Abortion “Intrinsically Evil,” Capital Punishment “Morally Neutral

Kansas City, Missouri, Catholic Bishop teaches why capital punishment is a valid Christian moral choice but abortion is not.

http://catholickey.org/2016/10/20/weighing-the-issues/

 

The key concept that erroneously morally props up all Catholic killing that is designated “just” is one that cannot be found in the teachings of Jesus. It is the idea that Catholic popes and bishops designate with the words “intrinsically evil.”  It goes like this. Some acts are so evil that there can never be an excuse for doing them. They are evil per se. Examples of such acts according to popes and bishops are artificial contraception, abortion, killing innocent people, and today, but not for most yesterdays, slavery. The alternative designation of an act is that it is morally neutral. Examples of these acts are capital punishment and the slaughter of war for which there can be an excuse for engaging in them. So who determines what is intrinsically evil and how is this determined? Is it by what Jesus teaches? Or is it by way of some philosophy or another? Beyond abortion, euthanasia, embryo destructive research, acts of racism, and same sex marriage mentioned by the Catholic Bishop from Kansas City that are cited what else is intrinsically evil, e.g. swearing oaths, not following Jesus’ new commandment to love as He love, not loving all enemies, even lethal enemies, not putting up the sword as Jesus ordered Peter to do? If not doing what God Incarnate, the Source and Fount and Standard of all Holiness commands, is not intrinsically evil, what other standard can the Christian have that is higher to determine what is intrinsically evil?

 

The intrinsically evil verses the not intrinsically evil distinction raised between, say, abortion and capital punishment is a distinction that cannot be found in the teaching of Jesus regarding intentional homicide. The “intrinsically evil” versus the “morally neutral” distinction of an act of homicidal violence is a distinction that is an effort to circumvent Jesus’ complete rejection of violence. It is merely situation ethics. Homicidal violence is a morally neutral act that is good or evil depending on the circumstances. If the circumstances are not present that permit it, it is evil. Otherwise it is a morally good act that a Christian may do and be faithful to Jesus.

 

Now, who determines what these circumstances are? Ah, there is the rub! If it is Jesus, no circumstances could ever arise that could morally justify using of homicidal violence. If it is a pope and a bishop controlling and running an institution of great wealth and who desire to stay in the good grace of the violence justifying local politicians, or if it is a kept house-theologian for, say, PNAC, then I am sure a cornucopia of situations and good reasons can be conjured-up and rationalized where the destruction of human beings can be justified or participated in or ignored as a morally acceptable way of following Jesus!  It is simply a matter that whosever ox is being goad has a good reason for setting aside Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies.

 

For example, the Catholic Church says that using a condemn in marital sexual relations is intrinsically evil and can never be done morally, even if it is being used to prevent one of the spouses from contracting AIDS from the other. But it also says that killing people in war can be done morally if there is a good enough reason for doing it. Why a spouse with AIDS is not a good enough reason for using a condom defies rationality, once the “good enough reason” exception to intentional homicide is permitted to be employed as a moral justification to engage in the mass human slaughter of war in direct defiance of Jesus’ explicit teaching in the Gospels. Who determines and how do they determine what is a “good enough reason?” Who determines and how do they determine which acts can never have a “good enough reason” for doing them and which acts can?

 

If Jesus had availed Himself of the loophole of homicidal violence being only morally neutral, which means it can be engaged in if the right circumstances are present that justify it, then He along with Peter and the other Apostles would have violently fought their way out of the Garden of Gethsemane and saved Him from being murdered. If the circumstances and the “good enough reason” ever existed, that made homicidal violence morally justifiable and in conformity with the will of God, the attack on Jesus in Gethsemane would have been the prime example of such a situation and circumstance in the history of humanity. But, Jesus leaves no room for confusion or doubt that homicidal violence as a choice for defense or offence or anything else, e.g. protecting one’s divinely commissioned ministry, is to be completely rejected as the Way to do the will of the Father and as a Way to follow Him. He is clear in all four Gospels that there is never a “good enough reason” for it.

 

A popes or bishops telling people century after century how to do morally what is the morally impossible by the standards of Jesus is not the commission a pope or bishop is given by Jesus (Mt 28:20). Jesus explicit and unambiguous commission to popes and bishops reads, “Teach them to obey all that have commanded you.”

 

To anticipate here the usual objection raised by popes and bishops to what has just been said —“We have to also teach our people how to apply the teaching of Jesus”—let us noted in large upper case letters that an irrational, illogical extension of Jesus teachings is not a valid or authentic expression of fidelity to the commission given to them: “Teach them to obey all that I have commanded you.” Why? Because, God as revealed by Jesus in the Gospels is Logos (Jn1: 1ff), because the God of the Gospels isLogos, because God Incarnate, “made flesh” is Logos. The moral will of the God of Christians is not and cannot be self-contradictory because God is Logos and therefore God cannot be self-contradictory, communicating on Monday by His Word that an act is evil and then communicating on Tuesday that the act is good.

 

Justified violence, as a moral option for Christians is in the end a distortion of the image of God as revealed by, in and through Jesus. The terrible questions that remain open for dialogue as of today are these: Does the proclamation of a God of justified homicidal violence by a Christian amount to idolatry? Or, is it what Jacques Maritain calls “the practical atheism of Christians” hiding behind sophisticated or less than sophisticated mere speculative philosophy rooted in concupiscence, nurtured disordered desires? Whatever morally justified homicidal violence for Christians is, it is never the teaching of Jesus and never can be a logical extension or application under any situation or circumstances of the teaching of Jesus—“good reasons” notwithstanding.

 

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

The First Joyful Mystery:

The Annunciation

 


In the Mystery of the Annunciation three “Yes”es are necessary. Each “Yes” has to be spoken in the context of a potentially horrific future.

Mary must say “Yes” to carrying Jesus in her womb for nine months, and in her heart forever. Her “Yes” would bring with it the probability of being set aside by Joseph, to whom she was betrothed, because he would know the child was not his. Being set aside by Joseph would bring with it either death—for she had ostensibly committed adultery, and the just punishment for adultery was stoning—or else a life of shame and of being ostracized by her “spiritual betters.”

Joseph must say “Yes” to that which his reason and nurturing would insist he say, “No.” From his human perspective at the moment, Mary is guilty of adultery. If he does not divorce her or marry her but instead exposes her to the Law, she—and hence the child she is carrying in her womb—will almost inevitably be stoned to death as her just punishment (Dt 22:21-24). This is important because Joseph’s “Yes” is not the “Yes” of justice under the Law; it is the “Yes” of righteousness, the choice of doing out of love—and contrary to his own interests—God’s mysterious and unfathomable will. This “Yes” of Joseph’s is the earthly father of Jesus saying, “Thy will be done, not mine,” thirty-three years before his son, also against His own earthly interests, would say the same thing.

And the third, “Yes,” is God’s. God, “who is love (agapé), must say “Yes” to becoming a human being, a member of a humanity long ravaged by and long subject to every manifestation of evil capable of expressing itself through the choices, including the choices of violence and enmity, of these same human beings. In Jesus, God, “who is love (agapé)must be the human incarnation of that agapé—unconditional, nonviolent, self-sacrificing love for all, friends, strangers, and enemies alike. This Divine choice—to become incarnate as a human being in an environment in which legions upon legions of evil dynamics are operating within human beings and within the institutions they have erected, and to become human with only the power of love (agapé) available to confront and conquer these diabolical forces—is a choice that infinitely surpasses any understandings of justice and of reality. It is a Mystery that is beyond human fathoming because such a choice will inevitably result in a life of having to struggle to love, having to suffer to love, and having to die at the hands of other human beings to love—as God must and will always love on earth He loves in heaven.

In the Mystery of the Annunciation, from the perspective of human beings in their spiritually fallen state, these three “Yes”es defy all notions of what is reasonable, even reason itself. Yet all three “Yes”es were freely given—and of what follows from these three gifts of “Yes,” we are all aware.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

October the Month of the Rosary: A Time for a Consideration

“The Rosary is essentially a contemplative prayer, which requires tranquility of rhythm or even a mental lingering which encourages the faithful to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life”(Congregation of Divine Worship, 2001). The Rosary is a sympathetic participation in and an empathic pondering of the drama that is the life of Mary, whose life is inextricably intertwined with Jesus’ life from the moment of His conception to His crucifixion—and beyond. Prayed sincerely, the Rosary intensifies a person’s encounter with the depth, breadth and immensity, immensity, love, power and glory of the Mystery of God’s Plan for the Redemption of all, through His Word “made flesh,” in Mary’s womb, Jesus the Christ.

 

The interlocking dramas of the joyful, sorrowful and glorious events of Jesus and Mary’s mutual existences as recorded in the Gospels are presented in fifteen acts in the Rosary, each of which is called a Mystery. We sometimes, perhaps ofttimes, lose sight of the mysterium tremendum that lay beneath and within these Jesus-Mary events and we wind-up believing we understand precisely and totally what the Annunciation, Visitation, etc. are. But the Gospel is about God, and God is of immeasurable depth. Every time we ponder a piece of the Gospel we are encountering a piece of, an aspect of, the Infinite. So also it is with every event in the lives of Jesus and Mary of which the Gospel as leave us a record. When we look at Jesus and Mary acting or being acted upon in the Gospels we are looking into windows to the Infinite; we are approaching God-designed doors to a new reality, to a new life. The Mysteries of the Rosary are moments within that larger mystery of God, within the fathomless mystery of existence, within the mystery of our own life, within the mystery of the drama of salvation in God through the Christ-event.

 

The Ukrainian Orthodox religious and social philosopher, Nikolai Berdyaev, writes, “We will either breathe in the atmosphere of the infinite or we will suffocate in the atmosphere of the finite.” The fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary, allow a Christian to breathe in the atmosphere of the Infinite, which is an atmosphere of Unconditional Eternal Love for each and for all. This is why billions people over the centuries have prayed the Rosary as, they observed from one vantage point or another evil, suffering, fear and death making the, individual and /or collective, experience life hopelessly spiritually claustrophobic.

 

I met a little girl by the name of Mary Harrington who told me about the Blessed Mother.

 

Years passed and I attended high school and college and then went to work for the Socialist and Communist movements in the early ’20s. Nevertheless, I often went into churches. One winter when I was working in New Orleans and living across the street from the cathedral there I found great joy in attending Benediction. That Christmas a Communist friend gave me a rosary. “You were always dropping into the cathedral,” she explained.

 

I did not know how to say the prayers of the Rosary but I kept it by me. A year or so later my friend, Peggy Cowley gave me a tiny statuette of the Blessed Virgin, pale blue and white

 

Later still, Sister Aloysia of the Sisters of Charity who lived at St. Joseph’s by the Sea, on Staten Island, taught me to say the Rosary. I had known before, as I am sure many children do, the Our Father. But the Hail Mary and the Salve Regina and the Memorare were new to me.

 

God was our Father, so I could approach Him, daring to say, “Our Father.” But it was reading of Jesus Christ in the New Testament that made me want to put off the old man and put on Christ, as St. Paul said. And who had given me our Lord but the Virgin Mary? It was easy to pray to her, repetitious though it might seem. Saying the Rosary as I did so often, I felt that I was praying with the people of God, who held on to the physical act of the Rosary as to a lifeline, a very present help in time of trouble.

-Dorothy Day

 

Since October is the month of the Rosary and since so many Christian, Catholic and Protestant, whom I know or know of who are resolutely committed to the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, also pray the Rosary, I thought it might be helpful over the fifteen days beginning October 10th to forward a short meditation on one of the Mysteries of the Rosary on each day. Hopefully this will be of some spiritual assistance in aiding some Christians to catch a breath in the Atmosphere of Infinite Nonviolent Love of all from which flows the Mystery of God’s Plan of Redemption of all through Jesus the Christ

 

Charlie

 

P.S. A DVD or a CD presentation of the Rosary being prayer with these meditations on the Mysteries is available from Bob Aroian at raroian@charter.net  or 978-355-2360 for cost of shipping or less.

 

FAST FOOD: FORTIETH HELPING (2016)

 

“On all arable soil in the world we grow grain over tombs. The dead outnumber the living in a ratio of approximately 14 to 1. The estimate of the total number of persons ever born is about 85 billion. 78 billion of them are dead. 7 billion, a segment of which we are part, currently alive for a time. The dead will always outnumber the living.” 

—Annie Dillard

Does Jesus’ teaching by word and deed of Nonviolent Love of all in all situations have any relation to the above facts? Does it have any relation to the dead and soon to be dead?

Maybe an avenue to go down to search for an answer to this question is to ask whether the way of nonviolent love of friends and enemies that Jesus lived and taught has any relation to His resurrection? I would offer that it most certainly does. I would say that the relation between the two is intrinsic and essential. Without the struggle to faithfully live according to the Way of Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances there is no resurrection. It is this Way, that Jesus knew was the Way of the Father in heaven—His Father and our Father—and therefore in the face of all temptations to go another way, to this Way He had to be obedient without reservation.

Jesus knew that only the Father can truthfully say, “IAM.” Only the Father has absolute existence. The Father and the Father alone is absolute life. All other forms of existence and life can only say, “I am,” because IAM exists. Therefore, it is the Father who knows what life is, what makes for life, what is the Way of life to life. Obedience to, choosing to follow, His Way, His Will, His Word, is the Way, the only Way that results in reaching life in all its fullness in Life In All Its Fullness. The Father’s Way is the only Way to the Father.

So that every human being can eternally have the fullness of life within the Eternal Fullness of Life, the Father, “who is love (agapé), sends His Word, His Only-Begotten Son, to become a human being so as to reveal to humanity by His words and deeds the Way to the Father, to the fullness of life within the Eternal Fullness of Life. Rev. John L. McKenzie, the renowned Catholic Biblical scholar, writes in his book on the New Testament, The Power and The Wisdom (Imprimatur),

The power which destroys all other powers is the power of love, the love of God revealed and active in Jesus Christ [Emphasis added]. God revealed in Jesus that He loves man and will deliver him through love and through nothing else…The power of love is seen in the death of Jesus; it is seen more fully in His resurrection.

Since there is no violence in Jesus in the Gospels, there can be no violence in the love He reveals as the Way to the Father, which means there can be no violence in the love that leads to resurrection, to the fullness of life in Life In All Its Fullness, God. This is so because “violence and cruelty can have no part with God” (The Roman Missal, 1985, with Imprimatur, Mass for Peace and Justice). Jesus, the Word of God Incarnate is Nonviolent because IAM, God, the Father is Nonviolent, that is—the Holy Trinity is Nonviolent—or more precisely is Nonviolent Love.

Outside of the “Father of all” there is no salvation, no conquering of death, no vanquishing of evil, no eternal banishment of suffering. With and within God, who is Nonviolent Love itself, death, evil and suffering are no more, only life in all its fullness.

It is through and to this Life, the Life of IAM, that Jesus rises from the tomb. It is to this Life that 78 billion “dry bones” long to be resurrected—as well as 7 billion currently “wet bones.” Jesus teaches and promises that this can happen because the power of Nonviolent Love as revealed by Him—but only the power of love as revealed by Him—destroys all powers averse to human beings being delivered from wickedness and its consequences and from all that short-circuits entering into the Fullness of Life for all eternity.

Christlike love is the power of God, which as said above, means it is almighty. Jesus does not explain how within the immense depth and breath, complexity and incomprehensibility of existence it works. He simply shows in His life and death, cross and resurrection that it does work and works in ways beyond all conceptions of the human mind. Because Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances is the power of God, it is ultimately as far beyond human comprehension in its operation as God himself. As God qua God is an impenetrable Mystery, so also is the intrinsic power of His Nonviolent Love. What we do know by way of His Incarnate Word, Jesus, is “that nothing is impossible” for God’s Nonviolent Love.

The near total rejection in the Christian Churches and in the world at large of Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is, as noted before in these Fast Food Helpings, a manifestation of non-belief in Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, the Word of God made flesh, Lord, God, and Savior, as well as, in Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life. For to believe in Jesus as any or all of these necessitate believing Him. God and God’s Word do not lie about God’s will. But the refusal to believe Jesus has terrible negative consequences.

John L. McKenzie writes in his The Power and The Wisdom“The Christian knows that his love is the active presence of God in the world; if he lacks it, he takes away God’s presence f rom the only placewhere he can  put it. He has come between  his neighbor and the saving love of Jesus Christ.” 

The spiritual and moral gravity of a Christian refusing to choose to follow Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love in a situation is severe for the person to whom he or she is relating, as well as, to the person himself. The Christian is specifically chosen by Jesus and Baptized to release Christlike Nonviolent Love—which is the active presence and power of God—in this place at this time for this neighbor, and for other purposes and people within the mystery of human existence that are infinitely beyond his or her awareness and comprehension. As Jesus does not explain evil and death, but only tells us how to conquer them, so also He does not explain how love as He incarnates it conquers evil and death.

I have often heard Christians in both justified violence and nonviolent peace and justice groups say, “I don’t care about that ‘pie in the sky after you die’ stuff. I want Clinton elected or I want Trump elected or I don’t want Bush elected or I do want Obama elected or I want this or that injustice corrected, and if that requires using means not consistent with the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels, e.g., violence, then that is what I will use to get the job done.”

