Category Archives: Study

Political resources, informational items, and things that work to keep each other “in the know” with the facts.

Bombing Syria Will Not Create Peace

An Official Statement from Pax Christi USA

Hate begets hate. Violence begets violence.


The years of war and the recent tragedies in Syria are heartbreaking. The tortuous deaths caused by chemical weapons are another example of the depths of human depravity.

War and preparations for war accomplish nothing. The President’s decision to violate international law by this act of aggression, along with a lack of consultation from Congress, to launch missile attacks on Syria in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons, adds to the years of crushing hardship experienced by the Syrian people. The solution to war is not more war. Retaliation will not bring justice or peace but only perpetuates death and injustice.

The trauma of war creates short and long term consequences that are the deepest pain human beings can experience. The immediate horror of losing loved ones to the long-term consequences that destroy the bodies, spirits, and psyches of human beings are tragic for individuals and for society. The environmental impact of war is passed on for future generations.

Pope Francis said, “I appeal to the conscience of those with political responsibility both locally and internationally to cease this tragedy and bring relief to that dear population that for too long has been exhausted by war.”

Pax Christi USA believes that peace comes with justice. Voters with political responsibility have the great ability to influence situations and policies that create justice, and consequently, peace, and clearly, sending drones and missiles into Syria is a decision that promotes neither justice nor peace.

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Pope says NONVIOLENCE is the only response to a world at war

August 26, 2016

For his annual message for the World Day of Peace, which on Jan. 1st will mark it’s 50th Anniversary, Pope Francis has chosen nonviolence as the only effective response to what he’s repeatedly described as a ‘Third World War in Pieces’.


ROME- Facing a cascade of bloodshed around the world, including wars in Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine, a six-decade civil conflict in Colombia, the rise of fundamentalist movements throughout the Middle East, northern Africa and the Philippines, and a seemingly endless string of terrorist attacks, Pope Francis on Friday called for a non-violent response.

“Non-Violence: A Style of Politics for Peace” is the theme chosen by Francis for his yearly message for the Church-sponsored World Day of Peace, which will be held on January 1.

According to a Vatican statement summarizing the pope’s approach, non-violence, when understood as a political method based on safeguarding the rights and equal dignity of all, “without any discrimination and distinction,” can overcome armed conflict.

“In this perspective, it becomes important to increasingly recognize not the right of force, but the force of right,” said the statement released on Friday.

Although this will be Francis’ fourth message for a World Day of Peace, it has special significance because it marks the 50th anniversary of the World Day of Peace, an annual launched by Pope Paul VI.

The message will be sent to all foreign ministries around the world, signaling the Vatican’s top diplomatic concerns for 2017.

“Violence and Peace are at the origin of two opposite ways to building society,” Friday’s statement said. “The proliferation of hotbeds of violence produces most serious negative social consequences.”

“Peace, by contrast, promotes social positive consequences and it allows the achievement of real progress,” the statement says.

Pope Francis has often spoken of a “Third World War in Pieces,” referring to the many sprouts of violence and active wars around the globe. Taking into consideration only the four bloodiest ongoing conflicts, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Nigeria, close to 90,000 people were killed in 2015 as a direct result of fighting.

This number doesn’t include those who died trying to reach a safer place, nor those who died of war-related starvation or lack of health care.

Often seen as a short summary of what will be a several-page papal message, the statement released on Friday called for “negotiated ways of peace” even when they seem “tortuous and impractical.”

Thus, non-violence “will not only consist of desire, of moral rejection of violence, barriers, destructive impulses, but also of a realistic political method that gives rise to hope.”

Among other things, in the message to be released at a future date but before Jan. 1st, Francis is expected to show “a path of hope,” calling for the settlement of disputes to be reached through negotiation instead of armed conflicts, overcoming a sense of superiority from one nation over the other.

He’s also bound to call for an end of illegal arms trafficking, something he’s done many times before.

