Let’s play Global Thermonuclear War!

Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) has yet another attack piece against the important collection to be taken up this weekend for the Archdiocese for Military Services.

In other words they are attacking Catholic chaplains.

In the latest divisive hate piece Fishwrap has this suggestion:

Outside the clergy, a small, lay-led online effort seeks to offer Catholics opposed to the collection an alternative when the basket makes its way through the pews.

Catholics Against Militarism has made available on its website downloadable cards for Catholics opposed to the collection “to put in the collection basket instead of money, just to make their voices heard,” member Ellen Finnigan said.

The cards, in part, read: “A nationwide collection for AMS sends a message to American Catholics that the Catholic Church condones America’s current military activity and post-9-11 wars. … Church is no place to glorify the ideals of the professional military class, which run contrary to most, if not all, Christian beliefs and teachings, including the Christian Just War theory. Today, in a spirit of peace, I offer my dissent.”

Fishwrap upbraids those who create “divisiveness” or who use sharp rhetoric.

And yet here is Fishwrap attacking an established, recognized ministry to well over 1 million lay people, some of whom are children, some of whom are suffering in horrible life-threatening circumstances.  Some of them are poor, they work for almost nothing.

How ’bout this.  There is special collection for nuns every year.


Do they deserve a handout after all the strife and division some of them create in the Church?

How about I create a card you can download and print to offer your disgust about the LCWR when it is time to take up a collection for women religious?

“A nationwide collection for women religious sends a message to American Catholics that the Catholic Church condones America’s women religious dissenting from Church teachings and causing scandal and confusion among the faithful. … Church is no place to glorify the ideals of the dissenting nuns, such as those of the LCWR and CHA, which run contrary to most, if not all, Christian beliefs and teachings, including just about everything in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Today, in a spirit of peace, I offer my dissent.”

Hey!  I recognize a good idea when I see it.   Liberals are the experts at division.  This is a Leftist idea and tactic.

I don’t see the USCCB rushing to denounce the tactic.  The Left gets away with this garbage all the time.  Not this time. Let’s start a card campaign, too!

Look. For those of you in Columbia Heights, I am making a point about how the Left works. I don’t really want to start a campaign against the sisters. But the LEFT thinks this is a great idea: attack Catholic chaplains and then create division in parish churches by smearing the Military Archdiocese as warmongers. I am kidding.  They are serious.

If this isn’t divisive, what is?

If we wanted to, we could play the game, too.

Remember that movie WarGames?

Joshua: Shall we play a game?

David Lightman: [typing] Love to. How about Global Thermonuclear War?
Joshua: Wouldn’t you prefer a nice game of chess?
[Jennifer laughs]
David Lightman: [typing] Later. Let’s play Global Thermonuclear War.
Joshua: Fine.

Whom shall we nuke next? How ’bout KANSAS CITY!

And Greg Reynolds is still excommunicated.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. frjim4321 says:

    We are supporting it here, but for some reason the envelopes did not make it into the monthly packet, so that’s confusing people as to whether or not it is a “real” collection.

    To me, the NCR missed the mark regarding this issue.

  2. frjim4321 says:

    By the way, great movie!

  3. majuscule says:

    We got the envelopes last week. It was very confusing. Our second collection was supposed to be for the building fund but our (mission) church is not up to our AAA pledge so it was announced that the second collection was for that but some people picked up the envelopes and put those in the second collection basket.

    At least they gave!

    I’m giving double what I was planning to give. I can afford it!

  4. Elizabeth D says:

    On one level, point well made. Another… I have donated to the local dissident sisters for their retirement fund (I also wrote a book on what they have been up to). One of them called me and thanked me. She had been a school teacher for 40 years. I thanked her! We had a conversation about an excellent Sister she had known well. I it can be good to give for sisters’ retirement if they are in need and extend some love even if they are not really the ideal kind… even if they are bad… one reason is in justice because many did give many years of good service even if SOME evolved in strange ways along the journey, another is the reverence we should have for sacred persons, even those not living up to what they should be. But you know, there are excellent CMSWR religious sister communities whose retirement is very underfunded and one can also seek them out and be generous specifically to them.