This unconcern for 78 billion of brothers and sisters in the human family who have died and the 7 billion who will die in a short time seems self-evidently superficial and merciless. Not to ask the question, “Is there any way I can be of help to my dead brothers and sisters, and not seriously seek an answer to that question, manifests an indifference to a possible intrinsic obligation a human being may have to other people just by being a human being. A human life is either always and in all circumstances sacred, or it is intrinsically of no account.  It is all 78 billion, plus another 7 billion, which includes you and me, who are sacred or are just junk in the universe. It is inconceivable that it should be in some cases the one, and in some the other. Jesus teaches all are sacred because all are sons and daughters of the “Father of all.” Because of this understanding of God as Abba, Jesus extends the idea of the “neighbor” who is to be loved as He loves to all God’s sons and daughters, not just the people of Israel. The Divine Love (agapé) of which He is the Incarnation is universal; no one is outside of it. That includes the 78 billion who have died, as well as, each sacred one of the 7 billion who have yet to die.

Jesus saves. “Yes!” But how does Jesus save? By merely the snap of the Divine finger?  Obviously not. How does He save you and me and the other 7 billion people who are alive at the moment along with the 78 billion who have died? And, do you and I have a part to play in the salvation process? The answer again is, “Yes.” We play our roll and meet our obligation to our fellow sons and daughters of God by placing Christlike love, which is the power of God to conquer evil and death and the only power that can conquer evil and death, in the places only we uniquely can put it, namely, in the multiplicity of places we, moment to moment, occupy as we traverse here and there on earth. The moment may be a moment of protesting an injustice or a moment of washing the dishes, but if it is done with Christlike love it has the power of God to save within it (1 Cor 13). Its salvific ripples will spread out and touch all God wants them to affect.

The two images of the Resurrection of Jesus at the beginning of this Fast Food Helping are equally valid understandings of the same event. The one on the left is the typical image of the Resurrection one sees in Western Christianity. The one on the right is universally the image or icon of the Resurrection one sees in Eastern Christianity. The Western image magnifies the physical resurrection of Jesus from the tomb with power and glory that render irrelevant the power and glory of this world; the soldiers of the kingdoms of the world are powerless in the presence of the triumph of the Christ Jesus of Nonviolent Love. The Eastern icon magnifies the power and wisdom and mercy of the glory of God made visible in Christ Jesus reaching back in time and space to lift Adam and Eve from their tombs and deliver them and 78 billion others from the bondage of Hades. Note the black space below the cross on which Jesus stands with its broken chains and bars and keys, and evil itself, bound so it can never contaminate human existence again. And emanating from and through both the Western and Eastern images of the Resurrections is this great truth: The Nonviolent Love of all in all situations in history in imitation of the Jesus of the Gospels saves—if given a chance to save.

I would ask Christians, their Churches and their Churches leaders, and Christian peace and justice groups and programs to stop presenting Jesus’ Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as if it were just some secular or philosophical idea or political strategy and tactic with a prayer attached to it. Nonviolence in Christianity is a clarifying adjective, not a noun. To be clear, in terms of Jesus’ teaching by word and deed nonviolence devoid of intentionally chosen Christlike love as its Spirit and motive is of no more ultimate and salvific use to humanity than violence masquerading as Christic love (1 Cor 13). If it is not the Nonviolent Love of all that is God’s Life that one wishes to be about say that clearly, and then do whatever you wish. But don’t tag something other than Gospel Nonviolent Love as the Nonviolence of the Gospel. There is too much at stake for all people, past and present, to engage in such intentional falsification and obfuscation. Conflating and blurring the Nonviolence of the Gospel with other understandings of nonviolence that do not essentially include Christlike Nonviolent Love as revealed in the Gospels may get Clinton or Trump elected, or may get a particular injustice corrected but it will continue the process that murdered the people of Nagasaki, Edith Stein and Franz Jagerstatter on August 9th so many decades ago. It will also continue the diabolical false witness of Christians killing Christians believing they are following Christ as happened on August 9th so many decades ago. And its end result will be to fill the tombs, not empty them.

—Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Attachment of text of FAST FOOD: Fortieth Helping

FAST FOOD: THIRTY-NINTH HELPING (2016)


Giovanni Bugatti
​Pope’s Executioner, 1796-1865
Carried out 516 Execution
The last execution by a Pope was by Blessed Pope Pius IX on July 9,1870. However the Vatican had a law permitting capital punishment until 1969. The Catholic Church today still holds that capital punishment is consistent with the teaching of Jesus. It is against capital punishment today, except in rare cases, because it believes it is not needed today.

The grotesque and blasphemous picture of the Blessed Mother above was published in the summer 2016 edition of the Notre Dame Magazine. The picture accompanies an article titled,For the Children I Would, by a woman working on a master’s degree in English at Notre Dame, while teaching at a Catholic school in South Bend, IN. The article is basically a first person narrative where the author asks herself and her class in an exercise in case book morality the question “what I would do if,” by presenting some short vignettes of scenarios of life threatening situations to herself and others and possible responses. She reaches this conclusion: “I would kill the guy or die trying. I would grab for the most damaging weapon within my reach, the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, fair skinned, blue-sashed, hands clasped in prayer, eyes turned to God, flowers at her feet, and twenty-four inches of heavy, club-shaped plaster, and I would beat his brains out with a statue of the Mother of God.”
 
“Later, with my class gone to PE and the room quiet,” the author writes, “I looked at Mary so serenely poised there on her limestone pedestal. I imagined that Mary could have had that fighting thing within her. How could a mother not allow that protective beast within her to act? Maybe she did try to fight [to save her Son], and the scribes didn’t write it down for us to read these thousands of years since. Mary has been a spiritual help to me throughout my life. If run and hide won’t work, she will give me more strength in the fight.”
With all the bright people at Notre Dame and all the subjects that could be written about, this is what is published! Why?
 
This same issue of the Notre Dame Magazine also contained information on this year’s Commencement Speaker, recently retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, and on two powerhouse Washington politicians who were given a medal for being “Outstanding Catholics.” Both, since 2003 have voted for every appropriations bill funding the human slaughter in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. One is even publicly pro-abortion.
Out of 65 million Catholic in the U.S this is the best that the richest and most well known Catholic University in the U.S. can do? Why?
 
Perhaps it is fortunate Bugatti is dead or he, upon retirement from his prestigious position, would have been given an “Outstanding Catholic” medal or invited to give the Commencement address. But maybe not, for he only participated in killing 516 human beings.
 
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: THIRTY-EIGHTH HELPING (2016)

“To sate the lust for power more horrid still,

The foulest stain and scandal of our nature, murder,

Becomes its boast. 

One murder makes a villain, millions a Hero. 

Princes are privileg’d

To kill, and numbers sanctified their crime.”

-Beilby Porteus (1759)

 

Murder does not become other than murder because it is mass murder.” 

-Thomas Merton

 

-Wars, conflict, it’s all business. One murder makes a murderer, a million murders make a hero. 

-Charles Chaplin (1947)

 

If you shoot one person you are a murderer. If you kill a couple of persons you are a gangster. If you are a crazy statesman and send millions to their deaths you are a hero.

-Watertown Daily News, (1939)

Christians have not realized yet that what men may not do as individuals they may not do when enough of them are gathered in large numbers to form a political society…A Christian cannot do in a crowd what he cannot do alone.

-Rev. John L. McKenzie, Biblical Scholar

Normalized wickedness, culturally accepted wickedness, glorified wickedness, societally honored wickedness, statistically sanctified wickedness is still wickedness in the mind of Christ-God and must also be understood as wickedness in the minds of His disciples. If it is not identified as wickedness at least in one’s own mind, it will become part of the person and perpetuate itself through him or her in ways beyond anticipation or control. There is much money to be made, many laughs to be gotten, enormous power to be grabbed and prestige and privilege to be had by turning a blind eye to normalized wickedness and treating it as acceptable because “that’s just how thing are.” There is even more money to be made in leading others to do the same. To morally justify a manifestation of wickedness is to become part of the process of promoting that wickedness and thereby unleashing ever more wickedness into the human condition. If for the Christian the ultimate and defining norm of good and evil is the Person and the teaching of the Jesus of the Gospels (and if He is not who or what is), then war is raw wickedness and so is military training, as well as, capital punishment and abortion—regardless of how normal they are in a society or in the institutional Churches.

 

“The Christian obligation of loving one’s enemies—and by implication the sinner—does not require that we cease to recognize the wickedness a person has chosen as wicked and hateful. No higher model of Christian love can be found than Jesus Christ, whose love was not the affirmation of the goodness of men, but a desire to confer on them a goodness that they lacked. There is a world of difference between Christian love toward the sinner and a sentimental sympathy for him. Christian love will spare nothing in order that the one doing evil be redeemed from his condition. Sickly sympathy with the wicked, however, is not true compassion, even for the wicked.”

-Rev. John L. McKenzie, Catholic Biblical Scholar

 The Two-Edged Sword (Imprimatur)

 

To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.

-Confucius

It is a fact that cannot be denied: the wickedness of others becomes our own wickedness because it kindles something evil in our own hearts and minds.

- Carl Jung

If anyone tries to tell you, or tries to convince you, or tries to make you believe that a faithful follower of the Jesus of the Gospels can participate in the wickedness of mass human slaughter in war, say to him or her with your whole soul, whole mind and whole strength, what Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do” For, if you as a Christian, regardless of your position in the institutional Church, do not wholeheartedly reject the untruth that Jesus approves of participation in the mass slaughter in war, you will become that untruth.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: THIRTY-SEVENTH HELPING (2016)

Thomas Merton writes, “People may spend their whole lives climbing some ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” Are the mainline and evangelical Christian Churches and many Christian Peace and Justice groups scaling the wrong wall? They seem to be trying to be “successful”  at scaling the wall of wickedness that is governmental politics. But what if that is the wrong wall? What if the heart of the Gospel is opposed to entering into any process or organization, whether it be the Mafia, the government, the military, etc., that operates and that must operate on”violence, deceit, betrayal and corruption” (see Fast Food Fourth Helping)? 

What if the wall the Christian and his or her Church should be ambitious to scale is the wall St. Paul presents in 1 Corinthians 13: “Be ambitious for the greatest spiritual gift,” which he say is “agape” (love), as defined by “Christ Jesus who is the visible image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15)? What if faithfulness to God for a Christian and for an institutional Christian Church means struggling to live out of the Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as taught by word and deed by Jesus and St. Paul? Indeed, what if faithfulness means rising daily to live our very lives each day to do precisely that above all else as many times as possible daily?

However, a Christlike deed in one moral moment does not ratify doing evil in another situation. A Mafioso giving some money for food or fuel to a poor person in his neighborhood does not validate his being a participant in an institution of systemic violence, enmity and evil. The works of mercy are not works of violence. But, neither do the works of mercy at one time morally validate the works of violence at another time. Constantine (d.337) abolished crucifixion in the Roman Empire. Does this mean that Christians should seek to be politicians, kings, dictators, prime ministers or presidents in order to get their hands on the levers of dominative, coercive, violent power of the state so they can force people by the threat of violence to do good and avoid evil?

Is Jesus’ solution to the problem of violence in the human situation to get all the instruments and agencies of violence into the hands of the good guys, the good politicians of the kingdoms of this world?

Or, is Jesus’ solution to the problem of violence to designate other people to do violence for Him?

If two Mafia gangs go to war against each other how should the Christian respond, if he or she desires to follow the teaching of Jesus? What should his or her Bishop inform that person is morally right Christian choice to make? Should the person join in with the gang that rules the territory he lives in? Should she join the gang that run the protection racket in her area? Should he make a determinations which gang is killing for a just cause or using just means to kill and join it? Should she join the gang that has been most helpful to her in peace time, the time between internecine Mafia wars for territorial control, power over people and greater wealth? Or, should the Christian’s moral stance when confronted with two Mafiaesque gangs going to war be, “I am a follower of Jesus. I’ll take a pass on both of your offers to sign up for duty in your intrinsically violent organizations.” And a Christian Bishop’s public teaching and direction to those in his spiritual and moral care should be what? “Do what you want. Join up or don’t join up; its up to you. I am washing my hands from having any moral obligation to my flock in this matter?” Or should it be, “It is your Christian duty to join the violent organization that is your local protector?” Or should it be, “You are a follower of Jesus, stay away from the wickedness of homicidal violence regardless of who is engaged in it or why. It is better to die by choosing the Way of Christ than to live for a few more seconds by choosing the way of Satan?

Which wall must a faithful disciple of Jesus put his or her ladder against? Christilike nonviolentagape or the wall of violence, deceit, betrayal and corruption” that is politics in any of the kingdoms of this world?

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

 

FAST FOOD: THIRTY-SIXTH HELPING (2016)

Captain Philip S. Mumford was a former officer in Iraq. He gave a speech about why he was against what the British were doing in Iraq. He asked,” What is the difference between throwing 500 babies into a fire and throwing fire from an airplane on 500 babies?” “There is none,” he answered. The date of his speech was January 5,1937.
Either the Bishops individually and/or as a group are ignorant of the politics and realities of war, or else they are chronically and systematically engaged in an extreme form of heinousness in order to keep the institutional Church in the good graces of the government and financially prosperous.This is done by participating, as Christian moral validators and teachers, in the process of sending those Christians whom they were ordained to nurture in Holiness as revealed by Jesus in the Gospels and whom they were to lead to eternal salvation, into the hellacious spiritual and moral environment of lethal combat with all the evils that necessarily entails The extremity of heinous is found in this: these Christians are human beings who had entrusted the care of their immortal souls to the Bishop(s) and he (or they) betrayed that trust with catastrophic spiritual, moral and  psychological consequences to them. They were betrayed by the Bishop(s) because his allegiance to the institutional Church is a higher priority for him then his allegiance to caring for the immortal souls of the “little ones” who trusted he would never lead them into spiritual or moral harm. But, there is nothing new here. The big time executives of any multi-national corporation will throw anybody and everybody—except themselves—”under the bus” for the good of the institution. But the loss to the little ones in a secular multi-national corporation who are betrayed by the executives is only a loss of those things that effect the body, whereas in the Church the loss to the “little ones” effects both soul and body.
As said previously in Fast Food Helping Thirty: “Thirteen years since March 19, 2003, and ten of thousand of Catholics from the U.S. going 7,000 miles to kill Arab people in the Middle East, millions of Arabs killed and maimed including tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of children, and the U.S. Catholic Bishops as a unit (the USCCB), have not spoken a word to morally prohibit U.S. Catholics from taking part in this high-tech slaughter of defenseless and innocent persons post-utero.
But, the institutions of the Church and the institutions of government remain as tightly in a mutually pleasing erotic embrace as ever, and the Catholic Bishops are more eager than ever to be in the Pentagon’s kennel of well-kept moral therapy pets.
Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
P. S. Everything said here about the institutional Catholic Church and its Bishops applies to all other Just Warist Christian Churches and their leaders or rulers. The Catholic Church is simply the Church of which I have the most detailed awareness.

FAST FOOD: THIRTY-FIFTH HELPING (2016)

Men of religious congregations do evil; ministers of God make the congregations feel good about doing it. Rather than guide them in the moral cultivation of their conscience, ministers, with moral nimbleness, blunt that conscience, covering it up with peace of mind.

If you, as Christian ministers do not specify and confront real issues, what you say will surely obscure them. If you do not alarm anyone morally, you will yourself remain morally asleep and inevitably drift to the coming hell. And in all this you will continue well the characteristic history of Christianity, for the Christian record is rather clear: from the time of Constantine to the time of global radiation and the uninterceptible missile, Christians have killed Christians and have been blessed for doing so by other Christians.The verbal Christian belief in the sanctity of each human life has not of course interfered with the impersonal barbarism of Christians in twentieth-century war.

A Pagan Sermon to the Christian Clergy (1958)

 C. Wright Mills

-Emmnauel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: THIRTY-FOURTH HELPING (2016)


        Johannes Ude

If the disciple of Christ is treated violently and gives his life for his conviction, this is not a defeat but rather a glorious victory, an eloquent witness to the power of Christianity, which is called to renew the face of the earth through love. Whoever acts in accord with this is a true hero.          Johannes Ude

There always have been and always will be conscientious objectors, honorable human beings, witnesses with the Christian courage of martyrs, who emphatically preach the great commandment of love and nonviolence to a world fallen away from Christ. They alone are the true heroes because they have an unre­served trust in the ultimate triumph of these commandments which Christ made obligatory.                                                   Johannes Ude

Here we would like to point to an ancient custom in the Vatican that we believe should be discontinued, namely the Papal Guard which includes the Guard of Nobles, the Swiss Guard, the Palace Honor Guard, and the Papal Gendarmerie. During festive occasions these guards put on a mili­tary show. For example, when a pope declares a new saint, they march to St. Peter’s Basilica under military command and in colorful uniforms, with helmets and revolvers, spears and lances, rattling sabers and modern rifles. They are usually greeted by frenetic applause by the multitude of Italians and pilgrims from all over the world. It is impossible to imagine our Divine Lord in such a military procession.