Non-violence, however, “does not mean that one nation can remain indifferent to the tragedies of another. Rather it means a recognition of the primacy of diplomacy over the noise of arms,” the statement said.

Previous themes chosen by Francis for the annual peace message include this years’ “Overcome Indifference and Win Peace,” and 2015’s “No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters.”

In the one for 2016, the pontiff listed many of the world’s conflicts, but he also described some rays of hope, including the Paris’ agreement on climate change, interreligious dialogue, and his own Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“Sadly, war and terrorism, accompanied by kidnapping, ethnic or religious persecution, and the misuse of power marked the past year from start to finish,” Francis said. Yet, he added, some events of 2015 inspire him “to encourage everyone not to lose hope in our human ability to conquer evil and to combat resignation and indifference.”

The eight-page document was a call not to lose faith in mankind because “God does not abandon us,” while appealing to civil society to take care of its most vulnerable members: prisoners, migrants, the unemployed, the infirm, and the unborn.

“Peace is both God’s gift and a human achievement,” Francis wrote.

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PCM Statement on Gun Violence

stop_handgunsSignificantly more deaths from gun violence occur each year in the United States than any other developed nation in the world. A February 2016 American Journal of Medicine study reveals that, with 10.2 deaths from firearms per 100,000 citizens in 2010, the U.S. suffered nearly three times the rate of fatalities as any other country in the study. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence estimates that between 2009 and 2013 nearly 109,000 people were shot in the U.S. each year, with an average of 32,964 dying from their wounds annually, including 2,624 children and teens. The effective lack of restrictions on access to guns contributes to gun violence. The Washington Post reports that Americans now own an astonishing 112.6 guns per 100 citizens, compared to the worldwide average of just 10.2 guns per 100 persons.

Numerous mass shootings have scarred the American landscape: Sandy Hook, Columbine, Orlando, San Bernardino, Charleston, Aurora and Virginia Tech are among the communities where innocent lives have been lost. After each devastating incident, gun advocates and their primary spokesman, National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre, respond by calling for more guns and fewer gun safety laws, and by accusing those calling for greater gun safety of “politicizing” tragedy. Hopes for reasonable federal gun control legislation are stymied with Congress effectively “bought off” by the NRA, with $650,000 in donations to members of Congress in the 2012 election, and over $808,000 in 2014.

Special mention must be made of what Pax Christi USA, in its July 2016 Statement on Racial Violence in the U.S. calls “a crisis of racism and fear – political and media sources brand certain people as presumptive enemies. Our uncivil political rhetoric, amplified by the media, reinforces the fear of whole groups of people: young black men, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community. This only serves to fan racism, bigotry and the ‘blaming of victims’ of impoverishment and marginalization.” It is essential to involve such marginalized communities in the search for solutions to gun violence.

The Hebrew prophets repeatedly warned against idolatry; as a prime example, placing trust in weapons. “God will judge between nations and render decisions for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation will not lift up the sword against another, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4). In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism posed the question, “Is the need for sensible gun-control a religious issue?” Its Director, Rabbi David Saperstein answered, drawing on the same prophetic tradition of his faith: “You bet it is. The indiscriminate distribution of guns is an offense against God and humanity. Our gun-flooded, violence prone society has turned weapons into idols. And the appropriate religious response to idolatry is sustained moral outrage.”

The Catholic Church has, as the American bishops remind us, “… been a consistent voice for the promotion of peace at home and around the world and a strong advocate for the reasonable regulation of firearms.” In his January 1, 2014 World Day of Peace message, Pope Francis proclaimed, “I appeal forcefully to all those who sow violence and death by force of arms: in the person you today see simply as an enemy to be beaten, discover rather your brother or sister, and hold back your hand! Give up the way of arms and go out to meet the other in dialogue, pardon and reconciliation, in order to rebuild justice, trust, and hope around you!”

