attempts to blow up Islam’s third holiest shrine the Dome of the Rock was thwarted. As was a plan to murder arie sharon, himself one of the biggest Arab-haters in Israel.This would have been catastrophic for the global community.

Film director Moreh who has little time for Israeli PM Netanyahu pointed out that the recent Israeli election showed how Israelis rejected Netanyahu’s move to the right but he made no bones about the ugly role of the settlers

They are the biggest obstacle to the peace process, to maintain or to continue. And I think this is the most largest and most influential and most powerful group in Israeli politics. They’re basically dictating the policy of Israel in the last years. I think that definitely for the Palestinians, the settlements are the worst enemy in the way—in their way to the homeland. When they see everywhere, in Judea and Samaria now, the settlements that are built like mushroom after rain, they see how their country is shrinking.

Dror Moreh makes a good point when he says that it is quite hopeful and indeed amazing that a country of only seven million people can produce two films on the occupation.The prophetic can never be stilled.

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The other Israeli film , Five Broken Cameras is also Oscar nominated. Already previewed around Toronto, this shows the absolute nonviolent tenacity of Palestinian Emad Burnat as he attempts to film around the military occupation of his town Bil’in. The result— five smashed cameras courtesy of the Israeli Defense Force. This film is slated for world wide distribution

The artist is always ahead of the people.

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The Gatekeepers: Inside the Shin Bet of Israel

January 29, 2013

The Sundance Film Festival has a great reputation for breaking important new films.Some are so good that they actually make it to mainstream movie houses! Films in North America by and large are escapist fare, mind candy part of the pacification process we undergo on a regular basis. Huxley called them “feelies”—no need to think! Nevertheless, Michael Moore, a modern parabolist in the Catholic sacramental tradition, has shown that truth-telling can often appear in different media and penetrate the smog of distraction. Fahrenheit 9/11 profoundly shook the Bush administration much like Picasso’s Guernica kept Franco’s fascists awake at midnight.

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One of the stunning films doing banner business in Israel is the Gatekeepers, a shockingly candid portrait of Israel’s secret police,the Shin Bet, a virtual combo of the FBI and the CIA.This exposé has migrated from small art houses to big screens in Israel. Hopefully, it might do the same in North America, the population of which is blissfully unaware of the brutal lengths Israel has gone to suppress a Palestinian state.

While it is true that Israel in all global surveys has become a pariah state, there are vibrant democratic impulses bubbling up there. One of the truly great organizations is B’Tselem, a wonderful human rights group which is indefatigable monitoring the ongoing occupation.

On January 28 B’Tselem a report saying Israeli forces have been “extensively and systematically” violating their own rules of engagement when suppressing protests in the West Bank, in many cases leading to Palestinian deaths. According to B’Tselem, since 2005 at least 48 Palestinians have been killed by live ammunition fired at people throwing stones. Six more were killed by rubber-coated bullets fired at dangerously close range, and two were killed by tear-gas canisters directly fired at protesters.

Which brings us to the documentary showing at Sundance.

What is extraordinary is that filmmaker Dror Moreh assembled sic former directors of  the Shin Bet and allowed them to express their serious misgivings about the ruthless extent of Israeli oppression. Bear in mind, these are not peace  activists or crusading journalists or even those soldiers from Breaking the Silence, who have refused to serve in the Occupied Terrirories.These are men who have served the state and who are expressing qualms of conscience over the “dirty work” they performed.All of them have little time for an occupation corroding the Israeli soul and less time for the encroaching settlements which are making a Palestinian state virtually impossible.

Director Mrek in an interview on Democracy Now expressed his hope that President Obama now would do the right thing and tell Israel to shape up or he will turn off the tap.The tap presently runs at $3 billion a year  and $115 billion since the state was formed.

More tomorrow.