    I donate quite happily to Opus Bono Sacerdotii too! We have reverence toward the priesthood of a priest who has fallen in some way, and I think there’s a sense in which we should have reverence for a consecrated religious, as a sacred person. Through St Vincent de Paul I assist all manner of homeless people, many of them in and out of jail or prison, sometimes for very serious things.

  5. acardnal says:

    I reiterate: military ordinariates, vicariates, dioceses and archdioceses were not created by the United States government or any government but by the Holy See. Perhaps the Fishwrap should take their protest to the “best pope evuh”. I’m sure his Holiness would luv to deprive military families and diplomats posted overseas of the sacraments! *sarc*

  6. Will D. says:

    I’m not in the military, but my father was. My mother, my sisters, and I received the sacraments from the hands of Army and Air Force Catholic Chaplains. Even if you agree with the premise that the Archdiocese is culpable for US Military policy, why should the dependents of military members be denied the same access to the sacraments?

    My mother still attends a parish on a military base, and is friends with one of the Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese. The parish bulletin is asking for increased offerings from the flock, who can ill afford them, because of military budget cuts in the sequester deal. The bishops travel endlessly tending to the chaplains and the local communities all around the world. I will gladly contribute for the second collection tomorrow, and I encourage everyone else to be generous as well.

  7. Priam1184 says:

    If no one creates one of those cards about the LCWR I will print one on Word; ditto for the ‘catholic’ Campaign for Human Development.

  8. Imrahil says:

    Of “the post-9/11 wars”, Afghanistan and Iraq stabilization were indisputably just, and Iraq war and Libya were arguably led in the belief of them being just (Saddam Hussein eo ipso attacking world security by having weapons of mass destruction, and Muammar Ghaddafi being on the verge of committing an outrageous crime against humanity).

    But of course, throw all of that into a pot and do not distinguish.

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    These Neo-Peacenik-Leftover-Hippie-Wannabe’s give me a pain. These are the first people who would be screaming and crying if they had to face an actual enemy themselves, but they run to denounce the dedicated people who actually do that dirty work, or who spiritually sustain those who do it. To me their actions are despicable, un-Christian, and un-American. I pity future generations who may not be well protected as these people feminize our boys and men, and use absurd Ninja-Pacifist tactics like these to try to shed a bad light on the brave men and women of our military. Do these people comprehend that somebody has to take on evil directly, and these are the people who do that for us? They have no alternative for that, of course. It’s all just blather.
    Luckily for these fools, generations of American men already suffered, fought, and gave their lives already on battlefields all over the world, fighting tyranny and evil, so they could have the luxury of filling out their little card against them and putting it in some basket.

  10. Priam1184 says:

    @Elizabeth D Can we both donate the money and drop in the card about the LCWR?

  11. Kathleen10 says:

    And, I forgot, love your idea Fr. Z., and also, wow, look at young Matthew Broderick! Actually he’s been on TCM on Friday nights and he looks pretty much the same. That was a good movie, Fr. Jim. He introduced Friday night’s fantastic “The Awful Truth” with Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, a film I love. Great movie moment, when Ralph Bellamy’s character says to Irene Dunne, “I sure learned alot about women from you”, and is handed a Dear John letter and told “Here’s your diploma”.

  12. Elizabeth M says:

    Tell me again how putting a piece of paper in a basket is really showing “dissent”. What happened to those fun little “Occupy” marches / sit-in things?
    I agree with you 100% Kathleen10. We must pray, pray if America isn’t to be completely over taken.

  13. SebastianHvD says:

    I don’t think anybody is against priests tending to the military. But I think an argument can be made for not wanting those priests to be part of the armed forces. A major part of the trade of soldiering is the taking of human life. That may be necessary, but even in case of a justified war, it is still a manifestation of the lost paradise. In many ways, the profession of a soldier is like that of an executioner. Being an executioner does not have to be intrinsically evil, but the fact that his job exists at all has a lot to do with evil. And I believe almost everybody would feel uncomfortable with a chaplain for executioners being an executioner himself. Why do priests who work for the army have to be part of the army?

  14. Pingback: Give to Those Who Give So Much |

  15. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “Why do priests who work for the army have to be part of the army?”

