The “pro life” priest

Fr. Charlie McCarthy writes about the pro life priest.

Air Force Lt. Col. Douglas Cunningham, a Roman Catholic priest, has a security clearance that allows him to be in the control room during active bombing missions by drone operators killing human beings on the other side of the earth from a clean, well lighted, climate-controlled room about five miles from the Walmart in Syracuse, NY. Since his arrival,

Cunningham has tried to gain the trust of the pilots of the Predator drones so he can see if the stress of switching between dropping bombs and helping their children with homework is starting to wear on them. Cunningham tries to offer some comfort. “I let them know,” Cunningham said, “They are protecting life.” (Brian Bennet, Tribune Washington staff, 7/30/12)

What part of the Sermon the Mount did this poor man miss?


Chaplain not of the gospel but of the empire.




  1. 1

    I’m not sure it’s that simple. Why don’t you post something on the number of Christians getting murdered every day by Muslims? Why not a series of posts on the Church burnings, the death threats, and the killings carried out by Muslim radicals? Once you put things into a bit of context, then we can begin to comment. As I’ve said many times before, you have a very simple worldview. You focus on certain aspects of reality, to the exclusion of other aspects, and that enables you to maintain a simplistic worldview.

  2. 2
    wmgrace Says:

    Your truthful post is a sad commentary on the Catholic church’s silence on militarism and war – but then who actually listens to the Catholic church? Certainly not governments or the military, or the American people, or even a significant number of those who still attend Mass regularly. Such is the state of Catholicism in North America.

    Father Doug (a.k.a. Lt. Col. Douglas Cunningham) claims that he is working closely with God, through the Roman Catholic church, to support and encourage the soldiers who carry out callous and cowardly drone killing, or maiming of other human beings (both combatants and innocent civilians), in distant, war torn regions of the world. According to Father Doug, God sees this remote slaughter as just, and necessary “to protect lives”. Apparently, God sanctions the US military’s killing of Afghans, Iraqis and others including Americans – and anyone else they suspect may be a threat to their national security. Unfortunately for the targets of drone attacks, they do not always know that they are at war with the US and have been condemned to death, in absentia, without a charge or trial.

    If Father Doug had even a trace of empathy, he would understand that the severe stress which results from these egregious drone strikes, is largely on the victims and not the perpetrators. That’s where Father Doug’s heart, presuming he has one, should be. To think otherwise, borders on the delusional

    • 3

      I think it is very strange that a priest is associating himself with this. I’m not sure you have demonstrated that it is immoral, however. It was Al Quaeda who declared war on the West, so there’s no need for a trial. If the drone strikes kill the innocent as side effects, then they are immoral. But let’s face it, whether they are drones or real troops, you’d be opposed because you take a pacifist position. What is revealing, however, is your politically correct stance. You never condemn Muslims for their violence against the innocent, against faithful Catholics who wish to worship in peace. You only respond to American military intervention. Why? Because you are anti-American. You wouldn’t dare say anything against Muslims, radicals or not. You don’t argue on the basis of principle, but on the basis of an ideology you have taken on since the late 60s. That’s it. And you are right, very few listen to the Church, including you. You only listen to the Church when what she says coincides with what you think. But you’ve been sowing seeds of dissent for decades now. People like you share in the responsibility for the current culture of relativism, and you will have to answer for that one day.

      • 4
        wmgrace Says:

        “In theological terms, war is a sin. This has nothing to do with whether a particular war is justified or whether isolated incidents in a soldier’s war were right or wrong. The point is that war as a human enterprise is a matter of sin. It is a form of hatred of ones fellow human beings. It produces alienation from others and nihilism, and it ultimately represents a turning away from God.”

        Rev. William P Mahedy, A Catholic Chaplain in Vietnam, – Out of the Night; The Spiritual Journey of Vietnam Vets

  3. 5

    Why should I embrace William Mahedy’s absolutism over a more balanced relative position? After all, William Mahedy is a member of a dualistic institution and perpetuates the error of dualistic thinking. Here’s another dualism.

    Furthermore, it’s easy to take that view when you are not a victim of unjust aggression, but live in a peaceful country that achieved that peace because some people were willing to fight for it, for future generations. Self-defense is not a sin. Try reading some Romero, who speaks of legitimate self-defense.

  4. 6
    Phil Little Says:

    The question was “What part of the sermon on the mount did this poor man miss?” The answer is of course “Air Force Lt. Col.” Apparently this poor (as in Pathetic) man did the conveyor belt version of the Catholic seminary and then made his fundamental option not for Christ but for “power and prestige” as a tool of the military for which he is amply rewarded. Add to that the blight of nationalism that infects all American children from kindergarten when they start to learn the pledge of alliance and sing the anthem with their hand to their still human hearts. The Church today talks about the “fundamental option” to follow the crucified Jesus, to enter into a world that is disordered and evil, and to announce a new reign of justice and love, respect for all persons not just the home tribe. The Lt. Col. is a sham, or perhaps a shaman of the vicious world of militarism and violence. In mythical language he is working for the other side but wearing the cloth of the preacher man when convenient. The poor man didn’t miss anything, he is simply opposed to it.

  5. 7
    Mark Scibilia-Carver Says:

    Since there is ample evidence that drone strikes (with Hellfire missles) have killed the unborn (along with their mothers and family members), have killed twice as many children as were killed at Sandy Hook in a single strike on a school, have bombed weddings and funerals; the Lt. Col will be asked why he enabled such works of war instead of encouraging the works of mercy. Jesus did not call us to do the works of mercy only if our “enemies” did so first. There is no justification in the Gospel for any killing, through abortion or war. The Lt. Col is against abortion in the US but not in Iraq or Afghanistan so he is not “pro-life” at all.

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