The Irish Inquisition

January 24, 2013

Domination requires certitude as a central aspect of its  will-to-power.The dominator provides a set of answers which are neither open to interpretation nor question,There is no truth other than the the truth delivered on high all of which we associate with imperialist government and tyrannical dictatorships, but in fact it is extensively practiced by the governing bodies operating within our democratic and ecclesiastical institutions.

Walter Brueggemann

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Irish Redemptorist priest Tony Flannery is the latest to be mugged by Rome for his commonsensical views on the neuralgic ecclesial issues of women priests, homosexuality etc. The popular priest was silenced a year ago after his articles appeared in the order’s  well named magazine REALITY. As with  the exiled Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois, Flannery  was supported by the rank and file of his order.It must be noted that he is a key member of the Association of Catholic Priests, a support group which the bishops of Ireland refuse to meet. And the CDF in Rome refuse to meet with Flannery.

This all seems like  a page out of Franz Kafka. Can the Roman Catholic Church in “the land of the saints” get more dysfunctional?

The Redemptorists said “we do understand and support his efforts to listen carefully to and at times to articulate the views of people he encounters in the course of his ministry”. These views it must be stated  are matters of discipline and Church governance.They have nothing to do with the cardinal teachings of the Church. Flannery was simply expressing the deep seated beliefs of the “sensus fidelium”—views  which apparently are verboten in Rome. any challenge to this absolutism is met with the hoary chestnut RELATIVISM.

A  priest of 40 years, Flannery’s  punishment (and who can disagree with him?) is “frightening, disproportionate and reminiscent of the Inquisition.”

Rome seems ready to chop the heads off some of their most respected priests to defend what most believers see as outmoded teaching, out of synch with “the signs of the times” and a deeper understanding of homosexuality.For these Flannery was threatened with excommunication. No discussion. No face to face meeting. No dialogue. Just get out. More reminiscent of Pilate than Jesus.

Flannery’s travail is front page news in Ireland and if judging from the letters to the Irish Times, the “faithful” are not buying it. Soline Humbert for example writes from Dublin:

No priest has been excommunicated for the rape of children, nor has any bishop or cardinal for covering up those crimes.

Fr Tony Flannery, however, is being threatened with excommunication for speaking on the possibility of women priests (Front page and Opinion, January 21st). This is not the Good News of Jesus Christ, but more bad news from an institution drunk on power and bereft of genuine spiritual authority. The church,the people of God, deserves better.Time to listen to the Spirit and stand up and together for a long overdue change. Our liberation is at hand! 

Stay tuned for updates on this lamentable situation.

 

Sexism still abounds

January 21, 2013

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As we know by now the great priest Maryknoller Roy Bourgeois was unceremoniously tossed out of the Roman Catholic church for daring to suggest that women should be ordained. Many years ago when asked about this flagrant discrimination Bishop Tom Gumbleton of Detroit put the question into a theological category. The failure to allow women to have all seven sacraments “is a sin.” It is that simple. It is against the values of the reign of God that all people are absolutely equal, all are one in Christ. To perpetuate such exclusion is simply wrong; to do it in the name of Jesus and his reign is a scandal.

Misogyny however is not peculiar to the Roman Catholic Church.It has, like slavery before,  a long and inglorious run in many religions and Christian denominations .Thankfully history has caught up with the societal prejudice called sexism. This was merely one of “the signs of times” which the great pope John XXlll alluded to in the middle of the Vatican Council. In acknowledging this, Pope John was prophetic.

The past 50 years has seen  a growing acceptance of this truth. Women have slowly taken their place as leaders in many fields.though few would maintain there is absolute equality. Nevertheless there has been great strides made here. Most of the Christian denominations have female priests for example but some still fight a rearguard action. Included in this group is the Southern Baptist Convention.This led former US president Jimmy Carter to sever ties. In a recent article Carter said that “ the Convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.” The devout Christian Carter has now cut ties in a public manner. He states the obvious:

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us.

Carter now is part of a global group called  the Elders. In part their message is to leaders in religion:

We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasize the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.