The pope, who represents Christ on earth, should abolish all military pageantry which bring to mind killing and destruction, using Christ’s words, “Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matt 26:52) For no murder weapons are needed to make known the great message of love, including love of one’s enemy. On the contrary, wherever murder weapons are carried and armies raised and trained, it automatically brings to mind that these weapons are not merely toys but, if necessary, can be used to kill and destroy. As deputy of the Lord of love and trustee of His teaching, the Pope should avoid everything that in the eyes of the world has only the slight­est appearance that militarism with its brutal use of violence is sacred and pleasing to God and is necessary because it is approved of, tol­erated, and practiced by most Christians. We believe that Christ’s deputy never needs a sword in order to carry out the mission entrusted to him by Christ and to bring about the peace of Christ and His Kingdom.                                                                                                                                                                                                            Johannes Ude

Pax vobis—peace be with you—should always be on the lips of the Vicar of Christ. How peculiar to hear these words from a Pope, who is surrounded by military units with the latest killing equipment. On the one hand, nearly everyone who sees this display of weapons will automatically think of the slogan, “If you want peace, be armed.” On hte other hand, if the Pope as Christ’s representative on earth advocates: “If you want peace, prepare peace by the works of peace,” why then have a military cohort and displays of murderous weapons?                         Johannes Ude

For no one—except for the defense industry, leaders of nations who are obsessed with the struggle for power, and other beneficiaries of war—will claim that the cunningly organized mass slaughter of both world wars (1914–18) and (1939–) was fortunate for the people of warring nations or paved the way for world peace.                                                                                                                                                                                    Johannes Ude
The Church does not object to the state’s para-military education of its youth. In war and preparing for war, the churches and the state work harmoniously hand in hand, and everything seems so clear and self-evident.The Church not only permits the swearing in of military recruits but also provides a festive setting for the ceremony during which they have to take an oath to follow blindly and unconditionally the orders of their superiors to commit mass murder and destroy cultures. The Church blesses the soldiers as they go into battle. Priests in military uniforms—field chaplains—inflame them to attack and admonish them to do their duty, which means to mow down the enemies, to gas them, to destroy them. In churches citizens of each nation pray for victory of their weapons; and when victory has been attained and hundreds of thousands of soldiers’ bodies are covering the battlefields, church bells are rung and Te Deum laudamus  (“Holy God we praise Thy name”) is sung solemnly in thanksgiving. The citizens are grateful and rejoice that the bloody struggle resulting in the death and mutilation of thousands of soldiers has led to victory. The heroes are praised from the pulpits and, in recognition for special feats in killing and destruction, are decorated. Here state and Church are staunchly and harmoniously united as they have been since the time of Emperor Constantine.                                                                                                      Johannes Ude
 
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: THIRTY-THIRD HELPING (2016)

 Johannes Ude

To avoid the slightest doubt, Christ and the apostles speaking in His name again and again emphasized love of the enemy. How can one reconcile these easily understandable commandments of Christ with the use of vio­lence against an assailant? Who dares to claim that violence, armaments, and war are compatible with Christianity? I can only derive from Christ’s commandments that they are not compatible. To be armed for war means to be always prepared to meet the enemy with violence, to harm and pos­sibly kill him. Is this the love which Christ demands of us? To wage war means to inflict as much harm, misery, and death as possible on the enemy while claiming to bring about peace. Is this the love which Christ demands of us?

How can the citizens of a warring nation say that they are obeying the great commandments to love the enemy and to repay evil with good if they stab him with a bayonet, throw hand grenades at him in order to dis­member him, drop tons of bombs on him out of airplanes, and mercilessly fire canons and machine guns into his ranks? And such people want to be called Christian and Catholic?                                                                     Johannes Ude

My Church teaches me that every person, including the enemy, is my neighbor. Therefore, I am strictly obligated in conscience to conduct myself toward every person with love in my thoughts, words, and actions. The true disciple of Christ has to forego every form of violence; he has to be a conscientious objector, whatever the consequences.                                                                                                                                                 Johannes Ude

Renouncing the use of violence against an assailant is the essence of Christianity which makes love a duty for all hu­man beings. However, this is not cowardice. On the contrary, it takes heroic courage to stand up against a world bristling with weapons and to prefer to suffer humiliation and death instead of harming others by violence.                                                                                                                                                                                             Johannes Ude

If the disciple of Christ is treated violently and gives his life for his conviction, this is not a defeat but rather a glorious victory, an eloquent witness to the power of Christianity, which is called to renew the face of the earth through love. Whoever acts in accord with this is a true hero.                                                                              Johannes Ude

In defiance of a world bristling with weapons, we have to be prepared to give our life, if necessary, in order to demonstrate the love, whose source is God, openly before the whole world, because to be a Christian means to be a witness and if need be, a martyr. Thanks be to God!                                                                                    Johannes Ude

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: THIRTY-SECOND HELPING (2016)

     

 Johannes Ude

Whoever is a Christian, that is, who truly abides by Christ’s teaching, may not touch a murder weapon and does not need a rifle, a revolver, a canon, or poison gas. His defense is nonviolence, and his weapons are love, goodness, compassion, patience, and gentleness.

Johannes Ude

How do Catholic moral theologians, priests, and laymen justify the right of self-defense? Are they not violating the unambiguous words of Christ and His apostles when they declare arming and training for war to be acceptable and the “just defensive war” to be morally permissible? How can they, without contradicting themselves, teach that the great commandment to love includes all people, friend and foe, with no exceptions, and, on the other hand, judge the force of arms, preparations for war and self-defense— the killing of the enemy—to be morally permissible, justified, and even a duty?

Johannes Ude

If our remarks are correct, and we are deeply convinced that they are, all churches, starting with the Catholic Church, instead of supporting the right of self-defense and the right to wage war, have to forbid their members to fight in wars and to defend themselves with weapons or any kind of vio­lence because these are incompatible with Christianity.

Johannes Ude

Whoever believes that military preparations help the economy is like the man who wants to heat his stove with dynamite because he thinks it has greater heating power than coal. After a war the economy is like the dynamite heated oven: exploded and completely destroyed. We have to make a decision. Either we are for canons and renounce Christianity, or we are for Christianity and renounce canons, self-defense, military preparations, and war. Either we are for an “armed peace,’ for military preparations, and the use of violence, but then we may not call ourselves Christians. Or we want to be true Christians, but then we have to profess nonviolence and forego self-defense.                                                                                                                                                 -Johannes Ude

However, if the supporters of war, in order to demonstrate how “Chris­tian” they are, demand that war be waged “humanely” and form organiza­tions which object to the various horrors of war, these people are playing a ludicrous, not to say, a childish role. Either one is for war or opposed to it. If one is for war, then one is for war fought with every, even the cruelest, methods in order to totally destroy the enemy as soon as possible, because that is real war. Every war is the opposite of love, and each war is brutal. If I support war, then I also support also the cruelties committed. However, as a Christian I may not commit even the smallest brutality. A Christian has to be a total conscientious objector.

Johannes Ude

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: THIRTY-FIRST HELPING (2016)

Those who control the writing and publication of church history as a matter of course, consign Christian pacifists to the threshold of oblivion. In twenty-one years of formal Catholic education I had never been taught a sentence about or even heard about such Christians. The sole exception to this was when snide remarks were made about Quakers’ refusal to fight for U.S. However, in every generation of Christianity such Christians have in fact existed, remembered or not. They have proclaimed in their time, often at horrendous cost, the truth of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as taught and lived by the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels. And, when the time was precisely right and their witness was needed for salvation of each and all—Christians and non-Christians—the Lord of history raised them from the oblivion to which the masters of this world thought they had confined them forever.

Yet, I am stunned that in 70 years of being an American English speaking Christian and Catholic I never came across one word about Rev. Dr. Johannes Ude (1874-1965), a highly learned Austrian Catholic priest, theologian and sociologist, who was totally and publicly committed to the Nonviolent Jesus and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, before, during and after Hitler’s Germany. Twice imprisoned for His views by the Nazis, he was nominated twenty-six times for the Nobel Peace Prize by such people as Albert Schweitzer.

How is it possible in the voluminous Catholic newspapers articles, books, journal, religious education materials, and works on Catholic peace and justice that I have read, and Catholic radio and television programs, lectures and sermons to which I have listened, no mention of this priest surfaced in the first 70 years of my Catholic life? More baffling, no mention was ever made of his Catholic theological masterpiece on Gospel Nonviolence, Das Sollst Nicht Toeten(Thou Shall Not Kill) which he completed in 1944, just before being taken off to a concentration camp. How is it possible in all these intervening years no Catholic organization with publishing capabilities has been interested in translating his book into English and putting it before the  English speaking Church membership and before the English speaking world in general?

But thanks to the persevering work of a solitary woman, Ingrid Leder, translating Das Sollst Nicht Toeten into English and thanks to Wipf and Stock publishers who will be releasing it later this year (2016), the English speaking Christian world will have access to this extraordinary Christian and his thoughts on Gospel Nonviolence—thoughts that are presented in the relatively unknown traditional and formal categories Catholic moral theology, which those in power in the Church say validates their claim that there can legitimately be such a moral monstrosity as a war Christians can join in. Ude specifically holds that they do no such thing.

Three Reflections From the Writings of Johannes Ude (all prior to 1944):

  1. 1. An irreconcilable contradiction exists between what is generally taught in the Catholic Church about self-defense, training and arming to fight, and the “ just defensive war” and Jesus’ com­mands of love of neighbor and enemy, as we see in the Gospels, the letters of the apostles and in the lives of the early Christians who refused to go to war. We emphasize that a true Christian has no right to self-defense, to train for war, or to serve as a soldier because all of these are a flagrant contradic­tion of Christ’s teaching about love.
  2. Did the Catholic military vicar proclaim Christ’s teachings when, ac­cording to the Grazer Volksblatt of September 6, 1936, in an address he extolled the status of soldiers as a glorious and God pleasing profession and stated: “Military leaders are committed to the principle, ‘Our hearts beat for God. Our fist beat on the enemy.’”
  3. Every weapon and every violent defense are contrary to the teachings of Christ, which demand that we meet the assailant with goodness and love and allow him to attack us. The weapons of Christ are solely nonviolence, all forgiving love, and forbearance, which suffer even the greatest injustice but never harm the enemy, never return evil for evil. 

No wonder those with political, economic and canonical power in the U.S. institutional Church designated Priest Johannes’ book for oblivion along with its author name.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

 

FAST FOOD: THIRTIETH HELPING (2016)



“Stone walls do not a prison make 
Nor iron bars a cage.”

Psychologically, emotionally, financially, spiritually and socially Bishops are imprisoned in a cult. By choice each has entered into The Cult ofHierarchs. And, like all members of any cult, once chosen the cult is a total immersion, closed reinforcing instrument from which there is almost no possibility of one lone cult member breaking out of the cult cage. In the case of Bishops their cage is a gilded cage.

What chance does an isolated member of a cult have of perceiving the evil in which his or her cult is participating, especially when such awareness would make him or her a threat and persona non grata to the other members of the cult and would result in a loss of many or all of the positive reinforcements that a cult has to offer its compliant members and the imposition of the negative restraints that a cult possesses to keep the non-compliant in their place? The answer is near zero. Even if a cult member is out daily among ordinary people selling flowers at a traffic light or doing some other task the cult orders, there is little possibility of the cult member thinking about escaping.
The reason for this is all cults know if they first imprison the brain of a person, they usually need not worry about how free the body is to interact with everyday people. Once a person enters a cult, especially after a long period of observation, evaluation and vetting by the cult in order to make sure he or she has the “right stuff,” what real chance is there that the person will see even the most bizarre irrationalities and glaring evils that the cult is engages in? There is little chance! It is in the nature of cults that a person cannot see that he or she is imprisoned. The cage in which the person is locked is invisible to the person, because members are trained before and after entering not to see it. The life of a person life in a cult is then one of being unable to see, but imagining that he can see. Indeed, imagining he can see better than others and therefore is entitled to be an overseer of others.

Thirteen years of ten of thousand of Catholics from the U.S. going 7,000 miles to kill Arab people in the Middle East, millions killed and maimed including tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of children, and the U.S. Catholic Bishops as a unit, the USCCB, has not spoken a word to morally prohibit U.S. Catholics from taking part in this high-tech slaughter of the defenseless and innocent person post-utero. Thirteen years and not a peep out of the gilded episcopal cage. That is an achievement in cult single-mindedness, obsequiousness and submission that L. Ron Hubbard would have envied! Cult discipline is the only explanation for 278 highly educated Catholic Bishops—who are ordained to lead Christians placed by Jesus in their spiritual and moral care to live lives in conformity with the Gospel and to save souls—marching as one in lockstep silence for thirteen years, as tens upon tens of thousands of U.S. Catholic are enticed or forced into the wicked world of human slaughter.
 A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks down its narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he open his throat and sings.
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on a distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.
-Maya Angelou, Caged Bird
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: TWENTY-NINTH HELPING (2016)

Jesus is the Eternal Word of God, “who is love,” “made flesh.” As the Word of God Incarnate, as the self-communication of God to human beings, He is Nonviolent and teaches to His disciples, by His choice of words and deeds, a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies. But, “the Word of God is living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joint and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). Such being the case, the Word of God Incarnate teaching and living Nonviolent Love of enemies even unto death must pierce the very being of a Just Warist Christian to his or her innermost depths, revealing, if in fact, he or she believes in and is committed to Jesus as his or her Lord, God and Savior, as her or his Way, Truth and Life—or not.
Receiving the Nonviolent Word of God is a personal communication from God, that is, it is a personal encounter with the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and necessarily calls forth a decision of the will for or against the Nonviolent Person encountered. Aware that the Word of God knows all about human hardness of heart and any strategies of deceit going on in a human heart or mind in order to preserve what now must be cast off if one is to accept the Word of God, this moment of communication can be a stark moment. Indeed, it can be an either/or crisis moment. The Greek word κρίση (krisis) means judgment. It can be a moment of judgment affecting the course of one’s life and destiny. But it is not necessarily, or even usually, only a solitary moment of encounter.
The rejection of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, regardless of the status of the Christian engaged in the rejection, is not the rejection of what one thinks is a lousy idea. It is the rejection of the infallible Word of God personally communicated to a unique person. It is the rejection by the creature of the known will of the Creator. Indifference or dismissal of Jesus’ teachings of Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances is rejection of the Word of God “made flesh,” and not the rejection of a good tip from a good guy on a possible good way to live! The Eternal Word of God, and hence the Eternal Nonviolent Word of God Incarnate, is not just a piece of advise or a mere counsel, it is the Life of God gratuitously communicated to humanity and offered to human beings for the salvation of all people, for living in the Life of God forever.
The Nonviolent Jesus, who is one with His teaching of Nonviolent Love of enemies, is that two-edged sword that reveals the true thoughts and intentions, beliefs and deceits of the human heart. The vigor, indeed the great vigor, with which the mainline Christian Churches have gone about for centuries, and continue go about today, dismissing, demeaning, denouncing, bracketing-out, ignoring, rationalizing away and trying to operationally stamp out of Christian consciousness the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of enemies is a sure sign of the Nonviolent Word of God piercing to the “division of soul and spirit, joint and marrow” of the mainline institutional Churches, revealing to them their “bad faith,” their willful and stiff-necked self-deception and their lax conscience. Revealing also the crisis they are in and the judgment they have made for themselves and will continue to make for themselves because they have become the “big lie” of violence and enmity as a way of following Jesus, which they perpetually propagate to others by every avenue of communication available to them.
 “If today you hear the Word of God, harden not you hearts.”
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: TWENTY-EIGHTH HELPING (2016)

“There is, indeed, no difference between war and murder apart from the fact that the one is on an immeasurably larger scale than the other, and claims an infinitely greater number of victims.That is true of all wars. And the only way to stop them is to say quite definitely that in no circumstances and upon no pretext will we allow ourselves to be dragged into war.

But that, gentlemen, is precisely what you won’t say. You can’t say it, because at heart you believe in violence. That is why, even when you make efforts to establish permanent peace, you can’t think of any means of realising your aim apart from the threat of violence.”

-Hugh Richard Sheppard (1880-1937), English Anglican priest, Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, Christian pacifist.

If heaven were to do again,

And on the pasture bars,

I leaned to line the figures in

Between the dotted starts,

 I should be tempted to forget,

I fear, the Crown of Rule,

The Scales of Trade, the Cross of Faith,

As hardly worth renewal.

 For these have governed in our lives,

And see how men have warred.

The Cross, the Crown, the Scales may all

As well have been the Sword.

                                                                             —Robert Frost

In every generation since Jesus there have been people, Christian and otherwise, who  have seen clearly and denounced the Christianity of morally justified violence.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: TWENTY-SEVENTH HELPING (2016)

The most commonplace example of the cognitive dimension in art is the reader’s recognition—sometimes the shock of recognition—the “verification” of a sector of reality that the reader had known but not known that he had known. You are telling the reader or the listener or the viewer something he already knows but which he doesn’t quite know that he knows, so that in the action of communication he experiences recognition, a feeling that he has been there before, a shock of recognition. And so what the artist does, or tries to do, is simply to validate the human experience and to tell people the deep human truthswhich they already unconsciously know.

-Walker Percy

 Gospel Nonviolence, which proclaims that the Jesus of the Gospels teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies for His disciples, does not tell Christian something they don’t know. It tells them something they know but is not yet recognize for some reason. Or else, it places before Christians something they know but obstinately refuse to admit they know for some reason rooted in fear.
 Over the near fifty years that I have been directing retreats and workshops on the history, theology and spirituality of Gospel Nonviolence, that is, on the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances without exception, or that Christians have been listening to my retreat, Behold the Lamb, on tapes or CDs, I have had untold numbers of people say to me after reflecting on the retreat’s content such words as, “I have known this is the Gospel in my heart for a long time but didn’t have the words to express it even to myself,” or “I have know this all my life but never heard anyone in Church say anything about it, so I pushed it off to some far away place in my mind.”
 When the “shock of recognition” arrives, the Jesus of the Gospels, the only Word of God there is, the only Jesus there is, proclaims a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies and only a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies with Himself as the exemplar and definition of that teaching, simply say a gentle, grateful and wholehearted, “Yes,” to this grace you have received. Then, let the ripples of your life lived in a new truth go out into time and into eternity according to God’s salvific Plan.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

 

FAST FOOD: TWENTY-SIXTH HELPING (2016)

Drill_Seargent_Military_Chaplains2
“There’s strong. Then there’s Army strong.Do your part to spirirtually strengthen our troops.” Be a Military Chaplain.

