The Culture We Deserve: June 2004 Archives

Bishop Gumbleton and War

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Bishop Gumbleton, of Detroit, in his Trinity Sunday homily, managed to work in the opinion that prosecution of war, even the war against Hitler and Nazism, was something contrary to the teaching of Christ. This is what he said:

Today, President Bush is over in Europe celebrating how 60 years ago we invaded the continent of Europe from the British Isles. We think of this as a marvelous thing, something to celebrate, but it meant killing and hatred. That’s not God. That can never be God.

Somehow we’ve come to think that sometimes it is OK to hate and kill. We’ve come to believe that sometimes killing is necessary, but it isn’t. And it can’t be. It cannot be.


Anyone reading this statement without any knowledge of the history of the D-Day Invasion would think that we, the Allies, were aggressors in World War II; that we were there simply to kill and hate. My initial response to this was that the Bishop seemed to believe that there was nothing worth dying for. To clarify, I meant that the Bishop seems to believe that there is nothing worth fighting for, which may involve both killing and dying. What if that had been the response of the Allied leaders in 1939 and 1941? As it was, 6 million Jews died in concentration camps during the years 1939 to 1945. It only stopped in 1945 because of the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944. We celebrate this act today, not because it commemorates killing and hatred, rather we celebrate it because it commemorates the triumph of good over evil.

The Church teaches that the taking of innocent life is a mortal sin, it is always and everywhere wrong, an evil. Those in Nazi Germany who came to power in the early 1930’s scorned such ideas. They looked upon themselves and their countrymen as as "supermen", the only real human beings, all others being “inhuman” and “subhuman”, especially Jews. They took it upon themselves, after having come to this conclusion, to begin a systematic program to eradicate all humans who were “inferior” in some way, thus the concentration camps. The lives of the Nazi’s were not “innocent”, rather they dedicated themselves to the taking of the innocent lives of others, they were engaged in the grossest kind of evil. Yet, in Bishop Gumbleton’s world, nothing would be done to stop such men, because, after all, it cannot be right to hate and kill. In Bishop Gumbleton’s world, it’s preferable that 6 million, or more, Jews be exterminated than that any Nazi army be challenged and destroyed.

But the Allied leaders did not respond as Bishop Gumbleton would have them do. Instead, they chose to fight evil, knowing that many Americans would die, so that good might prevail. I believe they made the correct moral, Christian choice. They recognized that to tolerate evil is to, in a sense, cooperate in propagating it; in fact, to allow evil to flourish is to become guilty of that evil. The Bishop might argue that, instead of war, reason should have been resorted to. Surely such men as Hitler and Goebbels would listen to reason. However, even a rudimentary knowledge of the history of the 1930’s would show that reason and negotiation was tried, ad nauseum, with the sole result of encouraging Hitler to become even more aggressive and bloodthirsty. Such men do not listen to reason.

We are faced with a similar situation today; we have been attacked by men who hate us because we are not “like them.” These are men who are also dedicated to the taking of innocent lives and, thus, have themselves surrendered all claims to their own innocence. They are dedicated to killing us solely because we do not share their ethnic and religious background – we are Christians, infidels. If we choose to believe that it is wrong to try to stop them, killing them if necessary, then we shall surely die, along with who knows how many countless thousands, or millions, of others. I believe that the only appropriate response to evil is to try to destroy it, not out of hatred but out of concern for the Good. If we do nothing, we ourselves shall be guilty of allowing their evil to reign over the earth.

Why Not?

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EWTN News Services reports the following:

Bark mitzvahs
Spiritual needs are also being taken care of. At St. Francis Episcopal Church in Stamford, Connecticut, pets can now even receive Holy Communion as well as a special benediction, the Wall Street Journal reported March 10.

The Journal noted that with pews being increasingly hard to fill, some clergy are creating "pet-friendly worship services." In some cases this even extends to making house calls for sick animals or accompanying pet owners to the vet when they euthanize a pet, not to mention officiating at pet funerals and group "bark mitzvahs."

According to the Journal, after pet gravestones became one Petco's most-requested products the company started selling memorial stones in 2002. The greeting card company Hallmark has introduced cards with spiritual imagery to its lines of pet sympathy cards. The sympathy cards are sent to pet owners when their animals die; annual sales are now half a million. Meanwhile, Skylight Paths has just published a book called "What Animals Can Teach Us About Spirituality." Sometimes animals can even be given precedence over human worshippers, BBC reported April 24. St. Hilda's in Ellerburn, North Yorkshire, may be forced to close after an invasion by Natterer's bats.

The church dates back more than a thousand years, but under European law it is an offense to damage, destroy or obstruct an access used by bats. The church vicar, Reverend Dave Clark, says the bats are driving his parishioners away and without a congregation the church would close. The church stands on a site thought to have been occupied by a monastery founded by St. Aidan in A.D. 647.

I didn't say a word!

Anglicans at it again

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This report just in from Reuters News Agency:

LONDON (Reuters) - Favorite prayers and psalms from the Bible have been radically reworked for a new Anglican prayer book in a bid to get the faithful to think about issues like Third World debt and fair trade.
For example, out goes "Give us this day our daily bread," from the Lord's Prayer and in comes a line about God "giving us our daily bread when we manage to get back our lands or get a fairer wage." In the 23rd psalm, "The Lord is my Shepherd" sees "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil" replaced by: "Even if a full-scale violent confrontation breaks out, I will not be afraid, Lord." Christian Aid, which has helped put together the prayer book, said Wednesday the reworking was aimed at encouraging a new perspective.

"It is to show people how biblical scriptures are transposed in the Third World," a spokeswoman said.

I was sure you wouldn't want to have missed this one.

Comments

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Until now, I have never deleted a comment posted to this blog. However, there was one posted in response to my post on Bishop Sheridan's Pastoral Letter that is inappropriate. It has been deleted.

I am willing to conduct a discussion with anyone who questions what I post here, I will not enter into a dialogue with those who wish to indulge only in name calling.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the The Culture We Deserve category from June 2004.

The Culture We Deserve: May 2004 is the previous archive.

The Culture We Deserve: February 2005 is the next archive.

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