Jimmy Carter makes the obvious plea for gender justice, the very same plea which got Fr.Roy Bourgeois expelled from the Catholic priesthood,

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Sadly the oldest Christian denomination is still stuck.

Dysfunctional leadership in Irish Church

January 18, 2013

 

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Fr. Brendan Hoban concludes his article on the absolutely stunning refusal of the Irish hierarchy to meet with its own priests.For most thinking people, the failure of any organization to meet with its key workers would be suicidal. For Christians who hold dialogue tobe the sine qua non of institutional health, this is simply incredible.Fr. Hoban continues:

So our church leaders – Archbishop Martin, the other bishops, the Papal Nuncio – should be opening up avenues of communication with the Irish clergy not closing them down, as if we are irrelevant or have nothing to say in these critical times. If we have learned anything in Ireland in the nightmare of the last few decades, surely it is that the Church loses out if discordant voices, especially those who love the Church, are not unambiguously cherished.

Hoban’s principled words are a cri de coeur from a loyal servant of the Gospel.The  irish hierarch will do nothing to Fr. Hoban because he has 1000 brother priests in his corner. The question begs to be asked where id the collective nerve and organization of Canadian prelates who timorously soldier on in their own bailiwicks but who will not tell the same thing to their own archbishops, many by the way who agree with them.

When the great Australian bishop Geoff Robinson  visited Toronto two years ago he told me of the enormous pressure the Vatican puts on bishops to  act as an outpost of an ecclesial empire and to follow orders with no questions asked. In today’s church  this means to basically agree to turn the clock back on Vatican ll. This is  happening in diocese after diocese. Pliant acolytes chosen for their servility and absolute loyalty to Rome dutifully carry out orders. All this reminds me of the words of Cardinal Suenens in the 60s: “Prudence is everywhere, courage is nowhere, and we shall all die of wisdom.”

Hoban boldly stated that the institutional leadership is simply going in the wrong direction.

And, more importantly, we believe that the present official template for reforming it is at variance with the views, opinions, needs and wishes of the vast majority of priests and people in Ireland today. 

The author like many Catholics is simply dumbfounded:

Why, with the Irish Catholic Church imploding around us, can’t the leaders of our Church, worried no doubt like the rest of us about the very future of our Church in Ireland, bring themselves to speak to an association that represents more than 1000 priests? I can’t understand why that’s the case.

Catholic Ireland in turmoil pt 1

January 17, 2013

 

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Brendan Hoban,an Irish priest and author of 40 years standing wrote an article on the website of the  Irish priests  http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie entitled “The Church should listen to its priests”. Well, yes you might say this makes infinite sense—until you understand the unbelievable dysfunctionality of the institutional church virtually worldwide.

It is difficult to grasp that the supposed leaders (bishops) are refusing to meet with their pastors, the ones presently struggling to revive the “old faith” in the most Catholic country of all, Ireland.

The Association now comprising 1,000 priests was formed two years ago, I presume, for the simple reason that bishops can easily pick off anybody they term a “dissident” if he stands alone.Well the priests are smart.They know as the old saw says, “You either hang together or you’ll hang alone.

Well the priests are raising issues that the Yes men imposed from Rome, the local ordinaries (in this case Diarmuid Martin who spent most of his priestly life as a diplomat) prefer not to hear. As Hoban says “priests know (or if they don’t know, believe) that what a bishop usually wants is not a discussion but agreement with an established position. It’s hard to blame priests for this.”

Martin does not want to face the music of the real issues bedevelling Rome—a new sexual ethic, celibacy, the role of women, church governance etc. These issues according to the archbishop are “negative polemics.”

Hoban rightly dismisses Martin’s comments

Leaving aside the fact that the right and the responsibility of priests and people to bring matters of serious pastoral concern to the attention of church leaders is enshrined in church law – Canon 212, No. 3: ‘the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church’ –is Archbishop Martin seriously suggesting that surfacing these issues is more damaging to the Irish priesthood than not discussing them?