    Because someone inside the army is allowed to be on the front lines during danger, but someone who is a civilian is usually not.

    Because priests who help out but aren’t in the military are restricted the same way civilian contractors are — for example, you have to work only certain hours, you can only be in certain places at certain times, you can be affected by shutdowns and furloughs and unable to come on base….

    Because the Bible is full of prayers for soldiers, by soldiers or by those standing on the battlefield. For example, Moses and Joshua and David and….

    Because the pastor is supposed to smell of the sheep. Men who have marched all day through mud and blood are not going to take spiritual advice from somebody who was sitting in the A/C with the civilian contractors while they fought and died. They are going to listen to somebody who was out there in the mud, giving Last Rites to the dying and comforting the wounded.

    (However, you apparently are unaware that all chaplains in the US military traditionally do not bear arms; they often have a “chaplain’s assistant” who does carry a weapon and act as their bodyguard, but just as often, chaplains are running around under fire with nothing to protect them but God and a helmet. Chaplains also traditionally tend to enemy and civilian persons, too.)

  16. nykash says:

    What dribble – I honestly don’t understand how they can think of themselves as Catholic.

    SebastianHvD, I would suggest you look at the definitions for the words soldier and executioner. Via google (quick and easy):

    – Soldier: a person who serves in an army.
    – Executioner: an official who carries out a sentence of death on a legally condemned person.

    There is no legal judgement passed prior to engagement on the battlefield, nor would it even be possible.

    Chaplains are superhero’s – not only have they made the sacrifice to become a priest, but by serving in the military, they put their very lives on the line. Along with making a donation to the Archdiocese for Military Services, I would recommend the recent bio of Emil Kapaun: “A Shepherd in Combat Boots: Chaplain Emil Kapaun of the 1st Cavalry Division.”

  17. The Cobbler says:

    I was under the impression that military chaplains didn’t actually “go into combat” in the sense of dropping bombs or shooting people, but maybe I’ve mixed something up on that point. After all, let’s not forget Archbishop Turpin while we’re talking about stories of war. 8^)

  18. Gabe says:


    Don’t bomb Kansas City!!!!

    I spent 5 nice years in college there.

  19. Johnno says:

    Imrahil says:
    “Of “the post-9/11 wars”, Afghanistan and Iraq stabilization were indisputably just, and Iraq war and Libya were arguably led in the belief of them being just (Saddam Hussein eo ipso attacking world security by having weapons of mass destruction, and Muammar Ghaddafi being on the verge of committing an outrageous crime against humanity).”

    There’s plenty to dispute. If anything there is less stability in these countries now considering Christians are being killed at the drop of a hat. America had a plan to invade & uproot all these countries immediately following 9/11 and then went about looking for justifications, or manufacturing them. One of the prime reasons being to keep the trade of petroleum fixed to the U.S. dollar and not another form of currency.

    But that’s neither here nor there. The Catholic Chaplains have nothing whatsoever to do with any of that and neither do the American troops for that matter who are marched out to fight for either of the Red or Blue administration’s lies. If the Fishwrap wants to really do something to protest the wars, they can start with the Obama Administration who is only too happy to expand it and invade more countries for hypocritical or entirely made-up reasons. Perhaps they should write articles encouraging their readers not to donate anything to the Democrats? After all, it sends a message that we’re okay with arming Al Qeada militants and shooting at crowds of people with children with drones.

  20. yatzer says:

    We didn’t get the envelope in our bunch for this month either. We’ll be giving in the second collection anyway. Military chaplains rock!

  21. Bos Mutissimus says:

    Good Father, speaking as a Kansas City resident, no one would be happier than I to see the instantaneous vaporization of the National “catholic” Birdcage Liner. But let us not accost a gnat with a bulldozer. If you can find but fifty righteous men in the city, will you not spare it?

    Happy Birthday, Marines: 238 years unblemished by progress. Happy Veterans Day.