 

Drill_Seargent_Military_Chaplains

​”There’s strong. Then there’s Army strong.Do your part to spirirtually strengthen our troops.” Be a Military Chaplain.

Satan uses patriotism to delude people into following him. He sends his deceiving spirit of patriotism to whip people into a flag-waving frenzy, which is nothing more than a ritual of pagan idolatry. Face up to the truth Christian just warists—Bishops, priests, ministers, military chaplains laity; dropping 2000 pound bombs on sinners or slitting sinners throats cannot possibly be the will of God as revealed by Jesus. It is the devil’s work. Nothing discredits Jesus more than Christians, especially Bishops, priests and ministers, claiming to be doing God’s will by terrorizing people or by supporting the terrorizing of people—and war is now and always has been terrorism in military costumes

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

URL for all previous Fast Food Helpings:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/glxqoed6fkhhadp/AAD9iNfalEIGL67oI9F0UinOa?dl=0 https://goo.gl/C92GN8

www.centerforchristiannonviolence.org or www.emmanuelcharlesmccarthy.org

FAST FOOD: TWENTY-THIRD HELPING (2016)

The Christian Military Chaplaincy:
An Orwellian Ministry.
Part One 
A Ministry of the Ministry of Truth
 
Friends,
July 29, 2016 is the anniversary of the U.S. Military Chaplaincy. There will be, indeed there already has been, a parade of kudos in the Catholic and Christian press legitimating and glorifying the Catholic and Christian U.S. Military Chaplaincy. A few months ago Catholic News Service asked me to speak on camera about the Catholic Military Chaplaincy as a piece of an eight part series it was creating. What I had to say lasted for over an hour. a small segment of which was used in Part V of the series which I sent to you recently in Fast Food Helping Twenty-One. Since I knew extensive editing would be done to what I had to say, two days later in exactly the same location that the CNS interview took place I restated my position on the Christian Military Chaplaincy almost verbatim on another camera. CNS, I guess, owns the original reflection I made for it. But if that presentation and the presentation I made two days later were placed side by side there would not be a jot of significant difference.
I have broken the hour plus presentation into three logically-ordered, consecutive parts under the general title The Christian Military Chaplaincy: An Orwellian Ministry. Part one is titled A Ministry of the Ministry of Truth. Part two: A Ministry of the Ministry of Love. And part three: A Ministry of the Ministry of Peace. Over the next three days, one per day will our Fast Food Helping. Since each segment is about thirty minutes I am sending one per day in both video and audio-only format via Dropbox. This is the only way the video and audio format could be transmitted together and still be received on a normal computer. I am sending the audio only, an mp3, along with the video because at a length of thirty minutes you may prefer to put the presentation on your iPhone etc. and listen to it in some other place, e.g., bus, car, plane, walking, etc., than in front of a computer screen. To open the Dropbox and access both formats simultaneously, just click on the URL below. Then click on mp3 for audio only or mv4 for video only. If you have any problems with the Dropbox let me know.
I have also attached an exact written transcript of the presentation. The caveat here is that this is a transcript of a verbal presentation and will not read like an essay. But, it is totally accurate.
I hope this is helpful to you in some way in fathoming the depth of the false witness to the teaching of Jesus on violence and enmity in the Gospels, which the U.S. Military Chaplaincy presents to Christians and to the non-Christian public in general with the backing of tens of millions of dollars each year from the U.S. government.
Do send a video, audio or print copy—or all three— to your Bishop, priest, minister and to any military chaplain you may know.
-Charlie

FAST FOOD: TWENTY-SECOND HELPING (2016)

We don’t cut up when mad men are bred by the old legitimate, regular-stock, Established Church religions, but we can´t allow wildcat religions to indulge in such disastrous experiments.” -Mark Twain

There is nothing that ISIS has done or is doing under the auspices of “God’s will” today that Christians, their Churches and their Church leaders have not first done or are not doing under the auspices of  “Deus vult.”

The Telegraph, London, 19 July, 2016

“U.S. air strike killed more than 85 civilians, including children, in Syria on Tuesday. Pictures of the aftermath of the dawn strikes village of Tokhar near Manbij in northern Syria showed the bodies of children as young as three under piles of rubble.” 

America Magazine, 4/7/03

“The head of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, said in a letter to his priests on March 25 that members of the armed forces should carry out their duties in good conscience, because they can presume the integrity of the leaders who decided to go to war in Iraq.”

[For the record, the specific people to whom O’Brien says a Catholic can give a presumption of integrity regarding the truthfulness of what they are saying, which then morally permits a Catholic to kill and maim designated enemies, are Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Perle, Libby, Feith, etc.]

Truth is universally understood to be the first casualty of war. The Greek poet Aeschylus (525BC – 456BC) wrote, “In war, truth is the first casualty.” The evidence of the historical record since 500BC incontestably validates  this statement. Those leading a country into war lie without limit or reservation. How then can a Bishop, any Bishop of any diocese, logically and in conformity with the extremely high and strict standard of moral certainty that must be met before engaging in killing people or causing people grave suffering hold and communicate to those in his moral care that the politicians leading a country into war can be presumed to be telling the truth? He can’t. That is fact, not opinion. This is why no Bishop ever even tries to lay out to his people in detail the Catholic moral principles and their logical application on which he is morally permitting them to go to Iraq etc. and kill and maim other people. So as regards Catholic Bishops, it seems, that neither the moral teaching of Jesus in the Gospels nor the moral teaching in Natural Law Catholic Just War Theory applies to them.

Their personal and collective silence gives moral consent—and they know this— to the Catholics of each of their respective dioceses, to go to the Middle East and continue killing and maiming people by the truck load daily. It is more than past time to stop mouthing the U.S. media mantra, “Why don’t moderate Muslim cleric speak out against ISIS terrorism” Straighten out first your own house of God; war is terrorism. Ask why Catholic Bishops for the last thirteen years have not spoken out against American Catholic military terrorists roaming about and ravaging the Arab population and the Arab countries of the Middle East, thousands of time beyond what ISIS has done?

But then, “We don´t cut up when mad men are bred by the old legitimate, regular-stock, Established Church religions, but we can´t allow wildcat religions to indulge in such disastrous experiments.”

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: TWENTY-FIRST HELPING (2016)

From Catholc News Service

More videos on the Christian Military Chaplaincy are forthcoming.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: TWENTIETH HELPING (2016)

The deceptive and destructive core of the Christian just war doctrine can be stated very simply. It is the claim that wars, or at least some wars, and all the killing and destruction they entail, are good and right, even virtuous and meritorious, pleasing in the sight of God. This calls for a new species or category of homicide: “killing” that is radically distinct from “murder,” a distinction that hadn’t previously existed in Christian ethics. “Murder” violates the will of God and darkens the soul of the murderer, but the other, “new” kind of killing doesn’t. The difference lies not in the level of violence, death, suffering, and destruction involved but in the “intention” of the killer. If the intention is to do the will of God, to do good, which the Christian tradition identifies as the will of God as enunciated by the Bishops of the Church and their ordained spokespersons, then there can be no moral injury to the killer because there has been no moral infraction, no sin. If the intention is to do the will of God, then all is well in heaven and so on earth. Yet, the telling truth is that combat veterans, having followed the Church’s teaching and having the right intention, are haunted by what they have done in war.

 -Robert Emmet Meagher, Killing from the Inside Out

Yet, neither the Just War Churches nor their Just Warist bishops, priests and ministers are willing to hear, see and take seriously this hideous mega-fact of the consequences to Christians of doing what their Bishops told them was the will of God, that is, engaging in violence, indeed homicidal violence, in a so-called Christian Just War. They followed the moral teaching presented to them as the will of God and then were catapulted into a spiritual, moral, psychological and emotional maelstrom of self-hate, horror, shame, guilt and despair.

Twenty-two U.S. veterans per day commit suicide, and in every major war since Korea more U.S. veterans have taken their own lives than have been killed in combat in wars that the Bishops and Church allowed to pass as just wars. When doing good by participating in a Church designated good Christian act, e.g., a Christian Just War, drives prodigious numbers of Christians to metal breakdown (PTSD) and/or to suicide, then there is something fallacious at best and heinous at worst with Bishops and their ordained subordinates proclaiming to those in their spiritual and moral care that Christian Just War Theories are in conformity with the will of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ask your Bishop and your priest or minister about this. Ask them why this indisputable fact of the loathsome and large scale spiritual, moral, psychological and emotional destruction that ensues from participating in a Christian just war has never even once been brought up as an issue for reflection and discussion at any of the U.S. national episcopal conferences. Ask them what matters are more important than this, especially since they are proclaiming daily with vigor, via all their communications avenues, the goodness of Christian Just War Theory  to the Christian adults and to the Christian children of the U.S. and around the world.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: NINETEENTH HELPING (2016)

Forgiveness, complete and total forgiveness of the sinner by God regardless of the heinousness of the sin, forgiveness dependent upon nothing other than a person’s desire to be forgiven, is a non-removable dimension of the Good News revealed by and in Jesus concerning the reality of God who is “Abba,” concerning the truth of “God who is love.” If this were not the case then the Good News would not be Good News, since all human beings sin and all are therefore in need of forgiveness.
But to reiterate for clarity’s sake what has been said in an earlier Fast Food Helping, evil and sin are not synonymous. Evil is what is contrary to the will of God as reveal by Jesus, the Word of God. Sin is freely choosing by an act of the will to do something one knows or believes is evil. If a person, through no fault of their own, does not know that the choice he or she is making in the moment is a choice of evil, he or she has not sinned. They have participated in evil and the consequences of participating in evil will follow, but they have not sinned. An example of this would be the doctor who, through no fault of his own, administers a mislabeled lethal drug to a patient believing it is another drug. The consequences of administering a lethal drug will follow, i.e., death, but the person has not sinned. But if the doctor did know it was a lethal drug, or had reason to suspect it was, the the choice to administer it would not only be evil, it would also be sinful.
Christians succumb to the temptation to sin, that is, to intentionally not follow the will of God as revealed by Jesus, to intentionally not love as Jesus loves, from a myriad of motivations. If a Christian chooses from one motivation or another to not follow Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, when he or she knows that this is the will of God as revealed by Jesus in the Gospels, then he or she sins. God will forgive such a sin 7X70 times, if forgiveness is sought.
It is the implicit understanding of the Gospel that a Christian may at times give in to temptation and intentionally refuse to follow one or more of Jesus’ teachings. Perfection in the Gospel is not perfectionism. Perfectionism is executing a rule or standard without a flaw or failure. Perfection in the Gospel is unending fidelity to the struggle to follow Jesus and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, as well as, to unending fidelity to struggle to follow His other teachings. Struggle implies the possibility of failures in execution. Fidelity implies not giving-up the struggle because of failure in execution, rooted in belief in the Good News of God’s infinite forgiveness.
An appropriate example of what is being communicated here is from St. Basil, the founder of monasticism in Eastern Christianity, a hundred years before St. Benedict founded Western monasticism. Basil was asked, “What is the difference between a good monk and a bad monk?” He responded, “A good monk falls and gets up, falls and gets up, falls and gets up, falls and get up, falls and gets up, falls and gets up, until the end of time if necessary. A bad monk falls and calls it good or refuses to get up and continue the struggle..”
It is a cunning ruse of Just Warist Church leaders and Just Warist Christians to befog the distinctions between evil and sin, between perfection in the Gospel and perfectionism in philosophy, and thereby be able to fluff-off Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as a perfectionist creed for a spiritual elite, and to justify their choice of violence. Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstance is no more a perfectionist creed than Jesus’ teaching of non-adulterous love, or merciful love defined by His words and deeds, or forgiveness 7X70 times is a perfectionist creed. Don’t drink the perfectionists “Kool-Aid” being offered as an excuse to disobey Jesus’ teachings of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: EIGHTEENTH HELPING (2016)

Jesus does not seek to defend the interests of the poor and the oppressed in Palestine by organizing armed resistance against the Romans or against the privileged Jewish collaborators with Roman authority. Armed defense is not the way of Jesus. There is no foundation whatever in the Gospels for the notion that violence in defense of a third party is justifiable.
-Richard Hays
 Dean of Duke Divinity School and Ivey Professor of New Testament
However, all Christlike means to defend the poor, the oppressed and the third party, up to and including laying down one’s life, or some segment of it, are available for use by the Christian and Christian community and ought to be utilized. The choice of Christlike means may on some occasions result in death in one form or another, but such is  also the case with choosing non-Christlike means, e.g., violence. But, to reject the means of violence in defense of self or the other and risk death to oneself or the others rest squarely on a person’s answer to the question of authority with which Jesus confronts Peter, “Who do you say I am?” If a person responds as Peter did, “You are the Messiah, the Christ the Son of the living God…Where else can we go, you have the words of life,” then that person can live securely under the authority of  Resurrected Jesus’ counter-intuitive wisdom, which reject violence even in an earthly life and death moment.
 
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: SEVENTEENTH HELPING (2016)

A major loophole that Christian Just Warists have manufactured to try to theologically legitimate their obstinate refusal to obey Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is to reduce this teaching to a private option rather than a universal  obligation of discipleship. On the one hand since the nonviolence of Jesus in the Gospels cannot reasonable be denied, the Christian Just Warists have to say that the rejection of violence and enmity is an acceptable understanding of God’s Will and the Way of Jesus, and the Christian may follow this path. On the other hand the Christian Just Warists engaging in or supporting, as they do, massive homicidal violence, full throated enmity and self-evident disobedience to many of Jesus’ imperative teachings, such as, “love your enemies,” “put up your sword” and “love one another as I have loved you,” need and want moral cover, especially since so much of their human slaughter was and is on the direct orders of and/or on behalf of a Popes, a Christian emperors, a Christian ethnic groups and/or Christian states.
So Christian bishops and theologian came to the rescue and contrived a theological loophole to the explicit teaching of the Nonviolent Jesus so that Christian Just Warists could substitute homicidal violence for Christlike love with a clear conscience and with the blessing of the institutional Church, its bishops, priests and ministers and members. What they did was to tell people that contrary to Jesus’ very words, “and teach them to obey all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20), Jesus did not expect all of his disciples to be obedient to His teaching of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, but only some of His disciples. That, He in fact chose most of His disciples to be killers and haters of enemies. The rejection of violence and enmity was morally equated with taking a vow of poverty or celibacy, acceptable for a certain type of Christian personality but was by no means meant for all whom Jesus choose for discipleship. One will look until Gabriel blows his first note and not find Jesus, explicitly or implicitly, making this exception to His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies in the Gospels.
This ploy, which reduces Jesus rejection of violence and enmity to a mere optional “counsel of perfection,” is seldom employed in Protestant Churches or in Orthodox Churches, however, it is shot through Catholic moral theologies and pastoral practices. It is the ground that legitimatizes conjuring up Christian Just War Theories. From people at the highest levels of peace and justice work in the institutional Catholic Church I have heard it said more than once, “Nonviolence in the Catholic Church is just for a sect for perfectionists.” On all occasions when asked to validate that statement as Jesus’ understanding in the Gospels, the speaker has either quickly walked away “to a  previously scheduled meeting,” or if stated in a lecture forum has always responded by pointing to someone else in the audience and saying, “Next question, please.”
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD: SIXTEENTH HELPING (2016)

“Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his Mother, ‘Behold this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and you yourself a sword shall pierce, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed'” (Lk 2:34-35).


At 5:29:45 A.M. in the  New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945 at an operation code-named ‘Trinity,’ a new weapon by which governments could kill people is introduced into human history—the Atomic Bomb.
 
What difference does it make to a mother whether the child of her womb is killed by a superbomb made by super smart people or by the dagger of a illiterate soldier thrust into her son’s side?
Every mother, including the Mother of Jesus, says, “Whatever you do to my child you do to me.”
Jesus, the Incarnation of “God who is love,” says, “Whatever you do to the least  you do to me.
 
The Christian Just Warist bishop, priest, minister and theologian says, “Whatever you do to the least you do to Jesus—except when killing and maiming enemies in war.” 

FAST FOOD: FIFTEENTH HELPING (2016)

Some moments, in retrospect, decided everything. When the two most towering minds and influential thinkers in the history of Western Christianity, Augustine and Aquinas, neither of whom knew Greek, the language of the New Testament, came to the conclusion that not all killing was murder and that not all wars were evil, they sealed away in silence one of the most profound and potentially transformative bits of Gospel truth at the core of that very faith to which they had confessedly dedicated their lives, namely, that love is more powerful than hate and that it is better to die then to kill. They and those who followed them came to see the pacifism of the early Church as mere “passivism,” as doing nothing, as unrealistic, naïve, and irresponsible. In arming Christians for righteous battle, they disarmed the radical challenge and alternative to war embodied in the early Christian community, whose own “heroes” gave their lives as willingly as any warriors, while refusing to take the lives of others.

- Robert Emmet Meagher , Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War 

 

What Jesus teaches by word and deed about violence and discipleship is the logical opposite of Augustine and Aquinas. Why does His authority carry less weight among most Christians of all ranks in the Church than that of Augustine and Aquinas? Or, why is their authority equated with that of God Incarnate, so that a Christian is permitted a choice between following the Way of the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels or following the way of the violent Augustine and Aquinas?