Pax Christi Michigan agrees that “reasonable regulation of firearms” is urgently needed, and long overdue. Specifically, we advocate comprehensive federal legislation that would:

  1. Require universal background checks on all prospective firearms and ammunition purchasers, including at gun shows and on private in-person or online gun sales;
  2. Require a waiting period of a specified number of days between a firearm purchase and when it is physically transferred to the purchaser;
  3. Require persons seeking to purchase or possess a firearm to: obtain a firearm safety certificate by successfully completing a safety training course; register their firearms and obtain a license; notify law enforcement when their weapons are lost or stolen; and, safely store their firearms and ammunition in the home to prevent access by children and other unauthorized users;
  4. Require gun dealers to obtain a local permit, conduct employee background checks, and obtain liability insurance;
  5. Ban semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines;
  6. Ban licensed and unlicensed open carry of loaded and unloaded firearms;
  7. Require the personalization of handguns, that is, equipping them with technology that prevents them from firing when operated by an unauthorized user; and, prohibit the manufacture, importation, purchase and transfer of non-personalized handguns;
  8. Legalize comprehensive ballistic identification through “microstamping” technology;
  9. Repeal the “Dickey Amendment” that prevents the Center for Disease Control from spending funds “to advocate or promote gun control,” and restore funding for research on gun violence;
  10. Offer a gun buyback opportunity to private gun owners, without fear of prosecution; and,
  11. Pass campaign finance reform and reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision to reduce the role of money in the U.S. political system, and to diminish the role of lobbying.

As part of the Catholic peace and justice movement that seeks to model the Peace of Christ, Pax Christi Michigan considers the current situation, with gun violence ravaging our families and communities and terrorizing our children, to be unconscionable. With this Statement on Gun Violence, we declare unequivocally that we reject gun violence, and that we follow the One who said, “Peter, put away your sword.”

August 2016

Graphic from Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence

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US Army chaplain resigns in protest over US drone policy, Why not us ?

Dear Bishop and my fellow clergy, priests and deacons in the Diocese of Kalamazoo, MI:

I have just received news that a US Army chaplain resigned in protest over the US drone, “policy of Stop-dronesunaccountable killing” (See this link).   At first I was so excited that perhaps it was a Catholic chaplain.  But then read that it was our fellow Christian, Rev. John Antal, a Unitarian Universalist Church minister from New York. I praise God for his courage in saying: “The executive branch continues to claim the right to kill anyone, anywhere on earth, at any time, for secret reasons, based on secret evidence, in a secret process, undertaken by unidentified officials.”… While deployed in Afghanistan, he concluded that   “our drone strikes disproportionately kill innocent people.” 

“I resign because I refuse to support the  US policy of preventive war, permanent military supremacy, and global power projection.”

I am wondering and puzzled why no Catholic chaplain has done likewise. What is wrong with our seminary training? Why doesn’t our diocese have an office of Justice and Peace ? Why does the present American Catholic  Hierarchy ignore its own Catholic Social Teaching , even now, with the election of Pope Francis ?   Why should I have been refused permission, by a panicky temporary pastor, to continue preaching  the Church’s teachings on Justice and Peace ?

droneprotestI know that you are aware that I helped Kathy Kelly of the Chicago Voices for Creative Nonviolence,  with the help of the Peace House in Kalamazoo, plan and carry out a walk from Chicago, around the bottom of Lake Michigan and through our Diocese to the Drone base located near Battle Creek, where we demonstrated against drone warfare, and that these demonstrations do continue.

When I tried to place an article in our diocesan newspaper showing that the Vatican was moving ahead of the US bishops in understanding  that the Just War theory was no longer viable, you told me to go somewhere else Benjamin_Salmonwith this, because it would be disturbing to our Catholics here.  I received the same reasoning,  while attempting to start a new chapter of Pax Christi at one of our diocesan parishes, when the pastor told me to take down the sign showing that Pope John Paul II had called the Iraqi invasion unjust, immoral, and illegal.