    Semper Fidelis and God Bless

  22. EXCHIEF says:

    At Saturday night Mass our new Pastor, who prior to his Priesthood served in the U S Army, explained in appropriate detail the reason for the collection. As well he asked that we all pray for more vocations in general and vocations of Priests to serve as military chaplains. At the very end of Mass he had all veterans of our armed forces stand for a special blessing. A couple of well known liberal parishioners found that more than they could handle and made a hasty retreat for the exits…..they were not missed.

  23. Mike Morrow says:

    SebastianHiv says: “In many ways, the profession of a soldier is like that of an executioner.”

    How do you, lacking obviously the courage and honor of military service, dare to characterize with such sophomoric ignorance and antipathy what the profession of a soldier is like? You haven’t even the slightest understanding…you appear intellectually incapable of such!

  24. gracie says:

    If you want to support the nuns, please consider a donation to the “Little Sisters of the Poor”:


    They are wonderful, wonderful Sisters doing God’s work and yet they don’t get the press. Sadly, it’s always the dissident orders that get the attention.

  25. gracie says:

    Oops! I forgot to mention the “Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist”, another fantastic order that Fr. Z has mentioned here a few times:


    When I hear the heretical capers coming from some of the Sisters, it’s consoling to know that there are other orders of nuns that truly are doing the work of God.

  26. James Joseph says:

    Here in New England I have never seen a collection in support of the chaplains for the armed services. We certainly have not run any collections for them in the recent months. We do however seem to run a continuous USCCB collection and have missionaries from South America ask for money..

  27. Bruce Wayne says:

    That is some seriously shallow thinking to equate military chaplains and support for them as in any sense condoning any particular war let alone war in general.

    I think that only the initial action to invade Afghanistan was properly a just war and that nothing subsequent has been. In fact, I do not think that a very high percentage of the wars waged by the US government have been just. So presumably I may agree with some of these kinds of people’s conclusions as regards when a just war applies or not. I stress conclusions and not how they get there as I cannot figure out how they do).

    I also think that every Catholic soldier has to, for the sake of their own righteousness, give serious consideration to the justice both of wars they participate in and even more so for their own decisions and actions in the execution of those wars. Particularly as they should fully realize that they have not agreed to give their service to a government that can be assumed ethically responsible, let alone capable of submitting to Catholic principles of moral reasoning.

    But I have no clue how leftists like this come to their conclusions about the military chaplaincy. If anything, what I said above about disagreeing with the government over the justice of any given war makes it even more vital that the Catholic military personnel have ready and immediate access to Catholic priests. These critics must be incredibly dim about principles of ethical reasoning if they can identify military chaplains with the wars they are part of as chaplains. That is some embarrassingly shallow thinking.

  28. SKAY says:

    I just sent a donation to the Archdiocese. Thank you for reminding me, Father.

  29. bookworm says:

    “Whom shall we nuke next? How ’bout KANSAS CITY!”

    That’s been done, in the made for TV flick “The Day After”, made the same year as “WarGames” (1983).

  30. Imrahil says:

    Dear @MikeMorrow,

    I think the dear @SebastianHvD was saying that soldiers and executioners alike are doing something which while being necessary and just (he took for granted that the death penalty is acceptable), still by their nature (the killing of men) have something on them that marks a certain unfittingness with the clerical state. His concern was not about them tending to the military, as he explicitly said, but about their being part of the Armed Forces, that is, having the legal status of a soldier, a rank, and all that.

    Of course these are subtleties which have nothing to do with the intent of “Catholics Against Militarism”, who want to abolish the military chaiplaincy plain and simple, but still I do not see how he deserves your reprimand.

  31. Brandon says:

    Wow, talk about dehumanizing and using our troops as pawns… I almost threw up when I read this. Don’t the people at that political rag care about the souls of our troops? I think this tactic is very illustrative of just how little that publication actually believes in the Catholic faith. If they really did believe in the faith, they would NEVER support something like this. Our troops are human beings with immortal souls and need spiritual support just like anyone else. Where else are they supposed to get it but the AMS? Would fishwrap rather there be no priests to serve our soldiers, and they do not receive their sacraments? Woe to fishwrap!! This is a completely apolitical issue, but fishwrap is turning it into one AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR SOLDIERS!! Whether or not someone supports a given military operation is immaterial; you ALWAYS support our soldiers. If you disagree with a military action that is your right, but do not throw our soldiers under the bus. Fishwrap’s actions on this are shameful and diabolical.