 

-ECM  

FAST FOOD: FOURTEENTH HELPING (2016)

With regard to violence the New Testament bears a powerful witness that is both univocal and pervasive for it is integrally related to the heart of the kerygma and to God’s fundamental purpose…None of the New Testament witness makes any sense unless the nonviolent, enemy-loving community is to be vindicated by the resurrection of the dead. Death [by violence] does not have the final word. In the resurrection of Jesus the power of God has triumphed over the power of violence and pre-figures the resurrection of all creation. The Church lives in the present time as a sign of the new order God has promised. All the New Testament text dealing with violence must therefore be read in this resurrection perspective.

Paul’s counsel that we should bless our persecutors, eschew vengeance, and give food and drink to our enemies makes sense if and only if it really is true that “night is far gone, the day is near” (Rom. 13:12)—the day when all creation will be set free from bondage (Rom. 8:18-25). To put this in theological shorthand, the New Testament’s ethical teaching must always be situated within the context of this hope. If we fail to read the New Testament texts on violence through the lens of this post-resurrection new creation, we will fall into one of two opposing errors: either we will fall into a foolish utopianism that expects an evil world to receive our nice gestures with friendly smiles, or we will despair of the possibility of living under the “unrealistic” standards exemplified by Jesus. But if we do read the texts through the lens of the new creation, we will see that the Church is called to stand as God’s sign of promise in a dark world. Once we see that, our way, however difficult, will be clear. “The King of kings, the Lord of lords is the Lamb who was slain.” The power of violence is the illusionary power of the Beast, which is unmasked by Jesus’ cross and resurrection and by the faithful testimony of the saints. 

-Richard B Hayes, The Moral Vision of the New Testament

Again, therefore the words of Jesus, e.g., ‘Love your enemies,” “Turn the other cheek,” “Put up your sword” (disarmament) etc., cannot be accurately interpreted and put into practice separated from His person—in this instance, His crucified and risen person.

FAST FOOD: THIRTEENTH HELPING (2016)

Since Jesus cannot be detached from His teachings and still be the Jesus of the Gospels, can the teachings of Jesus be detached from Jesus and still be His teachings? Are Jesus’  statements “Love your enemies,” or “turn the other cheek”  the same teachings that Jesus communicated, if detached from the person of Jesus? The answer is they are not! The words may be the same but the meaning of those words changes once they are disassociated from the person of Jesus.
For example, what Gandhi means by nonviolent love towards friends and enemies is not what Jesus means by those words. Gandhi allows for violence under some circumstances. No such allowance is made by Jesus. Nor, does the Catholic Church mean by nonviolent love towards friends and enemies what Jesus means by nonviolent love towards friends and enemies. It like Gandhi—albeit with a different rationale than Gandhi’s— allows for violence in certain circumstances. The crossroads where interpreters of those words part company is at the point
of the person of Jesus being the reality through those words are to be interpreted. The previously noted statement by Benedict XVI in the Fifth Fast Food Helping is pertinent here: “Jesus did not leave behind Him a body of teachings that could be separated or distinguished from His ‘I.’ ‘I’ and His words are indistinguishable. 
The love that Jesus proclaims in words is identical, is absolutely one, with the love He proclaims by His person in deeds. Therefore all interpretations of the love, which Jesus announced is the love of “God who is love,” the love that is God’s will, the love that saves each and all, the love that is meant in “love you enemies,” the love that motivates a Christian to “turn the other cheek,” must be love in total identity and conformity with Jesus’ last and new commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Any interpretation of anything Jesus said or commanded other than one that is focused through His “new commandment,” any understanding of His words other than through their total identity with His person is not an interpretation consistent with the meaning of His words in the Gospels.
“Follow me,” indeed, means follow in faith His teaching as well as His person, but it also means follow in faith His person as well as His teaching, because “word and ‘I’ are indistinguishable.”
Perhaps here we have hit upon the tragic flaw of contemporary Christians Peace and Justice groups, including Nonviolent Christian Peace and Justice groups, namely, the presenting of the words of Jesus as an ethical norm for Christians and/or non-Christians to follow without the proclamation of the person who is the incarnation of the definitive and infallible content of those words. This reduces the words of the Jesus of the Gospels to the moral equivalent of the “ideas of great thinkers whose word can be interpreted and evaluated without reference to the person.”
The Christ of faith cannot be separated from the Jesus of history and His teachings as the Constantinian Churches have done. But what is equally true is that the Jesus of history and His teachings cannot  be separated from the Christ of faith. As the refrain from the old song says, “You can’t have one without the other.” The effeteness of both the Constantinian Christian Churches and Christian Peace and Justice groups, nonviolent or otherwise, can be significantly attributed to trying to proclaim “one without the other.”

FAST FOOD: TWELFTH HELPING (2016)

“As a mundane proverb “Turn the other cheek” is simply bad advice. Such action makes sense only if the God and Father of Jesus Christ actually is the ultimate judge of the world and if his will for his people is definitely revealed in Jesus. To use Matthew’s own language, turning the other cheek make sense if and only if it really is true that the meek will inherit the earth, if and only if it really is true that those who act on Jesus’ words have built their house on a rock so that it will stand in the day of judgment. Turning the other cheek makes sense if and only if all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus.”

-Richard B. Hayes, The Moral Vision of the New Testament

 Richard Hayes is Dean of Duke Divinity School and the Ivey Professor of New Testament.

FAST FOOD: ELEVENTH HELPING (2016)

Faith in the Jesus of the Gospels as “the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God,” the Word of God “made flesh,” “Lord,” “God” and “Savior” is faith, it is not logically derived or empirically self-evident knowledge. Arguments over whether Jesus is who the Gospels say He is are fruitless. Jesus being the Messiah, etc. can never be proved true or false by reason, no more than the validity of His teachings can be proved true or false by reason alone. Faith in His teachings stands squarely on faith in Him. If in faith a person believes Jesus is Lord, God and Savior, then on this same rock of faith the truth-authority of His teachings stand. It is therefore important to recognize that minus faith in Jesus as the Messiah, etc., His teachings have no more or less truth-validity than the words of any other human being. And, as with the truth content of the words of any of us, Jesus words, e.g, on the Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, are then open to dispute based on experience and/or logic. But if one’s faith is that Jesus of Nazareth is the Word “made flesh” etc., then the truth-content of His words, e.g, on the Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, is 100% infallible. Saying, “I believe,” to the Jesus of the Gospels, cannot then be other than saying, “I believe,” to what He taught as good and evil, right and wrong, as God’s Will and Way in the Gospels—unless, one’s faith in the Jesus of the Gospels as “the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God,” the Word of God “made flesh,” “Lord,” “God” and “Savior” is faith in a Jesus who is perceived as a liar or as ignorant of the Will of the Father.

 

FAST FOOD: TENTH HELPING (2016) 

John Dominic Crossan (b.1934) is an Irish-American New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity and former Catholic priest, who has written twenty-eight books both scholarly and popular. Crossan is a major scholar in contemporary historical Jesus research. He earned his Doctor of Divinity in 1959 at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, the Irish national seminary. He then completed two more years of study in biblical languages at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. In 1965 Crossan began two additional years of study (in archaeology) at the Ecole Biblique in Jordanian East Jerusalem.  In the fall of 1969 he joined the faculty of De Paul University, where he taught for twenty-six years until retiring in 1995.  Crossan also served as president of the Chicago Society of Biblical Research in 1978–1979, and as president of the Society of Biblical Literature in 2012.

“Is the God of the Christian Bible violent or nonviolent? It is really the only question worth asking.”—John Dominic Crossan
(16 minutes)

 

FAST FOOD: NINTH HELPING (2016)     

A Pledge Every Bishop, Priest and Minister Should Make to Jesus

I cannot and therefore will not use my ministry to bless, sanction or support any war.

-Composed by Rev.John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964)

“It is admirable to denounce war in general, but it is not enough if denunciation of war in general can be changed into approval of a particular the very instant that this particular war is imminent? Somewhere there is a fundamental fallacy here. War, like slavery, cannot be wrong in one place and right in another place. War, like religious persecution, cannot be justifiable for Englishmen and unjustifiable for Germans. One and the same thing cannot be right and wrong, just and unjust, at one and the same time. Here in the fact of war do we have a perfectly simple and well-understood social phenomenon. It has presented the same general characteristics and followed the same processes of action from the ancient day of clubs and stones to the modern day of Zeppelins and super-dreadnoughts. Those who engage in it, on the one side or the other, engage in identically the same work of plunder, pillage, destruction, deceit and murder. Now is this thing called war right, or is it wrong? Study it—judge it on its own merits—put aside all the ambitions, prejudices, emotions, illusions and fears of nationalism—and what must the verdict be!” 

- Rev.John Haynes Holmes, New Wars for Old, 1916 (13 editions)

FAST FOOD: Eighth Helping (2016)

“As I reviewed my past history, I perceived that I had drunk in this idea of the impracticability of Jesus’ teaching of non-resistance with my mother’s milk, and the rest of my life after, only confirmed me in this strange error. How was it that believing or trying to believe the Jesus who taught this was God, I still maintained it was not to be obeyed? Well, from infancy to manhood, I learned to venerate what was in direct contradiction to Christ’s law. The whole organization of my life agreed in calling Christ’s teaching impracticable and visionary, and by word and deed taught me what was opposed to it. Thus my error rose…But now I understand. This commandment is like a key which opens everything, but only when it is thrust into the lock.”

—Leo Tolstoy, My Religion

Trinity Site, July 16, Day of Prayer

Trinity Site, July 16, Day of Prayer

MOTHER OF NUCLEAR SORROWS

Friends,

Ten days from today, July 16, marks the 71st Anniversary of the entrance into the human condition of murder by nuclear energy. On July 16, 1945 at Trinity Site in the New Mexico desert the first atomic bomb in the history of the world was exploded. For the last 25 years on that day a prayer vigil has been held for twenty-four consecutive hours (6 P.M. July 15 to 6 P.M. July 16). Since it is also a feast day commemorating Mary, the Mother of Jesus, under the name of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by the Roman Catholic Church and other Churches, we ask Mary, at whose request Jesus performed His first miracle at Cana to pray with us at Trinity Site on that day.

I would also ask you to pray with us at Trinity Site on July 16. Everyone is always as welcome as the Mother of Jesus to come and pray with us at this 24-hour prayer vigil at Trinity Site. Recognizing though, that a journey to Trinity Site is very difficult, physically and financially, for you and for many to reach, I would invite you to set aside a piece of time that day with folks in your Church, with your P&J group or with God and yourself to pray that humanity be protected and save from this scourge of evil that human beings have brought upon themselves.

If ever there was an example of and incontestable evidence for the truth of Jesus’ warning to Peter and to all humanity in the Gethsemane, “The one who lives by the sword will perish by the sword,” Trinity Site on July 16, 1945 is it. The sword of nuclear murder was drawn on that day, but unlike the sword Peter drew in the Gospel it was not “Put up.” So, for the pass seventy-one years nuclear murder, in various disguises, has been ravaging the men, women and children of the society that created, drew and used the first nuclear sword. Since then other societies have gotten into the lucrative business of possessing and producing nuclear weapons and devises to assure their survival and future prosperity with the same multi-level anti-survival, self-destructive results from Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, to Chernobyl in the Ukraine, to St. George, Utah in the United States, to Fukushima in Japan—and everywhere in between!

Here is an short excerpt from the Statement of Purpose of the Day of Prayer, composed for the first such Day in 1990 and used for every Trinity Site Prayer Vigil since:

July 16 is the symbol and reality of weaponry that kills even if it is never used, as well as, weaponry that kills long after it is used. By its cost alone it murders the working class and poor by depriving them of indispensable resources, which they need to live, and to which every human being has an inalienable right—a right conferred simply by the fact that he or she is a human being.

 

Once the soul and the soil are seeded by the production of such weapons, no one on the planet can protect himself or herself from being contaminated by their ever-mutating spiritual and physical manifestations. They have already created within humanity a cauldron of physical, spiritual, social, personal, and economic pathologies that have infected and affected humanity in ways never before seen. Every child in the womb, every farm, every lake, every person, every person’s loved ones and offspring for untold generations must eventually wind up living downwind from the mushroom cloud.”

July 16 marks the 71st Anniversary of the entrance into the human condition of murder by nuclear energy. On July 16, 1945 at Trinity Site in the New Mexico desert the first atomic bomb in the history of the world was exploded. For the last 25 years on that day a prayer vigil has been held for twenty-four consecutive hours (6 P.M. July 15 to 6 P.M. July 16). Since it is also a feast day commemorating Mary, the Mother of Jesus, under the name of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by the Roman Catholic Church and other Churches, we ask Mary, at whose request Jesus performed His first miracle at Cana to pray with us at Trinity Site on that day.

I would also ask you to pray with us at Trinity Site on July 16. Everyone is always as welcome as the Mother of Jesus to come and pray with us at this 24-hour prayer vigil at Trinity Site. Recognizing though, that a journey to Trinity Site is very difficult, physically and financially, for you and for many, I would invite you to set aside a piece of time that day with folks in your Church, with your P&J group or with God and yourself to pray that humanity be protected and save from the scourge of evil that human beings have brought upon themselves.

Jesus tells His disciples when they are unable to remove an evil spirit from their midst, “This kind of evil can be driven out only by prayer” (Mk 9:29). The only way that prayer would be inefficacious and of no importance is if no One were listening. But, “IAM,” “I am the way,” “I am the truth,” I am the life,” “I am the resurrection” is listening.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

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What does a bishop, priest or minister think he or she is doing by creating a Church that does not teach by word and deed what Jesus taught by word and deed?

-ECM

Can you imagine the Apostles and disciples of Jesus joining with Jesus as a band of soldiers called a Roman Legion and going forth with Caesar to kill barbarians on the other side of the mountains? It is unthinkable. Why? Everyone knows why!

-Rev. Howard Goeringer

Haunts of Violence in the Church

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One thing the institutional Church must do, if it wants to be a Church that is an extension of Christ Jesus in time and space, is to rid itself of the illogical, groundless and erroneous idea that it can be the Church that Jesus desires it to be and continue to be a Church that acquiesces to and participate in the system, principles, practices and spirit that slew Jesus, which to this day dominate the state and secular society. If those who control the institutional Church cannot see with absolute moral clarity that the words, deeds and spirits of those on Golgotha killing Jesus—which are the same words, deeds and spirits of all who kill for a government, religion, ethic group or ideology—are diametrically the logical opposite of the words, deeds and spirit of the Man on the Cross being killed, and could never be what the Crucified One morally endorses—then such Church leaders must be converted or be replaced.
If the minimal spiritual clarity of perception needed to enable a bishop, priest or minister to see the infernal abyss between the words, deeds and spirits of Jesus’ killers and the words, deeds and spirit of the One being slaughtered, he or she should be dismissed from office for the temporal and eternal good of that particular Christian community and of all humanity—for he or she is self-evidently a blind guide blinding others to God’s Plan for the salvation of all through Jesus.

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One cannot separate Jesus from the Christ or speak of a `Jesus of history’ who would differ from the ‘Christ of faith’…Christ is none other that Jesus of Nazareth.

-John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio

Jesus did not leave behind Him a body of teaching that could be separated from His “I”, as one can collect and evaluate the ideas of great thinkers without going into the personalities of the thinkers themselves. Jesus did not perform a work that could be distinguished from His “I.” On the contrary to understand Him as the Christ means to be convinced He has put Himself into His word. There is no “I” that utters words: He has identified Himself so closely with His word that “I” and word are indistinguishable.

-Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth Part II.

Without the words and deeds of Jesus we have no Jesus; and if no Jesus, we have no Lord, no Savior, no Christ. A christ not fully identified with the Jesus of history, his words and deeds, is to that extent a humanly created substanceless myth. Regardless how much such a christ is adored, glorified and propagated such a christ is not Jesus, the Christ. Such a christ may generated great hype and hope, but it is objectively as hopeless as any other god or image of god made by human hands. The Christ Jesus of history encountered in the Gospels is a Nonviolent Christ, a Nonviolent Messiah,  who teaches in history a Way of Nonviolent Love of all in all circumstances, including lethal enemies. It is in the  Nonviolent Christ who is the Nonviolent Jesus of history—and to no other christ—that Christians are called to place their faith, hope and love. However, it is the dark genius of so many of the Churches who morally justify Christian participation in violence and enmity—and of the ecclesiastics who run these Churches and foster such moral perceptions—that they have successfully brainwashed untold numbers of people into placing their faith, life and hope in a christ other than the one whose “I” and word are indistinguishable in the Gopsels.  A christ of faith severed from the words of the Jesus of history is an unreality. A Jesus of history severed from His words is equally an unreality. Placing one’s hope in an unreality is hopeless—and it is irrational when one has the Real Deal right in front of him or her.