A few years ago Martin criticized the silence of the episcopacy when the sexual abuse which roiled through the Irish church was covered up. Hoban asks:

Is he now suggesting that Irish priests should be silent even though they can see what’s happening in parishes and dioceses all over Ireland? If bishops were wrong to be silent, why are priests being ‘negative’ and ‘polemical’ if they speak out as church law demands? Or was it a case of, that was then, this is now?

Hoban states the obvious:

So Irish priests need to be actively encouraged to name our truth, not encouraged to keep our silence. We need to be given space to say our piece, to communicate that bit of wisdom that is the result of mature and prayerful reflection on our long experience of and love for the Irish Church.

Brendan Hoban speaks courageously for the right of Irish priests to be heard,consulted and listened to. What of the 99% of the Church who are lay and studiously ignored in major see after major see? This is a mjor stumbling block for the universal Catholic church—the failure to hear the Spirit speaking in the people the clerics are sworn to serve.

Part 2 tomorrow,

Oliver Stone, a brave truth-teller

January 15, 2013

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Oliver Stone’s riveting SHOWTIME series on TMN may send Americans into permanent shock. Last week’s episode seven stunned me.I honestly never thought I’d see such truth telling amid the ephemera of American television.

This episode covered LBJ, Nixon and the Vietnam War years. The lies, deceitand American barbarism was not new to those who seriously read history.Television and the age of spectacle however has totally dumbed down Americans, the most under-read and best entertained people in the world. Most have lived in a permanent bubble about the shocking behaviour of their country. In 1967 Martin Luther King Jr correctly named the United States as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world’. The great American historians people like   William Appleman Williams, Gabriel Kolko,Howard Zinn and the prescient documentarians of  the hubris of empire—Noam Chomsky, William Blum, I.F Stone, James Douglass, Seymour Hersh have  laid out the depredations of the US empire for decades.Episode 7 shown twice last week again on TMN dealt with the Vietnam era.It was breathtaking in its veracity and candor. Stone has done his homework. All is vetted by historian Peter Kuznick and impeccably documented.

A few snippets:

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First, the shocking devastation of Vietnam—3.4 million dead Vietnamese (Robert McNamara’s  and Harvard Medical school’s estimation of which 2 million were civilians).As Nick Turse the author of the recent Kill Anything  That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam recently wrote,” The numbers are staggering, the suffering incalculable, the misery almost incomprehensible to most Americans but not, perhaps, to an Iraqi.”

More bombs dropped on a country the size of Nova Scotia than WW ll, the constant lying, the hubris of LBJ thinking that  the callous bombing would win the war, add the parallel destruction of Cambodia where  hundreds of thousands killed  all of which aided the recruitment  and fanaticism of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot. Then there was the Nobel Prize offered Kissinger, the same one North Vietnam’s Le Doc Tho refused to accept. After hearing of the former’s  honour the brilliant satirist Tom Lehrer said “awarding  Henry Kissinger the Nobel Prize made political satire obsolete.” He never performed again. And America has never apologized for Vietnam.

Then there was American support of Pinochet’s subversion of Chile’s democracy, the rise of the Latin American death squads, the training of brutal Latino soldiers at the School of Americas in Ft.Benning, Georgia.

it is all too much…the beacon of democracy, the country which threw off empire ended up a bloated empire herself always siding with the plutocrats and entrenched wealth of the Third World —and then electing Ronald Reagan,the simpleton  who made Americans feel good after Vietnam.His support of brutal dictatorships in Central America  spelt death to hundreds of thousands in Central America. stone documents it all.It was good to see him flag the mania of uber-Catholic william Casey in this unconscionable bloodfest.

The aforementioned Turse was closest to the mark when he said, “There has been one connecting thread in Washington’s foreign wars of the last half century that, in recent years at least, Americans have seldom found of the slightest interest: misery for local nationals.”