  32. SebastianHvD says:

    @Suburbanbanshee: I think “embedded priests” – in the same way reporters are embedded – would be more appropriate for chaplaincy than membership in the armed services.

    They could and should sign NDAs holding them to secrecy and waivers freeing the army from liability, so that they can be where the troops are.

    However, it sends a wrong message that they wear uniform (if we are unhappy about those priests wearing civvies, we should also be unhappy about those wearing uniform), have a rank, are subject to the chain of command and are paid by the ministry of defense.

    I am aware that chaplains are not armed and do not participate in active combat. This only goes to show that the church knows that the military is not a normal profession. Otherwise, why not arm the chaplains and have them take out some Taliban and Republican guards on the side? I think almost everyone would agree that this is inappropriate. So why not take this to the logical conclusion?

  33. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    During World War I, representatives of the Salvation Army and the Red Cross were permitted up on the lines to serve coffee to the men in the trenches.

    Can you imagine that happening today? I can’t!

    I don’t know for certain, but it is plausible that it was our country’s involvement in the wars in Southeast Asia during the 1950s, 60s and 70s which changed all that. Embedded among local populations, and subject to ambush, suicide bombings and other forms of terrorist operations, it became imperative that all personnel authorized who have ongoing access to U.S. military operations be subject to U.S. military discipline and procedures at all times, without exception.

    Military command must be able to rest assured that the chaplains will be up-to-speed on how to conduct themselves in combat operations without endangering themselves or the mission, and that they will be subject to all regulations and orders just as any other member of the armed services. The presence of untrained and / or “loose cannon” civilian chaplains in the theatre would represent an intolerable security risk.

  34. shoofoolatte says:

    Those of us who are against war honor those who serve and those who have died, but we will not do so in a way that perpetuates the war machine.

    My two favorite priests served as military chaplains during the Vietnam War. Both are deeply disturbed by the militaristic support that goes with this collection.

  35. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Those of us who are against war honor those who serve and those who have died, but we will not do so in a way that perpetuates the war machine, i.e., by supporting the military chaplains service.

    That’s OK. Those of us who don’t know much about politics, and who can think only of the 18- and 19- year-olds – barely shaving – as well as the fathers of young families, who are getting their legs blown off from roadside bombs, and who would undoubtedly benefit from the ministrations of military chaplains as well as from those of emergency medical crews, will give double to make up for those who would prefer to see our troops go without spiritual care.

    By the way, is it only spiritual care that you would wish to see our wounded go without? Why not medical care, as well? Shouldn’t that be privatized, too?

  36. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:


    Robot bombs Kill People.

    Military Chaplains Don’t Kill People.

  37. Kerry says:

    Dear Catholics Against Militarism,
    Shouldn’t creatures as perfect and blameless for all the troubles of the world as yourselves, exhibit much greater compassion for the rest of us miserable sinners?

  38. robtbrown says:

    I want to preface my remarks by pointing out that it is possible–perhaps even likely–that the first native born male American Blessed or Saint will be a Catholic Army chaplain with the Medal of Honor

  39. Andreas says:

    Please forgive me, Father Z. and friends on this BLOG…but when I read things like, “Church is no place to glorify the ideals of the professional military class, which run contrary to most, if not all, Christian beliefs and teachings…” I fear that I must vent some spleen. As recently retired senior Navy officer who has also been cross-assigned to the United States Marine Corps, I can tell you that such statements are, in my opinion, decidedly beneath contempt. Chaplains (and especially Catholic Chaplains), have historically been at the ‘tip of the spear’ in confronting those who would threaten the nation. They, in their nobility, have given strength to those with doubts; they have given succor to those experiencing loss, and have at so may times been there to help soothe the stricken bodies and souls of those wounded or near death. Seven military Chaplains have received the Medal of Honor. Hundreds of Chaplains from all of the services have fallen in battle alongside their comrades in arms. Their bravery, heroism and compassion are legend; their service to their Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen cannot ever be besmirched by the likes of those who would live by the screed rather than supporting those who must, when the need arises, wield the sword. Priests especially have certainly served not in ignorance of Catholic teachings, but rather, to clearly bring them to those who may at any time be faced with making the ultimate sacrifice. I would therefore respectfully ask you to remember and support the Archdiocese for Military Services and those who have served and continue today to serve God and his men and women in arms.