 

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Dear Charlie,

We have a new pastor in our parish and a group of parishioners have approached him asking him to put the American flag and the Vatican flag back in the Church. Our previous pastor had removed them. When I heard about the group going to him, I went to see him myself and explained why I thought the flag should not be in the Church, which was basically from what you wrote in your article Sacerdotal Flagism, which I got off your website. He did not agree to keep the flag out of the Church but said he would give consideration to what I said. Do you have any other thoughts I could share with him before he makes his decision?
Peace,
Brian
Brian,
 
The deeper and more gravely serious issue here is that Jesus is catholic. He came for and to save all people. He reveals that God is catholic, “Father of all.” Geographic, ethnic and national particularism has been the curse of religion in general, including operational Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism since at least the time of Constantine. By curse I mean it has significantly and chronically interfered with the revelation of the only true God there is, God the “Father of all” as revealed by and in Jesus, the Christ. Jesus reveals the true Face of God not made by human hands. The face of God that nationalism reveals is not the true Face of God and can never be because of its non-catholic integral character. Pick the nationalism, any nationalism, and then list what it participates in, glorifies, justifies and normalizes which is radically inconsistent with the person and teaching of Jesus, and you would fill several pages in small print. I will apply here what I have applied to nationalistic state activity in general via a quotation from Carl. J. Friedrich,  Eaton Professor of Government at Harvard University. On the final page in the final chapter of his 400 page book, The Pathology of Power, he writes, “Our analysis has, I hope, shown that politics needs all these dubious practices; it cannot be managed without violence, deceit, betrayal, corruption, and propaganda.” A flag, any flag, embodies and enables these practices and much more, which is contrary to the person and teaching of Jesus in the Gospels, e.g. the lust for power, the hatred of enemies, diminution of the capacity for empathy towards those sons and daughters of the Father who are outside the scope of the particular flags symbolic cognitive and emotional reference point, that is, outside a particular nation-state.

 
Every Catholic man or woman, girl or boy,  has a right when he or she enters the sacred space of a Catholic Church to be in the presence of icons, symbols images, words and music that convey and make present the reality and Face of God as revealed by, through, in and with Jesus in the Gospels. Even if MacDonald’s or Wal-Mart offered a a Church an outrageous sum of money to put its symbol inside a Catholic Church, and even if a large percentage of the Church’s congregation worked for MacDonald’s or Wal-Mart, for a bishop or priest or minister to do so would be a breach of a fiduciary spiritual relationship between himself or herself and Jesus, and himself or herself and the Christians he or she was called to serve by revealing to them via the person and teachings of the Jesus of the Gospels the true Face of the only true God—a Face that can never be revealed by way of a flag, including the Vatican State flag!
 
The cross, not the flag, reveals the true Face of God and fidelity to that God.To bring a flag into any Christian Church as a permanent ornament cacophonizes and compromises the entire symbol system and symbolic communication of the Church’s spiritual atmosphere. It is intrinsically anti-sacramental.
 
Charlie
 
P.S. I think, Brian, it is probably spiritually permissible to bring a flag into a Church for a special day of prayer for a particular people—and not necessarily just for the people of the country in which one lives. For example, to bring the flag of a country or group that is the  enemy of a country into a Church in order to pray for them would be clearly consistent with the person and teaching of Jesus, would clearly be living out of and witnessing to the Face of the true God. But as a permanent Church ornament, emphatically, “No flags of any ilk!
 
P.P.S.Brian, I do not know how the regulations regarding the decoration of the interior environment of a Catholic Church have changed since I wrote that piece, Sacerdotal Flagism, a couple of decades ago ( I think). I suspect that since today the Catholic Bishops and clergy are catering to the U.S. Military in an unprecedented manner and have militarized even primary and secondary Catholic school buildings in a way previously unknown, e.g., shrines in Catholic elementary and high school memorializing graduates who went into the military are now rampant across the U.S., I suspect the regulations on flags in a Church have been altered significantly. But, I am sure they have not been changed to the point where a pastor is mandated to display a flag in his Church. I assume that decision is left to the pastor’s conscience—so far.

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If someone does not choose a particular means, it is because he or she sees no hope in it for achieving what they wish to achieve in the future. Let us say that a person or community desires to “obtain eternal life,” that is, to exist with their loved ones, and perhaps all people, beyond biological death in a state where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sin, no sighing but only peace and everlasting life. Then someone comes along, say Jesus, and says, “Follow me. I am the way, the truth and the life.” If a person does follow Him it would be because he or she has hope that His way, His truth and His life will bring him or her and their loved ones, and perhaps all people, to eternal life, to existence beyond biological death and into a state where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sin, no sighing but only peace and everlasting life. If a person or a community desiring to “obtain eternal life” does not follow Him, it would be because that person or community does not have any hope that His way, or perhaps any way, is the way to “obtain eternal life.” In any case in such a person or in such a community the hope that Jesus saves one or all from eternal death would be zero. His way to “obtain eternal life” would not be good news, but a hopeless use of one’s life and time.

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The natural flight of the human mind is not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope,” insightfully writes Samuel Johnson. Hope is not about the past or present, it is always about the future. The future is always a mystery that everyone who lives has to live into. Hope is about faring well—by some standard—when that mystery become a present for me or others. Faring well can traverse the spectrum from the smallest matters in the future, e.g, hoping to be on time to catch a bus, to the greatest, e.g. hoping that I, my loved ones and perhaps all people exist beyond biological death in a state where there is no pain, no sorrow, no evil but only peace and everlasting life. According to our hope—our desire for a certain reality to be in the future—we willfully choose our means in the present. If our hope is to be on time to catch a bus, we do not choose to rely on a clock on the wall that we know to be faulty. Likewise if our hope is for the eternal salvation and life for each and all, we do not rely on the teachings of one we see as our Savior that have been expurgated and bowdlerized by some non-Saviors.

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If Jesus did not reject any type of violence for any purpose, then we know nothing of Him.
-Rev. John L. McKenzie, Catholic Biblical Scholar
There is no burden of proof laid upon those who proclaim, teach and struggle to live the Lamb of God’s teaching of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies. The burden of proof rest solely on those who contend that Jesus taught an exception to this teaching, which morally permits Christians to participate in killing, enemies, even killing them en masse. Such a burden cannot be met via either the Gospels or reason.
There is no debate about what Jesus taught by word and deed on violence and enmity, and there is no place where Jesus teaches an exception to what He taught on these phenomena  The only question for a pope, bishop, priest, minister or Christian is, “Do I choose to follow Jesus and His teaching?”
Most Christian leaders of all ranks in the Church have simply decided they do not choose to follow Jesus and His teaching on this matter, and have nurtured their Christian communities to follow their teaching instead of Jesus’ teaching. And, most, not all, have abandoned all the tortuous and convoluted efforts to justify themselves by arguing on behalf of the absurdity that Jesus would not have followed Jesus, if He knew what they know or if He had to live in the sinful world they have to live in. Church leaders just say privately or publicly—usually privately—”I don’t care who Jesus is, or what His authority is, or what He taught about violence and enmity, I will not follow Him. I shall not obey!”
So be attentive and be courageous. Do not let any wolf—whether he or she be pope, bishop, priest, minister or layperson—insert himself or herself into your Christian flock by putting on a sheep-costume and then pulling the wool over your eyes and over your heart, or over your community’s eyes and your community’s heart. Do not let the smallest untruth about the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospel and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies into your mind or heart or into your Christian community’s mind or heart. Blow the whistle, gently but unequivocally, on every presentation of untruth about the teaching of Jesus on violence end enmity, regardless of the status of the wolf in sheep’s clothing who is baa, baaing it.

Muhammad Ali as Moral Hero

Muhammad Ali as Moral Hero

The tributes and accolades began as soon as the news of Muhammad Ali’s death was made public. But what is the reality behind the media hype? I can in no way buy into the media’s presentation of Mr. Ali, who had the reflexes and the strength to inflict great damage on other human being’s brains (even as he was so injured by others). He was a creation of the media and big money interests (legitimate and illegitimate) from the early 1960s with his appearance—under his given name, Cassius Clay—in the film Requiem for a Heavyweight), in the same way that Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Barack Obama—whom we all think we know so well—are little more than media-generated­­ characters.

Muhammed Ali as Moral Hero

It’s important to be clear: The U.S. Supreme Court did rule in favor of Muhammad Ali after he was denied conscientious objector (CO) status, but Ali was not a pacifist. His official statement about refusing to serve in the military reads as follows: War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. I’m not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in wars unless declared by Allah or the Messenger. We don’t take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers. His famous remark to the media—I ain’t got no quarrel with the Viet Cong. They never called me a nigger—is not the reason behind his application for CO status, despite the fact that the media has suggested as much for the past fifty years. That was just another scripted, PR-generated, mass media sound bite. He would have killed the Viet Cong if he believed that Allah or the Messenger told him to do that, and all eight Supreme Court Justices involved in the case recognized this.

 

Hence arose the need for the Supreme Court to find some contrived, procedural, legal technicality on which to acquit Ali, because only someone who was committed to pacifism under all circumstances could receive CO status during the Vietnam War. SCO, selective conscientious objectors, could not be exempt from military service. So the Court intentionally refused to judge the case on the merits of whether or not Mr. Ali was a CO. Instead, Justice Potter Stewart crafted a procedural legal loophole, was enough to overturn his conviction.

 

In reality, therefore, the media’s suggestions that his sacrifice was any greater or even equal the sacrifices made and endured by thousands of other COs (or of those denied CO status) is based solely on the cultural value that the loss of money and prestige are the greatest of all losses. I personally know many men and families who paid a far higher price for refusing to participate in that war than did Muhammad Ali. None has had his story persistently marketed and celebrated in the media as this man who was concussing the brains of other human being on a world stage for hundreds of millions of dollars before and after his media ballyhooed court case.

 

And after Viet Nam? Muhammad Ali publicly campaigned for Ronald Reagan in 1984, when everyone knew Reagan was turning Latin America into an ocean of blood. Surely, this fact speaks loudly and clearly about Ali’s values. Did he have a quarrel with the people of El Salvador? Did anyone in El Salvador ever call him nigger? Ali may or may not have been a nice person to his friends, and to the occasional “little guy” who gained brief access to him, but he was a man of great violence in spirit, word, and deed, who surrounded himself with other people of great violence. The only Muhammad Ali we have knowledge of demonstrated extensive public violence in the boxing ring and extensive public dehumanizing of people through vicious, mocking, dissing language directed at specific persons. If he is an icon, he is an icon of ostentation, braggadocio, and of evil made legitimate, legal, honorable, and praiseworthy. He is an icon of just what humanity does not need for its redemption from evil and death! By the standards of the Gospel, not only is he not a hero to be glorified, his witness to God and truth must be rejected as false.

 

When I was growing up in Boston in the 1940s, Ted Williams was my sports hero above all others. The belief that he was a great man, someone to look up to, was hardwired into my brain, and it stayed that way for a long time. Then I read, in several places over a short time, that he was socializing with George H.W. Bush when Bush was involved with systematically killing people throughout Latin America. The newspapers reported that Williams said to Bush, I am behind you one hundred percent. Kill all those “gd” troublemakers in Nicaragua. And in an instant, the sports hero evaporated. Here was a human being propagating evil, suggesting that it was consistent with the Gospel, and using his celebrity status to do it. Yes, it is true that he did a great deal to assist children with cancer. And for this he should be lauded. But this work was not his calling card, leading to fame, fortune and iconic hero status. Baseball was. But baseball was only a game, while supporting the killing of the oppressed, broken, enslaved people of Nicaragua was cooperation in murder. When iconic celebrity is used to support violence it must be brushed over and out of the Christian’s consciousness and conscience.

 

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has written that the great evil of our time is superficiality. I remember watching Christian nonviolent peace-and-justice folk run in droves to support Kerry in 2004 and then Obama in 2008 and 2012. I was saddened by the fact that they refused to see the obvious, that is, that uber-violent, uber-greedy, uber-vicious people, from inside and from outside the U.S., were orchestrating and financing each man’s billion-dollar campaign and each man’s climb up the bloody mountain to be king of the hill. Mass media gave these peace-and-justice folk Kool-Aid in the persons of Kerry and Obama, and they believed the lie and drank it, and with that act poisoned their own lives and the lives of countless others for who knows how long into the future. Such is the consequence of glorification via superficiality—and of the glorification of superficiality.

 

Here is a more recent example of the evil of superficiality in U.S. and Catholic culture: this year’s Commencement at the University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame is a Catholic university that never ceases to advertise—in gold, neon lights—that it is a Christian institution. Surely this should mean that Notre Dame (which means the people who run it and staff it and govern it) is willing to struggle to follow the Way of Jesus Christ of the Gospels. Instead, this year it gave its Laetare Medal to Joe Biden and John Boehner, naming them the year’s two outstanding American Catholics. Both Biden and Boehner have supported Obama’s murderous agenda in the Middle East for the last eight years and have not stopped voting for the war since 2003, despite its toll of death and destruction—millions of civilians killed and maimed. And, as if that were not enough glorification of the evil of superficiality applied to Christianity, at the 2016 Commencement ceremony, Notre Dame invited General Martin Dempsey to give the keynote address and then gave him an honorary degree. General Martin Dempsey has been Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the last four years, the last four years of U.S. slaughter of the innocent by land, sea, air, and now by drone, in the Middle East and in other parts of the world (to say nothing of his prior homicidal achievements). I am sure most of the people at the Commencement drank the glory Kool-Aid Notre Dame concocted for them as wholeheartedly as the followers of Jim Jones drank his deadly poison.

 

No human can ever judge another’s moral life: Only God can judge whether someone is a sinner. Nevertheless, Christians must decide whether they believe that what someone has done is good or evil by the standards of Jesus, the Word of God in the Gospels, before they endorse him or her. Only on that basis should Christians decide whether a media celebrity is worthy of praise, honor, glorification, and imitation. What champion of the good, what good Muslim, would ever want a man who murdered 400,000 Muslim children under the age of twelve to be the major eulogist at his funeral, as Bill Clinton was at Mr. Ali’s funeral?

 

And there is more—much, much more: Muhammad Ali trying to pressure Chuck Wepner—a white man about to fight him in a heavyweight championship match—to publicly call him “a nigger.” Wepner refused. Nevertheless, Ali told the press Wepner had called him that despicable name. Fortunately for Wepner, witnesses heard him refuse. But the media did not report that piece of information until years after the fight. I could go on and on: For example, practically every piece of poetry for which Mr. Ali is famous he did not write—most of it was written by Gary Belkin, his ghostwriter. In addition, Belkin wrote literally one hundred percent of Ali’s hit record album of poems, I Am The Greatest, released by Columbia Records a few months before he won the championship, when Sonny Liston sat in his corner and refused to go out for the seventh round, even though his manager told him (truthfully) that there was nothing wrong with him and that he should get out there. Even Ali’s famous tagline, I am the greatest, was written for him by Gary Belkin.

 

Muhammad Ali is a sinner—but then so are you and I, so are Clinton, Trump, Obama, Boehner, Biden, Dempsey, et al. In fact, for all you and I know, he and Clinton and Trump and company may be far less sinful in the eyes of God than I am or you are—that is the strictest truth, not phony humility. But it is also irrelevant to the Christian living on earth, precisely because God’s judgment is unknowable. What a Christian can know is that The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word (Heb 1:3), and that The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image (icon) of God (2 Cor 4:4). Cannot see that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:11). Such glory never shines forth from a closed fist or a barrel of a gun directed against a human being.

 

All that is not a reflection of the glory of God made visible to humanity in Jesus is “ichabod,” i.e., inglorious—and no amount of media cosmetics and puffery can change that eternal truth. The motto of the Jesuit order is AMDM, Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam, “For the Greater Glory of God,” and the same should be the motivation for all that the Christian thinks, says, and does with his or her life. What is not in conformity with the person and message of Jesus—and the person and message are one in Catholic theology—cannot glorify God. It must be ichabod. The public presentation of Muhammad Ali does not conform to the image, person, and message of Jesus in the Gospels, and therefore, in my judgment as a Christian, he cannot be given a speck of validation or approval as an iconic moral hero. Remember, this does not mean that the Father of all does not love him infinitely and eternally. He does. It means that his PR celebrity media image and all it was, is, and communicates is ichabod today, tomorrow, and forever:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behold the Lamb Audio (Spanish)

 

Translated by Manuel E. Soto Viera, M.D

ADVERTENCIA

Esta grabación se hizo mediante la labor de dos jóvenes angloparlantes. A pesar de la revisión final que llevé a cabo en el estudio mismo de grabación, es posible que queden en el texto algunas frases en inglés de conversaciones que tuvimos mientras grabábamos. Ruego al oyente que disculpe estos deslices, si han ocurrido.

Manuel

The titles of the talks are:

  1. El Cordero, a adorar e imitar
  2. Cordero: el misterio del Siervo del Señor
  3. La mente del Cordero
  4. El Cordero que glorifica a Dios
  5. La Iglesia, un rebaño de ovejas
  6. Amor del Cordero
  7. El Cordero en la selva
  8. Los medios del Cordero
  9. El Cordero, rico en misericordia
  10. La seguridad del Cordero
  11. El Cordero fidedigno
  12. Bautismo: el misterio de la unión con el Cordero
  13. María, el cordero del Cordero
  14. El amor que perdona
  15. El amor que sirve
  16. El Cordero resucitado

Berrigan, S.J. and Drinan, S.J.: The Grand Betrayal in Microcosm

Berrigan, S.J. and Drinan, S.J

The ethics of the state are the ethics of survival. The state lives in a moral jungle. Retaliation justifies anything. The supreme good of the state is that it continues to exist; and no other good can be maintained if that good threatens survival. The New Testament sees no redemption of the state. It must disappear with Sin and Death, which make it possible for the state to exist. One man who is assured of no lasting achievement is the statesman.

The Power and The Wisdom: An Interpretation of the New Testament

John L. McKenzie, S.J.

Imprimi Potest, Nilhil Obstat, Imprimatur

March 8, 1965

 

Robert Schroth, S.J. authored a biography on Robert Drinan, S.J., the priest who ran for and was elected to Congress for several terms (1971–1981). Schroth spoke with Joshua McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter about the moment Dan Berrigan, S.J. met fellow Jesuit priest Robert Drinan for the first time in 1972. Berrigan proceeded to immediately question Drinan about his run for a U.S. Congressional seat. Berrigan told Drinan that while he appreciated his opposition to the Vietnam War, “by running for office you involve yourself in the power structure in a way that inevitably is going to compromise you” (NCR, 12/8/10). And compromised him it did—big time.