So to some extent, I have turned to other venues. I have been working with Pax Christi of Michigan, the local chapter of the official voice of American Catholic peacebuilding;  with the Michigan/ Meta Peace Team, an Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping group operating both here in the US, and countries across the world; the people of Pace e Bene, big on nonviolence training,  sponsoring actions of nonviolence across the country, and trying to unite the many American  peace groups;  with my son Paul, who created and owns SirenGPS, a mass warning and tactical communication platform for city and county Emergency Managers across the county; and with the Peace and Justice Studies Association, which ties together educators and activists across the country.

My present activities, after returning from 3 months this winter teaching English in a rural, outback town in Colombia, South America, where I was able to meet the President of Colombia, and observe his efforts to try to bring peace to the 50 years of civil war in that country, include:Mn_Peace_Team action_smaller

  1. Currently, I am working with the organizers of the coordinated protest demonstrations being planned for the Republican National Convention (RNC) this summer, offering training services from Meta Peace Team, which did security for the 2012 RNC, and the use of SirenGPS, a tactical communications platform used by the best emergency managers in the US.

    And applying for an adjunct position at local colleges to get back into teaching Justice and Peace to young people, maybe even at the high school level again.

Recently, we celebrated the death of Rene Voillaume , founder of the Little Brothers of Jesus, on May 13th .  I Charles_de_Foucauldsometimes feel in a similar place as Charles de Foucauld  – trying to do what he thought Jesus was calling him to, but he attracted no followers. He died alone in the desert.  But then his vision did not die. Later a 16 year old, young student read about him, and it changed his life. 12 years later, now a priest, he and 4 others followed Foucauld’s  model , and it spread.

Voillaume_lachend“Little we are before the task we have to accomplish. All our lives we shall remain unprofitable servants, and we must wish to be so dealt with,” Rene Voillaume.



Well, I still hold out hope that there will be some place for me within the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

Yours in the peace of Christ,  Deacon Jim Rauner

“ I see my mission, as God has made it known to me, to help make the Catholic Church into what it should be, a peace church.”   Fr Richard McSorley, S.J.

“We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been unwilling to pay any significant price for peace. We want peace with half a heart and half a life and half a will. The war making continues because the waging of war is total but the waging of peace is partial.”

Daniel Berrigan,   May he rest in Eternal Peace

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Civil & Religious Leaders Address Racial Issues at Birmingham Conference


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Pope Francis Welcomes in New Year with Call to End ‘Arrogance of the Powerful’

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Friday called for an end to the “arrogance of the powerful” that relegates tPopehe weak to the outskirts of society, and to the “false neutrality” toward conflicts, hunger and persecution that triggers a sometimes-deadly exodus of refugees.

Welcoming the new year, Francis emphasized the need to “let ourselves be reborn, to overcome the indifference which blocks solidarity, and to leave behind the false neutrality which prevents sharing.” He recommended cooperation as the way to build an “ever more just and fraternal world, a world in which every person and every creature can dwell in peace.”

In his homily in St. Peter’s Basilica, he reflected on the “countless forms of injustice and violence which daily wound our human family.”

“Sometimes we ask ourselves how it is possible that human injustice persists unabated, and that the arrogance of the powerful continues to demean the weak, relegating them to the most squalid outskirts of our world.” He continued: “We ask how long human evil will continue to sow violence and hatred in our world, reaping innocent victims.”

Francis cited no country, continent or conflict. But his words clearly evoked images of the refugees and migrants, more than 1 million of whom flooded into Europe from Africa, the Middle East and Asia in 2015, on dangerous sea or overland journeys. He spoke of “witnessing hordes of men, women and children fleeing war, hunger and persecution, ready to risk their lives simply to encounter respect for their fundamental rights.”

The Catholic Church dedicates New Year’s Day to the theme of peace, and Francis this year is stressing mercy as the path toward reconciliation.