Herein lies the greatness of those principled prophets of the 60s and 70s who as Americans had a larger view of the mass murder in the rice fields of Vietnam. Oliver Stone flashes the figures of the Berrigan brothers who among others deeply understood the suffering in the wider Body of Christ

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They paid a great price for their resistance while the majority sat on their hands and did nothing, said nothing and waved flags.

Brainwashed Americans, raised on generations of  american exceptionalism and  Yankee  beneficence could not countenance the awful truth that their country was an avaricious monster on the global stage.The myth had consumed them.

One of their earliest presidents John Adams knew better. Nations, he said,  have an infinite capacity to delude themselves; their leaders  are prone to lie in the service of empire.” Power” he said,”always thinks… that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all his laws.”

Oliver Stone has done a major service for his fellow citizens. He has unmasked the  lies which have festered too long.

Damn that jazz music!

January 14, 2013

 

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According to the biographers (Smith and Guttridge) of the great jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden there was a spontaneous revulsion against dancing to the new hot jazz in the 20s. Similar reactions of course appeared with the advent of rock and roll.The latter is easily documented, but the jazz age references  caught me flat footed.

One of the leaders apparently was a man  named J. Louis Guyon, the owner of the biggest dance hall in Chicago. He was shocked as he surveyed  the dance floor and watched young people in close embrace with “limbs intertwined and torsos in close contact.”

Mr. Guyon went on. “Add to this position the wriggling movements and  and the sensual stimulation of the abominable jazz orchestra with its voodoo-born minors and its direct appeal to the sensory centres, and if you believe that youth is the same after the  experience as before, the God help your child.”

Dance teachers were similarly incensed.

Fenton T. Bolt, director of dance reform of the National Association of Dancing Masters opined that “The jazz is too often  followed by the joy ride. The lower nature is stirred up as a prelude to  unchaperoned adventure.”

Mr Bott went so far as to release a book with approved  dancing positions..some cities even hired police to supervise dances—surely a precursor to the Catholic nuns who patrolled balconies  with warning bells when swains got too close to their female partners.There was  a concerted effort to dampen ardor and squelch the influence of “vulgar music.” My friend Carmen Bush told me of an incident here in Toronto in 1927 when the great Duke Ellington came to the old Pantages Theatre on Yonge street near Dundas. Carmen had skipped school at Del Bond and sat through several sets of the Duke .During one performance two ladies bolted with a loud exclamation condemning this “jungle music.”

In Philadelphia the city hired one Marguerite Walz to instruct 75 policemen to prevent “abdominal contact”, in particular the “Washington Johnny, “in which the legs are spread apart.”

Maybe British novelist had it right when he described rock and roll dancing as “a navel engagement without semen.”

Or maybe the Baptists did when they warned that sex might lead to rock and roll dancing.

Or maybe the gnostics and Augustine spooked us with warnings about the body.

The incarnation sure is messy.

Cardinal Collins and Conrad Black

January 13, 2013

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The Thomas More Lawyers Guild of Toronto invites you to celebrate the 89th Annual Red Mass to mark the Opening of Ontario’s Courts

October 3, 2013

Celebrant and homilist: His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto

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Mass: 5:00 pm

Place: St. Michael’s Cathedral, 65 Bond Street

Reception and Dinner:

Guest Speaker: Conrad Black

Time: 6:15pm

Location: TBA

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The first step on the road to redemption?

The flag and the cross

January 10, 2013

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It is common ecclesial wisdom that Catholicism made a wrong turn under Constantine in 312 CE. The “ilicita religio” became the preferred religion of the state. The hunted, despised and marginalized now became the chosen—not for any religious reasons but because the cynical mad emperor Constantine wanted some glue to bind the Roman Empire. So the religion or rather “the Way” of the nonviolent Jesus was cynically used for political purposes. The Church soon got to enjoy its new privileges and the dynamic “faith” of the early followers now became “belief” in the new arrangement. The rule of compassion and justice was diluted to tepid notional “beliefs.” The hierarchs adopted the regalia of the empire—and we still see miters, croziers, birettas, fancy vestments on what the Irish writer Colm Toibin called “flutterers”.