 

At a talk in Boston in the 1970s, Berrigan was asked why he did not do what fellow Jesuit, Robert Drinan, did, and piggyback on his national name recognition and popularity by making a run for the U.S. Senate in New York, instead of engaging in these trite and useless acts of civil disobedience? Berrigan began his answer by saying something like, God help me if I were to ever think that the changes that are needed could take place by my becoming a Senator! The follow-up question was inevitable: “Well, what about Fr. Drinan? Do you believe a priest has any place in electoral politics?” Berrigan responded this way: “I would not want to limit my answer to this question to priests. I would like to talk about Christians having any place in electoral politics. Any Christian who thinks he or she can morally engage in electoral politics in this society, either does not know what electoral politics is, or does not know what Christianity is!” In an interview with the editors of Commonweal Magazine on the types of ministry available to a priest, Berrigan remarked: “A pure political solution in electoral politics is a dead end. It suffocates the independence of the Gospel. The political priest is the one I would have the least patience with.”

 

Merely a Tactical Disagreement?

Are the differences between Berrigan, S.J. and Drinan, S.J. merely a disagreement over the tactics to be used to bring about authentic change for the good in the lives of individuals and in society? Or do the different choices of Berrigan and Drinan represent antithetical options, i.e., choices that are totally incompatible with one another?

 

Perhaps the words of another Jesuit from 1966, a world-renowned Biblical scholar in his day, the late John L. McKenzie, S.J., might help clarify matters. About the temptations of Jesus in the desert, he writes this:

 

Matthew and Luke have the story of the three temptations. The order of the three temptations differs in the two Gospels. The offer of power over the kingdoms of the world is placed third by Matthew and second by Luke. Jesus rejects the offer with a quotation from Deuteronomy 6:13 in which it is commanded that worship be given to Yahweh alone. Certainly the story means that secular power is not to be acquired at the price of the worship of Satan. But do we grasp the full import of the story if we think that the only thing wrong with the offer of secular power is that it comes from Satan? In the New Testament, “the world” in the pejorative sense is under the power and the authority of Satan; the reign of God, which Jesus announces, is opposed to this power and the struggle between the two reigns is constant and deadly. St. Ignatius Loyola made this the theme of the meditation on the Two Standards in the Spiritual Exercises. Like most Christian interpreters from early times, St. Ignatius, did not question the implicit assertion in the temptation narrative that secular power is Satan’s to give. The offer is not rejected by Jesus because Satan is unable to deliver what he promises. It is rejected because secular power is altogether inept for the mission of Jesus, indeed because the use of secular power is hostile to the mission of Jesus.

 

Drinan, Albright, Rice

Therein lies the root of the Drinan, S.J/Berrigan, S.J. confrontation and the institutional Church’s grand betrayal of Jesus in all its irreconcilable starkness: “…the use of secular power is hostile to the mission of Jesus.” Therein also lies the inability of the Constantinian Church to effectively and fully proclaim what Jesus proclaims in the Gospels. The Jesuit Order is of course a major, worldwide, hundred billion dollar Constantinian fiefdom within a worldwide Constantinian Church of wealth untold. Its underlying modus operandi and default position are in the model of secular power, i.e. justified violence, as is the case with all the Constantinian Churches in general. U.S. Congressman Robert Drinan, S.J., like Madeleine Albright, pulling down a high six-figure salary from Georgetown University, S. J., and like Condoleezza Rice receiving a honorary degree from Boston College, S.J., is but a logical extension of a Christianity and an of an Order delivered over to secular power and its source—that is, delivered over to what is both utterly inept for carrying out the mission of Jesus and actively hostile to the mission of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels.

 

Daniel Berrigan, S.J., like all Jesuits, although physically living from the accumulated fruits of Jesuit secular power for almost seventy years, nevertheless refused to become jesuitical and justify the secular power operations of the Jesuit Order. To the contrary, he was challenging and outspoken in his critique and denunciation of the anti-Gospel reality and the anti-Gospel consequences of violent secular power and its justification in the Jesuits and in the Church. With his remarkable literary skills, he did not hesitate to reveal its corrupting effects on those who latched onto it and onto the institutional Churches that lived by it.

 

Let me reiterate: The differences embodied in the life choices of Drinan, S.J., and Berrigan, S.J., in relation to the matter of secular power being employed by Christians as a means of following Jesus are radically incompatible at their core: if one is the will of God as revealed by Jesus, then the other is not. It’s that unambiguous.

 

Essential Discordance

It is important to note that the essential discordance between what Drinan enfleshed and what Berrigan embodied was known both in the Jesuit Order and in the larger Church. In 1970, Donald Gelpi, S.J., S.T.L., Ph.D., of the faculty of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley wrote a book titled Discerning the Spirit. In it, he also discusses the temptations of Jesus in the desert:

 

The temptation in which Jesus is offered “all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor, if you will worship me” is the most direct of all. It is the temptation to abdicate utterly the way of service and to choose in its place the way of temporal power and dominion. Jesus’ reply is direct and unequivocal, “Be off, Satan! For Scripture says, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve Him alone.”

 

Thus, of the three temptations, this is the most crucial for a Christian understanding of service. In it Jesus is presented with two clear options: either to continue on the way of service He has begun, with a clear understanding of the risk and suffering involved therein, or to seek the way of political and temporal power. The two ways are incompatible: to choose one is to abdicate the other; and Jesus’ resolution of the problem is pointedly clear and unambiguous. He must abdicate the way of temporal power. For to do otherwise would be nothing else than to place Himself under the dominion of those very forces of evil and chaos which he had come out to the desert to conquer.

 

What Jesus saw clearly in this final temptation, then, is that the renunciation of coercive power over people is inseparable from the sense of purpose that motivated His mission as Son and Messiah. That is to say, as the wisdom of God incarnate, He was aware that were He to yield to this final temptation and choose the path of power as a means of accomplishing His Messianic mission, He would be effectively abdicating His very Sonship and abandoning the salvific mission he had received from His Father.

 

An Effete Illusion

Bob Drinan, S.J. and Dan Berrigan, S.J. both of whom I knew personally, were living by and proclaiming contradictory understandings of the same text. This would be of limited import if the texts being interpreted, i.e., the teaching of Jesus by word and deed in the Gospels, were merely human philosophical speculation. But, they are not. They are the definitive revelation of  God’s Truth, of God’s Will and of God’s Way of eternal communion with Him. Since Berrigan’s, and Drinan’s interpretations are contradictory, both cannot be true. Nor can both be chosen in the same moral moment. To choose one is to renounce the other. The two ways are incompatible. Either Drinan, S.J. or Berrigan, S.J. is living and preaching an effete illusion.

 

But how can this possibly be the case? Both spoke out on behalf of the poor, against the Vietnam War and for peace. Both believed in Jesus, both were Baptized, both were Jesuits, both were lionized by the same liberal-to-left Christian and non-Christian people and publications. True enough; however, the means by which a person or group plans to accomplish an end are every bit as important as the end itself. As Aquinas points out, “Means that cannot achieve their ends are illusions.” And as Gandhi points out, “The means are the ends in embryo, as one chooses his means he gets his ends. That is the iron laws of the moral universe.” Or, as Saint Paul states it, “Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. A person reaps what he or she sows” (Gal 6:7).

 

A person may sow corn or violence and if he or she does they will reap corn or violence. They may PR and brainwash the public into believing and calling corn ‘wheat’ and violence ‘peace,’ but the product and fruits of sowing corn will be corn, of sowing violence—whether it be labeled legal or illegal, legitimate or illegitimate, romantic or sordid—will be violence. The Eternal Kingdom (Reign) of God, which “does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rv 21:23), can only enter or be entered into by the means of the Kingdom of God, which are the means of the Lamb of God, not the Imperial Lion

 

AMDG?

The means chosen by Drinan, S.J., i.e., legalized violence, and the means chosen by Berrigan, S.J., Gospel nonviolence, are contradictory of each other and therefore both cannot be “ad maiorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salute”—“for the greater glory of God and the salvation of humanity”—which is not only the motto composed by Saint Ignatius Loyola, S.J., but also the ultimate purpose and end for everything that the Jesuit Order is to be about. It is the raison d’être for its existence. Of course, if a Jesuit or a Christian can work for the “greater glory of God and the salvation of humanity” by doing the direct opposite of what Jesus, the Incarnate Word (Logos) of God (Jn 1:1ff) and the “glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:11; Heb 1:3; 2 Cor 4:4), reveals by word and deed is the Way to glorify God by our lives and the to Way Eternal Life, then there is no problem with employing means contradictory to His as the Way to work for  “ad maiorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salute.” But there is nothing in the person or teaching of Jesus in the Gospels that even hints that such an option is open to His chosen disciples as a Way to glorify God or to participate in the salvation of humanity. Indeed, it is the opposite that is communicated. He is the Way not a Way to peace among human beings and to eternal communion with God.

 

Remember: Both Drinan and Berrigan belonged to the Society of Jesus. Can any society, a religious order or otherwise, be truthfully called a “society of Jesus” if it is not following, in word and deed, the revelation/teaching of Jesus via His words and deeds about God and God’s Will and God’s Way as unveiled in the Gospels? Of course, canonically or in the public press a group can be designated “society of Jesus”, but that is just an institutional Church or secular media designation. The incarnational sine qua non of any society that desires to be an authentic society of Jesus is its unconditional commitment and effort to live Jesus’ “new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” This commandment, the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares, “contains the entire Law of the Gospel” (§1970) and “summarizes all the other commandments and expresses His entire will” (§2822). This means that if a Christian or a society of Christians wishes to burn witches in good conscience, all he, she or they have to do is show that Jesus would have burned witches, that is, that burning witches is “loving as I have loved you.” I would add, parenthetically, that he, she or they must provide evidence for the validity of this perception of Jesus and this interpretation of His “new commandment” rising to the degree of moral certainty demanded before any Christian can burn witches or intentionally destroy a human being under any conditions for any reason.

 

Following Jesus by Not Following Him

Now if as Donald Gelpi, S.J. states, “[Jesus] must abdicate the way of temporal power. For to do otherwise would be nothing else than to place Himself under the dominion of those very forces of evil and chaos, which he had come out to the desert to conquer,” then must not those who desire to be His disciples and follow Him, who wish to build a society that is the extension of Him, His Way, and His salvific mission in time and space, that wishes to glorify God, have to refuse “to place [themselves] under the dominion of those very forces of evil and chaos, which Jesus had come out to the desert to conquer,” namely, “the path of temporal power as a means?” Must not those who desire to be His disciples and follow Him, who aspire to build a society, e.g., a religious order or an institutional Church, that is the extension of Him, His Way, and His salvific mission in time and space, have to, in the words of the late John L. McKenzie, S.J., “reject secular power not only because it is altogether inept for the mission of Jesus, but also because the use of secular power is hostile to the mission of Jesus?”

 

The world, again in the pejorative sense, runs on dominative power, secular power, the power of coercive violence. Nations and states, by definition and by structure, are totally perishable human organizations suffused in violence. Leo Tolstoy cuts through the murky mythological deceit in which all states brainwash those born within their jurisdiction, and straightforwardly and incontrovertibly describes the default modus operandi of every state:

In spite of the unceasing efforts made by men in power to conceal this and to ascribe a different meaning to power, political power is the application of a rope, a chain by which a person will be bound and dragged along, or of a whip, with which he will be flogged, or of a knife, or an ax with which they will cut off his hands, feet, ears, head—an application of these means or the threat they will be used. Thus it was in the time of Nero and of Genghis Khan and thus it is, even now, in the most liberal of governments.

Is this true or false for the United States, England, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Japan, Sweden, China, Vietnam, Italy, Argentina, Israel, Poland, Russia, Spain, India, Romania, Greece, etc., today? Yesterday? When Drinan, S.J. ran for Congress? Was he not in Congress to exercise that type of power by wrangling to get that type of power as the enforcement mechanism for his ideas?

 

Is the type of power Tolstoy describes, the type of power that Jesus sought or employed in the Gospels? If not, what is a Jesuit, a Catholic priest or any Christian, doing seeking to get his or her “mitts” on the levers that control that type of violent power in order to force people to conform to his or her ideas?

 

“Get Behind Me, Satan!”

 Placing Oneself Under Satan’s Power by Using Satan’s Power.

The difference between Drinan, S.J. and Berrigan, S.J. is not a superficial disagreement over tactics and strategies on how to do the Lord’s work. It is as fundamental as this: One is doing the Lord’s work and the other is doing what is “hostile to the mission of Jesus.” One is doing the work given to him by God Incarnate; the other is “placing himself under the dominion of those very forces of evil and chaos, which Jesus had come out to the desert to conquer.” One is going “the way of political and temporal power.” The other, like Jesus, is “abdicating the way of temporal power.” For one it is the Way of conversion to the truth of the Gospel by witnessing to it, even if it means being crucified by the political and religious powerhouses of the day. For the other, it is the way of coercing, via state violence and by the threat of state violence, human beings to conform to ideas they do not see as true. Both claim they are following Jesus! Beyond that, both have large numbers of mutual Christian admirers, i.e., Constantinian Justice and Peace liberals and radicals, who do not see that the way one of these men is following and proclaiming as Gospel truth is essentially a negation of the way the other is following and proclaiming as Gospel truth.

 

Most of the men of the Society of Jesus I have encountered seem to evince an obliviousness or bland indifference to the ominous and far-reaching seriousness of communicating to people by word and witness that diametrically opposing ways are both in conformity with the will of God as revealed in the Gospels by Jesus for His disciples. The spiritual and moral absurdity of giving active, public, intellectual support to the notion that both “X” and “not X” can be the truth taught by Jesus, the Word (Logos) of God “made flesh” in the Gospels, seems to phase Jesuits no more than it phases Bishops. If “X” is true then “not X” is false. Drinan, S.J. and Berrigan, S.J. cannot both be authentically living and witnessing to the truth of the Gospel as presented by Jesus in the Gospels.

 

It may be a witness to Christian love that the Order took care of Dan Berrigan and Bob Drinan equally well until their deaths. But it is not a witness to the truth of Jesus in the Gospels that the Society of Jesus espouses and promotes as the truth of Jesus for the Baptized disciples of Jesus, both Drinan’s use of violent coercive power over people backed by the military and police operations of the state and Berrigan’s rejection of Christians employing violent coercive power over people. Chronic Jesuitical flip-flopping and hopping by a Christian between “X” as the truth of Jesus and “not X” as the truth of Jesus is anti-evangelical and false witness. If “X” is the Way of Jesus, then the Society of Jesus, as well as the institutional Church, should follow it. If “not X” is the Way of Jesus, then the Society of Jesus and the institutional Church should follow it. But, frenetically and inveterately hopping between “X” and “not X,” between “Yeah, Bob!” and “Yeah, Dan!” as the truth of Jesus in the Gospels cannot be a valid, tenable or believable witness to the Person and message of Jesus in the Gospels.

 

Self-blinding

What is so difficult about seeing the intrinsic, unbridgeable spiritual and theological abyss between the power essential to the state and the power essential to the Gospel, between the power of the Caesars and the power of the Christ? Between Drinan, S.J. and Berrigan, S.J.? Is Tolstoy wrong? Perhaps men as highly educated as the Jesuits need to hear what Tolstoy said, embellished with a little bit of ivy. Carl. J. Friedrich, Eaton Professor of Government at Harvard University, states, with a clarity equal to that of Tolstoy, on the final page of his 400-page book, The Pathology of Power: “Our analysis has, I hope, shown that politics needs all these dubious practices; it cannot be managed without violence, deceit, betrayal, corruption, and propaganda.” Why can’t your run-of-the-mill S.J., possessing an education that only the Rockefellers could afford, not see this cauldron of evil without which governmental politics cannot exist? Why can’t the S.J. Order see it? Why can’t bishops and cardinals and popes see it? Why can’t they see that participation in such organized, institutionalized, and systematized evil is antithetical to anything Jesus even did or could do, and therefore must be antithetical to His chosen disciples lives, if their desire is to faithfully follow Him? Why?

 

It is a truism, applicable about eighty percent of the time, that romantic love can make one blind, that is, it can make invisible what the whole world sees clearly about the object of one’s amorous affection. What is also a truism, applicable almost one hundred percent of the time, is that great wealth can make a person or persons blind. Both romantic love and great wealth make a person or persons blind, not by plucking out his or her or their eyes, but rather by motivating a person to not see what can easily be seen, because, if seen, it would expose unwanted truth. Jesus’ parable of the Rich Man (Dives) and Lazarus makes precisely this point. The Society of Jesus, in contradistinction to Jesus, possesses not simply wealth, but immense wealth. Could such a situation-in-life produce a blind spot in one’s vision of the Jesus of the Gospels and His teaching, and/or could it artificially color and distort one’s interpretation of what McKenzie, S.J. denominates as Jesus’ “unambiguous teaching”—the rejection of violence?

 

Kudos and Monuments For the Dead Prophet, Not Metanoia

 

The most pronounced example of the blinding capabilities of wealth and secular power in history is probably the institutional Church and what it became after the pagan Emperor Constantine began bestowing his largesse upon it, thereby grounding the Church of Jesus Christ in the things of Caesar. It first of all became an organization that had to defend the things of Caesar in the only manner in which they could be defended, namely as Caesar did, with the brutality and homicidal violence of secular power of every imaginable category. As William Langland wrote long ago (c. AD 1377) in one of the magnificent pieces of English Christian literature, The Vision of Piers Plowman,

When the kindness of Constantine gave Holy Church endowments

In lands and leases, lordships and servants,

The Romans heard an angel cry on high above them

‘This day dos ecclesiae has drunk venom

And all who have Peter’s power are poisoned forever.