To highlight the benefits springing from forgiveness and reconciliation in the world, Francis declared a Holy Year of Mercy, which began last month and runs through November 2016. Early Friday evening, he was to visit a Rome basilica, St. Mary Major, where he sometimes slips away to pray, to open a normally sealed Holy Door as a symbolic threshold to cross toward mercy for Catholic faithful.

Associated Press – Published January 01, 2016

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Bishop Thomas Gumbleton: Woe to those who make unjust laws

Destroying unions hurts the least among usgumbleton

“We firmly oppose organized efforts, such as those regrettably now seen in this country, to break existing unions and prevent workers for organizing.”

My brother bishops and I wrote that more than a quarter-century ago in our 1986 letter Economic Justice for All. Regrettably, it rings true still today.

The right-to-work legislation that was passed by the House and the Senate in Michigan just this month is designed to break unions. It is designed to prevent workers from organizing. And we must oppose it as firmly as we did during the 1980s.

As Catholics, we believe that if the dignity of work is to remain protected, then the basic rights of workers must be protected – fair wages, freedom from discrimination and the right to organize and join unions. We believe in justice. We believe in the common good.

Right-to-work laws go against everything we believe.

Economists tell us that right-to-work laws devastate economic justice. They lower wages for all workers. They lessen benefits for all workers. They increase poverty for all people.

Workers tell us that these laws decrease cooperation, collaboration, love and solidarity.

This legislation should not just offend Catholics, but all Christians and members of all faith traditions. At the core of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and all great religions are the values of dignity and respect, values from which economic justice and the right to organize can never be separated.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s Presbyterian tradition “affirms the rights of labor organization and collective bargaining as minimum demands of justice.” Similar statements have been made by the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Union for Reform Judaism and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to name but a few.

However, we do not need statements from on high to understand what we know to be true on the ground. Right-to-work laws do not help the least among us. Rather, they profit those who already hold more power and wealth than is their fair share. They foster extreme inequality, inequality that can only lead to extreme disparities and extreme division.

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet proclaims, “Woe to those who make unjust laws.” Indeed, woe to those in the Michigan state Legislature who voted in favor of these laws. Woe to Gov. Snyder, whose pen is at the ready to sign these bills.

Just as Catholic bishops united in 1986 to speak against organized efforts to break unions, it is now time for Michigan citizens of all faiths to unite against an unjust law, passed in great haste, which will do great damage to our state. Each of us must take responsibility for speaking out and taking action to prevent a terrible injustice from occurring in Michigan.

Written by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, retired auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit


Dear Friends –
Please Circulate Widely this strong message from Bishop Gumbleton, which Pax Christi Michigan solidly endorses, in opposition to the “Right to Work” law which was sped through the Michigan State Congress and signed by Gov. Snyder on December on 11, 2013.   Besides being the product of a lame duck congress going rogue with its power – adding language that prohibits it from EVER being challenged or reversed, this decision goes against all Catholic Social Teaching which supports the Common Good and has upheld the rights of workers to organize since Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum dated May 15, 1891. For complete text of the encyclical, See  The take-over by the 1% goes on – legislating for continued escalation of a growing class of poor.  God save us from ourselves. Amen.
In solidarity,
Joan Tirak
Coordinator – Pax Christi Michigan

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An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism

July 17, 2012

Sister Pat Farrell is the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the vice president of the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, Iowa.

In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.

In its assessment of the group, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the leadership conference is undermining Roman Catholic teachings on homosexuality and birth control and promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” It also reprimanded the nuns for hosting speakers who “often contradict or ignore” church teachings and for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.”

In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.

In its assessment of the group, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the leadership conference is undermining Roman Catholic teachings on homosexuality and birth control and promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” It also reprimanded the nuns for hosting speakers who “often contradict or ignore” church teachings and for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.”

In their own statement, the nuns said the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment of the group was based on “unsubstantiated accusations” and may “compromise” the ability of female nuns to “fulfill their mission.”