    Semper Fi! to our Marines today on the birthday of The Corps.

  40. ckdexterhaven says:

    There are so few military priests to go around, especially in Afghanistan. Catholic soldiers are losing their faith to other religions. So many soldiers get treated poorly by their families, ,many men get Dear John letters from the mothers of their children while they are over there. A lot of soldiers have no family support at all. The military chaplains who are there provide much needed pastoral care, and of course,the Body of Christ to Catholics.

    Those who say they support the troops and not the war, and don’t support the “militaristic support”, most certainly don’t support the troops most in need.

  41. robtbrown says:

    Only the dead have seen the end of war.


    I’ve heard the currency argument before for the invasion of Iraq–that seems to me like amateur Marxist analysis. Further, I don’t see how it affects the dollar one way or the other. The only alternative would be the Euro, and we saw its weakness with the financial problems of the US. The simple truth is Europe wants the United States to be the world’s peacekeeper and there are consequences to that, one of which is petrodollars.

    The financial bubble was probably popped by the spike in the price of oil, which in turn was a likely consequence of the US trade deficit. Of course, the trade deficit was a great benefit, at least for a while, to China and third world manufacturers that sold products to the US.

    The problem with Petro euros is the European dependence on Russian oil. BTW, most of the foreign US oil comes from Canada and Mexico, not from the Middle East

  42. acardnal says:

    Shoofoolatte wrote, “My two favorite priests served as military chaplains during the Vietnam War. Both are deeply disturbed by the militaristic support that goes with this collection.”

    There is no “militaristic” support in this collection. Nations – like individuals – have a right, a duty, an obligation to defend themselves against the unjust aggressor. To do otherwise is a lack of charity.

    Chaplains do not carry weapons or use them. They are on the battlefield to provide the sacraments . . . particularly to those who are dying.

  43. Heather F says:

    Do these jokers disapprove of prison ministry, too? Should we disband prison chaplaincy because we disapprove of how a particular country administers its justice system?

    Because that’s what wanting to disband military chaplaincy because you disapprove of militarism is kind of like.

  44. RJ Sciurus says:

    Why is it that KC is the one that always gets nuked??? http://youtu.be/7VG2aJyIFrA

    Of course, it DOES make for the best BBQ.

  45. S.Armaticus says:

    I must be hanging out on the wrong blogs, but I thought the “disband the military” crowd was comprised entirely of the “nuns on the bus” and their fellow travelers. Didn’t expect to find it here. ;) But seriously folks, the Romans had a great maxim with respect to what could be called their “survival instict”, and it went something like this: “Si vis pacem, para bellum”. We all have to deal with it. :-) As for the Military Chaplaincy, great cause. The folks at Rorate Caeli have a Purgatory Society and they have a couple of military chaplain offering Masses for the Church Suffering.

    PS @ Andreas, a big U rah!

  46. etm says:

    I used the link Fr Z provided since my parish skipped the second collection for Military Services.
    Sebastian this quote is posted on the locker of a cop who has gone on his final patrol.
    It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.
    It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.
    It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
    It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag,
    And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag. 
    By: Father Denis Edward O’Brien M.M. USMC

  47. robtbrown says:

    RJ Sciurus

    Oklahoma Joe’s for ribs. Jack Stack for baked beans

  48. Suburbanbanshee says:

    There’s nothing inappropriate about urging peace.

    However, both the Old Testament and the New are full of soldiers and war, and God isn’t condemning them or their business. He is busy fighting a war Himself, and He is the Lord of Hosts. Moreover, I think we all remember that Jesus’ disciples prominently included centurions and soldiers of the Roman Empire, whom He did not call to leave their duties, but only to carry them out fairly. The ranks of the Early Christians were full of Roman soldiers, to the point that our dismissal from Mass is a military dismissal. The ranks of the saints are full of military saints and warfighting kings, queens, lords, ladies, and common soldiers and mercenaries. One of the saints of Fatima is a medieval knight and general, for goodness’ sake.

