Dualism haunts Christians

100 days before the horrendous  bombing of Iraq began 10 years ago, the actor Sean Penn flew into Baghdad and was quoted “As a father, an actor, a filmmaker and a patriot, my visit to Iraq is for me a natural extension of my obligation (at least attempt) to find my own voice on matters of conscience.”

He was pilloried by the US press.

In his just released book The  Iraq War: Among World’s Worst Events writer David Swanson puts the calamity in shocking context:

As documented below, by the most scientifically respected measures available, Iraq lost 1.4 million lives as a result of OIL, saw 4.2 million additional people injured, and 4.5 million people become refugees. The 1.4 million dead was 5% of the population. 


Prior to this, the US embargo had starved 500,000 million children to death and in a notorious interview (May 12,1996) US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in a  chilling statement which has come to haunt her said, “We think the price is worth it.”

In 2003 15 million people marched against this evil and  cried out NO. They were ignored by the Christian president.

Here was the Vox Dei living among the people proclaiming with their voices and their feet, “this is a  sacrilege”

We remember a smattering of Catholics in the march that bitterly cold day.

There were no bishops and no parish priests.

The John Paul ll bishops saw this a secular event.They were absent. Their concerns were ecclesial—much like today. They were the victims of a terrible dualism, in this case sacred/secular. God is primarily found in “holy places” like churches.

They were and are dead wrong.

The Iraqi children like those of the sex abuse scandal were ignored in the name of ecclesial concerns. They like the wounded man on the road to Jericho were left  to languish  as the clerics headed off to the Temple to do “holy things.”

The pagan Samaritan like the unbelievers who marched against the ugly war carried the energy of the Holy Spirit. they were in touch with the cosmic sacred story. The language  was unimportant.something deep inside of them spoke, “I am commanded, therefore I am.”

It should be easier for Christians steepd in the holy story to feel this.



  1. 1

    Lovely column. Passionate with the passion of the prophets.
    R Ganley

  2. 2
    wmgrace Says:

    In 2003 15 million people marched against this evil and cried out NO. They were ignored by the Christian president.

    “Christian president” – the sarcasm is very effective here.

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