In their own statement, the nuns said the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment of the group was based on “unsubstantiated accusations” and may “compromise” the ability of female nuns to “fulfill their mission.”

“I would say the mandate is more critical of positions we haven’t taken than those we have taken,” says Sister Pat Farrell, the president of the Leadership Conference.

“As I read that document, the concern is the issues we tend to be more silent about when the bishops are speaking out very clearly about some things. There are issues about which we think there’s a need for a genuine dialogue, and there doesn’t seem to be a climate of that in the church right now.”

Interview Highlights

On questioning doctrine within the Catholic Church

“The question is, ‘Can you be Catholic and have a questioning mind?’ That’s what we’re asking. … I think one of our deepest hopes is that in the way we manage the balancing beam in the position we’re in, if we can make any headway in helping to create a safe and respectful environment where church leaders along with rank-and-file members can raise questions openly and search for truth freely, with very complex and swiftly changing issues in our day, that would be our hope. But the climate is not there. And this mandate coming from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith putting us in a position of being under the control of certain bishops, that is not a dialogue. If anything, it appears to be shutting down dialogue.”

On their options

“We’re not talking about the risk of excommunication or leaving the church. That’s not our intent. We’re talking about the Vatican’s dealing with a national organization, not with specific religious congregations or individual religious. The one and only underlying option for us is to respond with integrity with however we proceed. That is our absolute bottom line in this. Some of the options would be to just comply with the mandate that’s been given to us. Or to say we can’t comply with this and see what the Vatican does with that. Or to remove ourselves and form a separate organization.”

On the criticism from the Vatican regarding human sexuality

“We have been, in good faith, raising concerns about some of the church’s teachings on sexuality. The problem being that the teaching and interpretation of the faith can’t remain static and really needs to be reformulated, rethought in light of the world we live in. And new questions and new realities [need to be addressed] as they arise. And if those issues become points of conflict, it’s because Women Religious stand in very close proximity to people at the margins, to people with very painful, difficult situations in their lives. That is our gift to the church. Our gift to the church is to be with those who have been made poorer, with those on the margins. Questions there are much less black and white because human realities are much less black and white. That’s where we spend our days.”

On roles within the church

“A bishop, for instance, can’t be on the street working with the homeless. He has other tasks. But we can be. So if there is a climate of open and trusting and adequate dialogue among us, we can bring together some of those conversations, and that’s what I hope we can help develop in a deeper way.”

On women’s ordination

“The position we took in favor of women’s ordination in 1977 was before there was a Vatican letter saying that there is a definitive church position against the ordination of women. So it’s interesting to me that the document [just released by the church] goes back 30 years to talk about our position on the ordination of women. There has, in fact, been an official opinion from the church that that topic should not be discussed. When that declaration came out, the response of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was to call for a nationwide time of prayer and fasting for all Women Religious in response to that. Because our deep desire for places of leadership of women in the church be open. It remains a desire. Since then, the Leadership Conference has not spoken publicly about the ordination of women. Imposing a silence doesn’t necessarily change people’s thinking, but we are in a position to continue to be very concerned that the position of women in the church be recognized.”

On the phrase “radical feminist themes”

“Sincerely, what I hear in the phrasing … is fear — a fear of women’s positions in the church. Now, that’s just my interpretation. I have no idea what was in the mind of the congregation, of the doctrine of the faith, when they wrote that. But women theologians around the world have been seriously looking at the question of: How have the church’s interpretations of how we talk about God, interpret Scripture, organize life in the church — how have they been tainted by a culture that minimizes the value and the place of women?”