    You could find a fair amount of (stupid) evidence from the Bible that left-handed people are weaker and aren’t loved by God — which is probably why He made sure that the awesome left-handed Benjaminites were mentioned in the Bible’s chronicles. You can’t find even that much against soldiers.

    So be for peace, especially peace that’s not stupid and bound to cause worse death numbers than war. But don’t be against soldiers, unless you’re planning to snub Heaven for not being exclusive enough.

  49. pannw says:

    So how do you honor them/us, Shoofoolatte?

    My husband and I were married by a Catholic Navy Chaplain, while my husband was still active duty and I was in the Active Reserves. Deo gratias.

    The envelopes were not in our monthly packet, but they were handed out with the bulletin at the start of Mass and Fr. announced it before the regular collection was taken. Servant of God, Father Kapaun, pray for those who serve our country in defense of freedom, even and especially when the politicians that rule over them do not.

  50. Arele says:

    Was this collection for the Military Archdiocese a national thing? There was no mention of it at our church today and certainly no collection taken.

    Did we miss something we should have done?

  51. robtbrown says:

    Ft Leavenworth had a separate Catholic Chapel, St Ignatius, separated erected by Catholics and dedicated in 1889. It was destroyed by a fire in 2001, and an empty lot exists. Requests to rebuilt at no expense to the govt were denied. Catholics now have to worship in an all purpose building.

    NB: The denial to rebuild happened under the Bush administration.

  52. TomD says:

    This is a bit of an aside, but the belief that pacifism is a necessary part of Christian ethics may be based, in part, on an incorrect translation of Exodus 20:13.

    The Hebrew word ratsach . . . which has been traditionally translated as kill, as in “Thou shall not kill,” does not mean a general prohibition against the taking of life. Although some English translations more accurately render it “Thou shall not murder,” that is not completely accurate either. Ratsach means something closer to “Thou shall not take life unjustly.” Thus even accidental death, if unjust, is included within the biblical prohibition.

    Although the exact meaning of ratsach in context is difficult to precisely determine , it should be clear that ratsach does not include a general prohibition against the taking of life. Therefore a pacifist approach is not faithful to the Ten Commandment prohibition.

  53. Imrahil says:

    Therefore a pacifist approach is not faithful to the Ten Commandment prohibition.

    Especially since, whatever ratsach means, in Exodus there are commandments (in the lesser sense) of behaviour in war*, and (judicial commandments) about administration of the death penalty.

    As our German (rather youth-cultural) saying goes, “who can read is clearly in advantage”.

    [* Though it is interesting that Sacred Scripture – in its judicial part, again – contains rather generous decrees on what we now call indispensability and capability. Who has recently married, planted a vinyard, etc., is judged indispensable and exempt from military service; who declares to his superiors that he is too cowardly to proceed, is judged incapable. I inevitably say this from a background of conscription; of course in a professional army, all that falls away.]

  54. bookworm says:

    “Although the exact meaning of ratsach in context is difficult to precisely determine , it should be clear that ratsach does not include a general prohibition against the taking of life.”

    C. S. Lewis expressed the same idea in “Mere Christianity” and added: “All killing is not murder any more than all sexual intercourse is adultery.”

  55. lsclerkin says:

    One of my fave movies from my youth.

    Wondering how close we are to Defcon 1? In more ways than one…

  56. Hilleyb says:

    On the other hand, our 4th Degree Knights of Columbus took a bus trip to West Point for their vigil mass. There were about 30 of us in tuxedo (but no swords!). Thank you to the cadets of the council there for the coordination and hospitality.

  57. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    It is very true that the Catholic faith does not require strict pacifism.

    Catholic doctrine does, however, set forth conditions under which the waging of war is morally licit. I have copied and pasted some of these from an article that appeared in Catholic Answers below.

    Unfortunately, as one reads over the requirements for the waging of a Just War, one may find oneself calling to mind the ancient adage, “My country, right or wrong; When right, to be kept right; When wrong, to be set right; but right or wrong, my country.”