History is replete with the struggle between the church as a powerful institution and a genuine servant community known for its humility—back and forth the Crusades, Francis and Clare, Dominic, Ignatius, the Borgias, Religious wars.

And still the Church often does not get it. How often in American churches do you see the flag on the altar? The gospel is full value; nations have no values, only interests. Ever since Columbus planted the flag of Spain in the western hemisphere and dropped to his knees in prayer, country after country has attempted and often succeeded in co-opting religion. Maybe the worst was the inscription on the belts of the Wehrmacht—Gott sei mit uns. God is with us.

Read the following piece from Melkite priest Charlie McCarthy.

Madeleine Albright—she of the infamous statement: “The death of 4000,000 innocent children in Iraq seems worth it to me”—has been invited, at incredible expense, to a Catholic High School in Worcester, Massachusetts. On January 23rd. She will give a lecture on ethics to the students, their families, the faculty, the alumni, and members of the general public. Thus, the Orwellian absurdity of the institutional U.S. Catholic Church—from bishops on down—having turned Catholicism, American-style, into a moral authenticator, in Jesus’ name, of all things U.S. military—has reached, yet, new lows in proclaiming by deed its and the U. S. Government’s Orwellian Gospel. By “Orwellian absurdity” is meant the deceitful, illogical, and murderous spirit, of the Bushes, Cheneys, Rumsfelds, Wolfowitzes, Perles, Feiths, Obamas, Bidens, Emanuels, Brennens, Kerrys, etc., etc., etc. It is not a spirit taken from the teachings of Jesus. Although, the present group of U.S. Bishops are most comfortable participating in it. It is a spirit that is explicitly condemned—over and over and over again—in the New Testament. It is a spirit taken from the original motto of the Israeli Mossad: “By way of deception, thou shalt make war.” (Don’t be fooled by the deceptive, revisionist effort now going on via the Internet to rewrite, reinterpret, and sanitize the motto and the doings of this organization: This is the Mossad’s motto and modus operandi.)

But the Mossad is by no means the original and sole practitioner of the actions this motto implies, rationalizes, and justifies. Centuries before Jesus, China’s Sun Tzu wrote this in his Art of War: “All warfare is based on deception.” And, as we all know, as surely as we know that the sun rises in the east: “Truth is the first casualty of war.” More recently, Joseph Goebbels, Chief Minister of Nazi Propaganda, wrote this: “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” And this, from Richard Salent, former President of CBS: “Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have.”

 

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My concern at the moment, however, is not with the Bushes and Obamas and their inured-to-murder financial and political cronies. My concern is with the bishops of the Catholic Church in the U.S., in which church I was baptized into Christ seventy-two years—and ten U.S wars—ago. By what understanding of the teachings of Jesus are you morally carrying on as you have been morally carrying on, since the Feast of St. Joseph in 2003, as the people whose spiritual care is your moral responsibility have, by the hundreds of thousands, gone to far-away lands to murder and maim men, women, and children by the millions? What is wrong with you? What has taken such an iron hold on your minds, your consciences, your wills, and your hearts? There is absolutely no possibility of non-culpable ignorance here. You are all academically bright and street-smart men; you have had long years of training and evaluation by others. And yet you are buying into, and morally supporting in no uncertain terms, nothing less than mass deception and mass murder by the U.S Government. You are not only buying into it; you are acting in overt and covert moral complicity with it: For he who supports a grave evil or is silent about a grave evil about which he has a moral duty to speak, thereby morally justifies that evil, and hence fosters it. Or, more pithily as stated by the Catholic Biblical Scholar, Rev. John L. McKenzie, “Scripture teaches that where more is expected, silence is sinful.” 