On abortion

“I think the criticism of what we’re not talking about seems to me to be unfair. Because [Women] Religious have clearly given our lives to supporting life, to supporting the dignity of human persons. Our works are very much pro-life. We would question, however, any policy that is more pro-fetus than actually pro-life. If the rights of the unborn trump all of the rights of all of those who are already born, that is a distortion, too — if there’s such an emphasis on that. However, we have sisters who work in right-to-life issues. We also have many, many ministries that support life. We dedicate to our lives to those on the margins of society, many of whom are considered throwaway people: the impaired, the chronically mentally ill, the elderly, the incarcerated, to the people on death row. We have strongly spoken out against the death penalty, against war, hunger. All of those are right-to-life issues. There’s so much being said about abortion that is often phrased in such extreme and such polarizing terms that to choose not to enter into a debate that is so widely covered by other sectors of the Catholic Church — and we have been giving voice to other issues that are less covered but are equally as important.

“Our concern is that right-to-life issues be seen across a whole spectrum and are not narrowly defined. … To single out one right-to-life issue and to say that that’s the only issue that defines Catholic identity, I think, is really a distortion.”

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– by Charlie McCarthy

Osama bin Laden


The “killing” of Osama bin Laden is just the latest chapter in a long- running serial titled Osama bin Laden and 9/11. Like Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, since Osama bin Laden and 9/11 hit the TV screen a decade ago it has generated episode after episode, sequel after sequel. But now, finally, like Captain Kirk—after at least nine lives and fifty ever-more-preposterous escapes—Osama had to be killed and sent to wherever it is that literary characters go once their usefulness expires. But just as Star Trek was morphed into mythic dimensions after the last scene played out, so now after the curtain has come down on the Osama bin Laden and 9/11 tale, it too is being shape-shifted from momentary politically useful fiction (i.e., a lie) to perpetually useful political myth, with all the paraphernalia that accompanies such a transition in contemporary times. A big-budget movie is said to be already in the works. Its tentative title? The Seals Seal the Deal. Clooney is suppose to have the lead, with a direct descendant of Rin-Tin-Tin playing “War Dog,” the heroic canine choppered in with the Seals to take down Osama.

But a myth is not a myth if you know it is a myth. So, if there is no factual evidence to support the idea that a particular myth is actually rooted in reality, everything possible must be done to quash any and every suggestion that the myth is just a yarn made up by particular human beings for their particular purposes. Consequently, since 9/11 no major media outlet in the US has permitted any other narrative about 9/11 to be broadcast except the story of Osama bin Laden and 9/11, even though there is a veritable Niagara of scientific evidence and documentary evidence that demonstrates that story to have about the same reality quotient as Superman II.

And, as in all myths, the closing scene has to be strictly in concert with the opening scene. So, now, no other storyline of the death of Osama bin Laden is permitted to appear on the national media’s broadcast systems except that which is fully, 100 percent in cognitive and emotional accordance with the opening chapter, and all the subsequent chapters, of the official Osama bin Laden and 9/11 story. Scientific evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, Osama bin Laden destroyed three buildings with two planes with freefall-footprint demolition precision. Case closed. Even the evidence available before, at, and after 9/11, that bin Laden had been on life-supporting dialysis three times a week for kidney disease long before 9/11 and that he had been diagnosed with incurable Marfan Syndrome before 9/11—two conditions which require exceptional medical expertise and significant technology if even a short-term extension of life is to be gained—is bracketed out of perception and discussion. It can no more get a nanosecond of coverage on the six major media corporations that provide and control 85% of what Americans hear or read than can those thousands of scientists and engineers who are able to demonstrate that according to the laws of nature (to say nothing of straightforward human observation), the three World Trade Center mega-buildings could not have been destroyed the way the government and media relentlessly claim they were in their Osama bin Laden and 9/11 narrative blitzkrieg of the American psyche.