    Because in a number of instances, both in the past, as well as today, our dear Nation has fallen short of the moral law in her conduct on one or more points in this regard. May God bless her and help her!

    “The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

    “the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
    “all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
    there must be serious prospects of success;
    “the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

    “Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely. Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide (CCC 2313).

    “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons — especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons — to commit such crimes (CCC 2314).

    This last criterion would be of special historical concern for us as American Catholics. Think of Atlanta (1864); Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1945), etc. Although our cause was just in each of these wars, not every act of war is necessarily just. You have to have both – a just cause, and consistently just actions throughout. These are very difficult to obtain, and many, many wars throughout history provide sad examples of failure in one or both of these.

    A truly just war, righteously fought under righteous conditions, is morally licit, but probably rather rare in comparison with all of the wars mankind has been involved in through the ages.

  58. Phil_NL says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae,

    An unjst act committed during a war does not make that war itself unjust. Equally, buying a car does not become ex post facto sinful if the back seats of that car are then used for adultery; for that one must have had such a purpose in mind when buying the car… The demand you claim of having consitently just actions during a war cannot be made, as it would preclude all war, and thereby would even condemn allied action in WWII or oppossing Al Qaida. Going to war with an ill-disciplined force which one knows will commit atrocities the moment the chance arises is another matter, but that does not hold for any modern military.

    The decision to go to war – and that’s one that cannot be taken back, ordinarily – should therefore be judged on its intention at the start. And since one cannot know – must less judge – what goes on in the heads of the policy-makers, I daresay that the situation is precisely the other way around: for most wars, one cannot say with any certainty that the decision to wage war was unjust.

    Moeover, and I said that here in another thread as well: for 19 centuries, the Church was much less vocal about, and much less disapproving of, armed conflict; it was seen as one of the normal functions of the state and/or sovereign. Yet from a moral persepctive, war itself has not been fundamentally different in the last century from all the wars in history that went before. In fact, one gets the feeling the Cathechism, by emphasising the consequences of WMD, fails to recognize that while modern wars may be fought with much more powerful weapons, the habits of war also have changed for the better – the customary three days of looting (which often included rape) of a city that was captured by storm are luckily a thing of the past, to name but one example. It’s hardly clear if a 21st century war would be worse in its effects from a 16th century one.

  59. robtbrown says:

    1. The military is a profession (perhaps the only profession) where someone can be killed because of the incompetence of a political appointee. And then there is the matter of deploying for the Afghanistan on the day before Christmas.

    2. The military does not make policy.

    3. Just War theory arose during the time when armies met in a field. Its applicability in contemporary warfare is not always valid. Obviously, the invasion of Poland by the Soviet Union was unjust, but doesn’t mean the Iraq invasion was. It’s correct to say that non-combatants shouldn’t be harmed, but in an era when industrial/technological production is so important in war, the definition of non-combatant is not so clear.

    4. It’s best not to oversimplify nuking Japan.

    a. The US killed more firebombing Tokyo during the previous month.

    b. The Soviets had just declared war on Japan. Which is worse? Nuking Japan or letting the Soviets move in?

    c. Iwo Jimo and the subsequent island battles had been American bloodbaths. And the invasion of Japan would have produced thousands of US casualties. Nuking Japan stopped the war and stopped Americans dying in combat. A commander wants victory with minimal casualties–I wouldn’t want to serve under one who thought otherwise.

    5. General Sherman (whose son because a Jesuit) was right: War is hell.

  60. TomD says:

    Within the context of just war theory, to what extent is the failure to act against evil itself an immoral act?

    If we hesitate to act against evil and aggression, due to legitimate considerations of life, doesn’t this hesitation also frequently lead to the unjust loss of life? If the answer is, we must never directly do anything that leads to the death of the innocent, what if doing nothing leads to the death of the innocent? A decision not to militarily intervene in Vietnam, for example, would not have been as moral a decision as some would like to believe.

    In our fallen world, sometimes the answers are not so pure . . . when evil acts in our fallen world, the innocent die, both when we respond and when we do nothing. In the face of evil and aggression, we must take every facet of the implications with respect to the sanctity of human life into consideration and pray for guidance and wisdom in the decisions that we make.

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