The flag and the cross

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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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2 Comments »

  1. 1
    wmgrace Says:

    For anyone wanting to see what the US defense budget looks like compared to 12 or so other nations (it exceeds their combined total of $711 billion) there is a handy graphic available in Slate magazine. Got there through MaryMcGivern in NCR today.

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/theres-always-money-defense-budget


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