 

You are morally permitting yourselves to become part of the spiritual and moral deception that is nurturing and leading young Catholic boys and girls into the desire—even the need—to participate in the “glories” of war’s butcheries because they are being told that “our cause is true.” Look how you have symbolically and practically militarized Catholic schools, parishes, youth gatherings, the diaconate, the priesthood, pulpits, weekly diocesan newspapers, Christian religious education, etc. There is no area of the institutional U.S. Catholic Church that you have not exploited as a support system for the U.S, military—and what it—and those who control it—are about. 

You also know that you, as a Catholic and a follower of Jesus, possess absolutely no moral right—as a bishop or as a Catholic—to justify deception that leads your fellow Catholics into a war based on nothing but deception. Have you not heard, or do you not take seriously, your duty to make sure that those in your spiritual and moral care have truthfully informed Catholic consciences? You know that not a single one of these years of war-by-deception is remotely justifiable, even under that minimalist standard of Catholic morality called the Catholic Just War Theory. I emphasize Catholic here because, in the context of traditional Catholic Natural Law Moral Theology Just War Theory, a Catholic bishop has no commission nor authority to practice, teach, or proclaim any of the profusion just war theories—concerning when it is morally acceptable to kill a human being—coming out of Harvard’s Divinity School, Princeton’s Theological Institute, or Stanford’s Hoover Institute.

Most of these just war theories also logically permit, as justified homicide, the murder of the innocent child in the womb as well as the murder of innocent children outside the womb. They are the just war theories on which the Albrights, Clintons, Rices, Bushes, Bidens, and Obamas hang their hats when they want to kill indiscriminately. From the perspective of the Catholic Church, most are objectively, gravely, and intrinsically evil. Not one is in conformity with governing principle of Catholic Moral Theology. No Catholic, let alone Catholic bishops, can morally subscribe to them. Although many years ago I read in the Archdiocese of Boston weekly newspaper, The Pilot, which had recently published an article by Gordon Zahn on some aspect of traditional Catholic unjust/just war theory which a then auxiliary Bishop and now a big-time-player Bishop in the USCCB wrote justifying what was for all purposes preemptive war. The Bishop’s public response in writing to Zahn in the next week’s Pilot, remembering it is written in an official Catholic paper and is coming from a Catholic Bishop, was chilling and dead wrong in the extreme, which is why I remember it verbatim: “What is good enough for Paul Ramsey is good enough for me.”

To have Madeleine Albright at St. John’s Catholic High School in Worcester, MA is but another moment in the ten-year (at least), long-term propaganda effort designed to bring the present orgy of murderous U.S. militarism–and its defiance of everything Jesus taught about God and God’s will—into the Church, and to present it, essentially and ultimately, as normative for Catholics.

Emmanuel Charles McCarthy 

P.S.

A note of some significance:

In the spring of 2012, the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts demanded that a Catholic college in his Diocese “dis-invite” Victoria Reggie Kennedy, wife of the late Massachusetts Senator, Edward M. Kennedy, from delivering the Commencement address because of her pro-choice views on domestic government policy. Madeleine Albright’s views on abortion are the same, if not worse, according to the traditional standards of Catholic Moral Theology. I say even worse because Madeleine Albright castigated George W. Bush for not sending U.S. taxpayers’ dollars overseas to abort children in foreign countries. Yet this same Catholic bishop has not demanded that Ms. Albright be “dis-invited” from delivering her lecture on ethics at St. John’s Catholic High School. Of course, her disregard for the destruction lives of innocent children outside the womb, in direct contradiction of traditional Catholic Moral Theology, is also well documented. With such a moral track record, one would think she would be three times as morally obnoxious to the Catholic Bishop of Worcester as is Mrs. Kennedy. But for some strange reason, that appears not to be the case! Go figure. But the math really is not that hard to do, is it?

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