And so, we have 100 percent of the so-called major media news reporters, news commentators, and news analysts playing the same role that so-called sports announcers, commentators, and analysts play when, with great energy and the appearance of thoughtfulness, they announce, comment on, and analyze a professional wrestling match as if it were a real adversarial fight—when in fact all professional wrestling matches on mass media in the US are planned and choreographed theatre with a storyline, orchestration, and predetermined ending. The non-stop serious commentary and analysis is actually part of the created theatrical fantasy, for, without it, the spectacle of a 380-pound man calling himself “The Gorgeous One” and a 420-pound man calling himself “The Mad Dog Avenger” hitting each other continuously for a half hour without drawing a drop of blood would be “rolling in the aisles” ludicrous! The announcers, commentators, and analysts discuss with simulated gravitas, expertise, and in exhausting detail all aspects and possible interpretations of the wrestling match and of the “fighters”: their physiques, their lives, their techniques for winning, their won-lost wrestling histories. All aspects and interpretations, that is, except one. These “epic battles” between giants, which are being given such extensive, serious, and detailed examination, are as phony, bogus, make-believe, and pretend as the notion that Albania was a nuclear threat to the US depicted in the film Wag the Dog.

So what are the human and societal consequences of perpetrating a myth that is a lie? First, it is dangerous to ignore a violence-justifying, emotion-laden myth. The myth, once accepted cognitively and emotionally, generates its own theology and/or philosophy of right and wrong. Ancient religious texts—even if they, by any normal reading, communicate the opposite of the myth— are twisted to fit into it. The religious pseudo-legitimacy thus generated bestows on the myth even further power to alter consciousness and motivate people to act in a particular direction. “Native Americans are savages,” “blacks are sub-human,” Manifest Destiny, Eretz Israel, lebensraum- these are all myths, without any basis in fact, myths that have resulted in the self-righteous murder and maiming of hundreds of millions of human beings. None of these preposterous myths arose accidentally out of nothingness. They were all concocted by people and planted in the consciousness and consciences of individuals and communities before they ever erupted into anticipated and unanticipated mass murder and, worse yet, mass murder justified as right, as doing the will of God.

The myth of Osama bin Laden and 9/11 is now in full-throttle mode. Soon we can expect a song entitled “The Tale of a War Dog” by Willie Nelson to top the music charts. The saga of Osama bin Laden and 9/11is expanding and hourly being sown ever more deeply in the minds and souls of people, especially young people, via technology never before available to the economic, political, and military elites for such mind-manipulating projects. Here are examples from today alone:

  • New video game lets you kill Osama bin Laden
  • Kill Osama Yourself video game.
  • “Kuma War”  is a free online war game that models its missions on real-world war events that are reported in the media. New missions have been released every month since 2004 and the kill Osama bin Laden mission will be the last episode in the 107 part series, according to the corporation that produced and freely distributed this long running, hands-on, interactive video “game” series. Kuma Games in announcing that episode #107 would be the last, said “it provides a neat end to the storyline.”


P.S. The ever-mutating Christian Just War Theory is part of the problem in a world where contrived, emotionally charged, violent, self-righteous myths are culturally and politically hardwired into consciousness and conscience. The moral chameleonism called CJWT has a universal historical record of fitting in perfectly with any of them—or not fitting in—depending which side of the human carnage operation one is on.

There is absolutely no way out of this murderous moral sinkhole except through the unequivocal, unambiguous, and unmodified proclamation by the Christian Churches, Church leaders, and Church communicants of the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels as the Nonviolent Messiah of Israel, the Nonviolent Lord, the Nonviolent God, and the Nonviolent Savior of the world, along with the proclamation of the power and wisdom and truth of His Way of Nonviolent Love (Agape) of friends and enemies as God’s Way of being and God’s Way of conquering evil. There is one Way and only one Way for all humanity to exit this viper’s tangle. It is not the way of Bush, Obama, Cheney, Emanuel, Hillary, Condi, Rush, Chris, etc. It is the Way of Jesus. You can give your brief life to make it happen, but you cannot take another’s life to make it happen—therein lies the essence of both the problem and the solution. Believe it or not. The time allotted to you to choose is passing. Believe it or not.


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