 

One of the methods by which the Jesuits and the institutional Church get away with supporting contradictory interpretations of Jesus’ teaching as both being valid is to employ spin and to label Berrigan, S.J., and Christians like him, a “prophet.”  The designation is accurate Biblically, since prophecy discloses the nature and character of God and the implications of the divine nature and character for human thought and action. It is insight into the moral will of God and the reality of sin. Prophecy places the integrity of the one God above any national or patriotic consideration. But, publicly it places him in some hazy Biblical/secular Christian/humanistic compartment. It suggests that he is something other than an ordinary Christian Baptized as a prophet who, by the very design of his or her being, must live under a prior moral obligation to seek the truth and adhere to it if found. The word “prophet” as the designation for Berrigan, S.J., as is the case with the word “saint” as a designation for Dorothy Day, should be laid to rest, because it so easily can be employed as an excuse to evade personal moral responsibility and Gospel truth.

 

Berrigan, S.J. is a human being and Baptized Christian who, first and foremost, is a truth-teller, and the truth he tells is the truth of the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as being the revelation and the manifestation of “the nature and character of God and the implications of the divine nature and character for human thought and action.” If this is so, then Drinan, S.J. is a truth-twister, and the twist he gives to the truth of the Gospels turns it upside-down, making the cross into a sword. Such is the case with the overwhelming majority of Jesuits and Bishops, Religious Order and Diocesan priests I have met. They are Drinanesque dyed-in-the-lamb’s wool truth-twisters on the issue of “abdicating temporal power” as Jesus did. They refuse to see or cannot see that “to seek the way of political and temporal power would be nothing else than to place [themselves] under the dominion of those very forces of evil and chaos, which he had come out to the desert to conquer.” And, they find meaning in blinding others with their own blindness. Berrigan, S.J., however, is an eye opener to the moral will of God as revealed by Jesus and to evil passing-off itself as normalized good.

 

Is Jesus Credible and Trustworthy

as the Communicator of the Truth of God?

 

Yet it is as impossible to fully explain the mystery of a person or group deciding not to see the glaringly obvious as it is impossible to fully explain the mystery of iniquity. Hopping between the contradictory ideas of truth espoused by two Masters, serving one, then the other—regardless how well it is choreographed for purposes of personal peace of conscience and public consumption—is nevertheless evil. It may not be sin, if the hopping is done in non-culpable ignorance of the truth. But choosing to commit to an untruth, whether knowingly or unknowingly, always places the existence of a human being in the presence of unbeknownst jeopardy.

 

Berrigan, S.J was a truth-teller. Drinan, S.J. was a truth-twister. What makes the stakes so high in their truth-telling and truth-twisting is that they are high profile public Catholic, Christian, Jesuit media-attractors announcing opposing and contradictory Ways for the human being and for humanity, as the Way of Jesus, as the Way to follow Jesus, as the Way to do God’s will as revealed by the Word (Logos) of God Incarnate, as the Way to overcome evil, sin, and death, and to enter into the Mystery of the Resurrection and Eternal Communion with God.  These are the most dangerous issues in human existence to toy with and to misdirect people about—Christian or non-Christian. A person, an Order or a Church that teaches and promotes both “X” and “not-X,” violence and nonviolence as the truth of God as revealed by Jesus in the Gospels is a person or Order or Church that is de facto undermining the credibility of and trust in Jesus, His person, His spiritual and moral Divine authority and His teaching. That’s fact, not opinion!

 

As another Jesuit has written: “Anyone who really believes in God must set God, and the truth of God, above all other considerations.”

(John Courtney Murray, S.J.)

 

—Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

 

ATONEMENT and JESUS’ WAY OF NONVIOLENT LOVE OF FRIENDS AND ENEMIES

Jesus of Nazareth is the Incarnation of God. Jesus is Nonviolent because God is Nonviolent. There is no separation or contradiction among Father, Son and Holy Spirit, only perfect simplicity and unity. God is One. The Will of the Father is the Will of the Son is the Will of the Holy Spirit. The One God who is invisible is love (1 Jn 4:8) and rejects violence and enmity. We know this because Jesus of Nazareth, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, who is the visible image of the invisible God (Col 1: 15), who is God “made flesh,” rejects violence and enmity. There is no violence or enmity in God and therefore all that God is or does has to be devoid of violence and enmity—that includes the manner by which God saves humanity from the unyielding quicksand of evil and death in which it is perpetually and irrevocably trapped by its own choices of evil in thought, word and deed. Auto-salvation from evil and its consequences is impossible for human beings. Therefore “Yahweh saves” (Yeshua, Jesus’ name in Hebrew, means “Yahweh saves”) or there is no salvation from evil and death. The Nonviolent God does this through His Nonviolent Word Incarnate—the Nonviolent Jesus. The God, “who is love,” does this through the love of the God who is love incarnate, i.e., Jesus.

 

Now love (agape) whether divine or human has to be freely given or it is not love. If I hold a gun at someone’s head and tell him to say, “I love you,” and he says it, that is not love speaking, that is fear. That is not a person loving, that is a person fearing, despite the external manifestation of love. Violence is always a fear-full phenomenon. It therefore cannot be the manner in which God who is love saves humanity. Fear and agape are opposites. One drives out the other (1 Jn 4:18). Fear and violence can procure obedience, respect, admiration and even adoration. But fear and violence cannot command love. Therefore, redemptive violence by the God who is revealed by Jesus in the Gospels as love is an impossibility to logically read into a Gospel understanding of Atonement. Violence and love as revealed by Jesus are antipodes. To walk down one way eliminates walking down the other. These last three sentences are true regardless of what Christians have said about God for the last 1700 years of Christianity.

 

Love not Suffering Saves

The most renowned Catholic Biblical Scholar of the Mid-Twentieth Century, Rev. John McKenzie, “Mere animal pain does not save. The power, which destroys all other powers, is the power of love, the love of God revealed and active in Jesus Christ. God revealed in Jesus that He loves man and will deliver him through love and through nothing else. Identification with Jesus suffering is identification with Jesus loving.” In a world drenched in evil, it may be necessary to suffer in order to love as Jesus loves, to love as God loves, but one is not choosing suffering as the salvific power. He or she is choosing love as the means to overcome evil in the face of an onslaught of evil that causes suffering to the one it is attacking by thought, word or deed.

 

 

 

Not a Robot

The salvation of a human being is not the salvation of a broken robot. Nor is God who saves the human being and humanity from their self-imprisoning history of choosing evil is not an omnipotent Robot that acts mechanically, bringing broken human robots into the repair shop, affixing new parts to them for the broken ones, whether they want them or not. Both God and the human being have freedom. If one or the other did not have it, God would not be God and the human being would not be a human being, because neither could love (agapé). Therefore, any Way of salvation from evil and death created by the God who is love as an act of love toward the human creature could not impose salvation on that person against that human being’s freedom. Imposition would require using violence, would require violating the person’s free will, would be to treat the person as a thing, a robot. God therefore could only offer salvation and the Way to salvation to a human being. The human being would then in his or her freedom have to either freely accept or reject the Way of salvation offered by God.

 

Auto-salvation

Now there is something in the contemporary Christian consciousness, Catholic and otherwise, that perceives the choice of evil, sin, as a minor affair, or as primarily an emotional/psychological problem, or as a social/political entity. But evil, to employ the language of the early Fathers of the Church is a mystery that is only a speck short of the mystery of God. Evil chosen is not something that exists only on the visible empirical level of existence. Within a single evil act there potentially lies the power to destroy in the present and in the future, temporally and eternally. Evil chosen has the power to destroy even the desire to change—to be the good person or community one once was and could be again. In a perverted pedagogy the more and longer the chosen evil is engaged in the less one knows about it and the more one is oblivious to the destruction it is causing within the self and for others. As the great Jewish theologian, Martin Buber, wrote, commenting of the power of evil as exposed in Hebrew Scriptures, “It is the ultimate deception of evil that it brings a person to believe that once he has chosen it, he can control it.  The spiritual thought, “When you sin you are doing the devil’s work,” is so hackneyed now as to be used as a punch line in jokes. Perhaps a more telling expression of the same truth is “When you sin you are laying traps in places you are unaware of in yourself and in reality to imprison oneself and others in evil.” If evil chosen, sin, were what a large segment of contemporary Christian consciousness presents it as, then there would be no real need for the Incarnation, the Teachings, the Life, the Passion, Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus. In time it would all be straightened out by reason, by science, by better communications among people or by all human beings adhering, via conversion or coercion, to some formulation of natural law. God may still be seen as the Creator but humanity would extricate itself, internally and externally from the consequences of the evil it has chosen—personally and communally—by its own wits. In other words, humanity would save itself from evil and death—no Divine help needed or desired.

 

This patent absurdity, if it is not seen as a self-evident untruth before, it will be clearly seen as the fantasy it is as one’s final breath approaches! Only God has absolute existence. Only God can say I AM. I am because God is. My existence is a contingent existence, contingent on I AM willing me into existence and keeping me in existence.

 

 

Accident or Gift

There are only two choices. The human being’s individual existence and that of his or her loved one’s is either the result of atoms and galaxies arbitrarily banging into each other in an indifferent universe that has no inherent ultimate purpose for itself or for anything in it, or my existence and the existence of my loved ones, indeed of all people is a gift. Existence is either pure accident or a pure gift; it cannot be both and has to be one. If it is the product of merely the random intersecting of matter in an ultimately purposeless universe, then my existence is ultimately purposeless.

 

But if existence in itself and my existence within existence is gift, then there has to be a Giver. The question then arises, “Why did the Giver give me existence?” In other words, the Giver of existence—all existence, all people’s existence, and my existence—had to have a purpose for the gift of existence to me and to all. Searching for, finding and adhering to that purpose for which the Giver gave existence would then be the purpose of a human life gifted with a brain that can ask that question.

 

However, after the choice of the first person born of Fallen human beings, Cain, to act contrary to the purpose of the Giver and kill his brother Abel, the search for the truth of the purpose for which the Giver gave existence, as well as, the desire to adhere to it once found, became impossibly clouded and confused because of what Cain killed in himself, in his own brain, when he killed another human being. He closed down his capacity for empathy, which the Giver bestowed on him to guide him along the Way of the will of the Giver. The act of homicide always results in destroying something in the killer that is essential for living the life for which the Giver gave life.

 

Revelation Required for Salvation

In human history there are enough philosophical and theological Towers of Babel into which a person can enter to try to find the Giver and His purpose, i.e., God and God’s will, to go around the earth thousands of times. In the human heart—weighed down by the gravity of personal sin and a panoply of conflicting, confusing and clouded desires—searching for, finding and adhering to the purpose of the Giver in giving existence is a task that reason, corrupted by sin and concupiscence, is unable to achieve on its own after the mystery of Fall. For example, would you or I left to our reason alone have come up with the Sermon on the Mount or the Sermon from the Cross as the Way to fulfill the purpose of the Giver of existence—the Way to do the Will of God? You bet we wouldn’t! In fact, no one in the history of world presented that as the Way to fulfill the purpose for which existence was given, the Way to do the Will of God, before Jesus. And, few do today.

 

Revelation from God is required because reason alone in its present corrupted condition is insufficient for knowing God and God’s purpose and will for humanity. God is free not to give this added gift of revelation, as the human being is free to accept or not to accept it. But why does God offer this new revelation at all to human beings and why in the person of His own incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth? Perhaps this encapsulation of the process of salvation as found in the Eastern Churches of Christianity, Catholic and Orthodox, will serve as a clarification of thought on this critical matter, as well as, on correcting the matter that God is an eternal Tyrannosaur Rex, who demands human blood sacrifice before He will permit Himself to be reconciled with a humanity that has disobeyed His will, i.e., sinned:

  1. God is love
  2. God became human so that human beings could become God.
  3. Love became human so that human beings could become Love.
  4. How can a human being become Love?
  5. Only by Loving.
  6. Loving how, in what way?
  7. By loving as Jesus, the Incarnation of God, Loves.

 

Love, the Alpha and the Omega

Everything begins and ends with “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8,16). Hence everything God does is out of love. He drew all things out of nothingness into being out of love. Out of love God created human beings. Out of love God redeemed human beings after they had done evil. Out of love God made human beings in His image and likeness, which is with the freedom and ability to love. Love by its intrinsic nature is the one thing neither God nor the human being can do all alone. There must be someone else, someone to love, or there can be no love. This is a truth behind the mystery of God as a Trinity of Persons. Love creates a union, a oneness, between two or more persons. A union rooted in love has no end to its growth and intensity. Love Itself created the freedom and capacity to love in human beings so that they could love and multiply love, know the Good News of love and bring into existence an indefinite number of other human beings to know the Good News of love without end and from which “nothing can separate us” (Rm 8:31-39).

 

But when Cain kills Abel, the first recorded sin in history after the Fall, the first act of un-love, of anti-love, something, as noted above, changes in Cain, as it does in all human being when they refuse to love as God loves them, when they sin. God still loves Cain. Indeed, God places a mark on Cain to protect him from capital punishment, from being killed because he killed. But from Cain’s side something of that union of love with God was destroyed when he broke his union of love with Abel, as something of our union of love with God is from our side broken when we sin against the Father of all by choosing not to love one or more of His infinitely loved sons and/or daughter, that is, when we decide to do evil to a neighbor—whether by gun or tongue, whether by pen or pistol.

 

The Sins of One Generation are Passed Onto the Next Generation

Now, living generation after generation in a consciousness altered by choosing not to love has awful consequences, not simply on the individual whose mind has been clouded by sin but also on those with whom the person comes into contact, including the smallest of children. A human child is now born and nurtured not in the harmony, knowledge and intensity of the unconditional, everlasting love (agape) of all people and of the God of Love who in all and loves all, but rather in some spirit or spirits other than the Holy Spirit of God-imitating-love. What will follow generation after generation then will be lethally disordered minds and destruction-based hearts in some un-loving, un-Godly spirit(s) masquerading as God and as love. These unloving spirits, e.g., envy, anger, lust, hatred, revenge, fear, greed, mercilessness, etc., indulged in generation after generation become a second nature cemented over the human being’s God given authentic nature —by society and by self. People then live-out of this second nature as if it were their true nature, generating values, attitudes, beliefs and even gods from it, who serve to validate this second nature. Once this encrustation of a second nature is placed over the nature given to a person by the Giver who is love, which ipso facto must be a nature compatible with loving as God loves, then the human beings and mutatis mutandis the human community cannot even see that God is love, how God loves each and every human being, how each and every human being has been created at the very root of his or her being to love in the image and likeness of Uncreated Love.

 

Generationally nurtured lovelessness, whether named love or nor by the society or person, blinds all to their Source, Purpose and Destiny. Human beings in this moribund spiritual, moral and psychological state have deprived themselves of the perception that they were created by Love out of Love to love their brothers and sisters in the human family and in the Father’s family, as well as, to love the Divine Lover who created a heaven and earth that is full of the glory (magnification) of God who is love. But such deprivation of perception always results in the deprivation of reason in understanding good and evil and hence always results in a deprivation of judgment, regarding the kind of God God is and the purpose for which God gave human beings existence. The lust for heroin in a heroin addict creates a second nature out of which he or she lives and chooses. It alters his or her perception, and hence moral reason and moral judgment, because all is filtered through a mind that craves heroin. So also is the case with every unloving desire chosen. Reinforced by cultural brainwashing from the cradle forward, generation on top of generation, a person or community becomes by the exercise of reason deprived of perception the moral equivalent of the Portrait of Dorian Gray—an impeccably logical human being in the service of madness.

 

Return to the Source

Only Divine Love, love as God loves, can create that union, communion, oneness between persons that is capable of indefinite and eternal growth and intensity, because only Holy Love, the Love that is the Eternal I AM, does not come to an end And since the innate God-given knowledge of such love is layered over with the hardened decay of millennia of human generations acculturating and normalizing unlove from the first breath of the person to the last, a return to an awareness of the true Source of life and love is permanently closed down. Why? The only Way a return to Love can take place is by the Way of love. Because of the second nature of lovelessness hard layered over humanity’s God-given nature by tens of thousands of years of unloving choices, humanity cannot even conceived that such a return is possible, let alone how it is possible. It is as far removed from human consciousness and consideration, as is the thought that a candidate for President of the U.S. would run his or her campaign promising to follow the Sermon on the Mount.

 

The Alienated Human Mind

The separation between God and humanity here is not from God’s side. God still loves each of those He created out of love with a personal infinite love. The separation is from the side of humanity whose members choose not to love. What they choose is less and less loving, which leads to less and less of the capacity to love and finally, less and less of the capacity to even know what love is. By each choice not to love, union, communion, oneness with God and each other grows weaker and dimmer within people until human beings feel separated from God, feel the absence of God, feel there is no God and of course feel little unity by way of the Holy Spirit of love with other human beings except, sometimes, with some family members or a few friends.

 

This isolation—the opposite of union, communion or oneness—is spelled out, true to life, in the title and content of David Riesman’s seminal work, The Lonely Crowd. The entire modern genre of philosophy called existentialism—summed up in Friedrich Nietzsche’s misunderstood and misused phrase, “God is dead,—is a description of and commentary on the total cosmic loneliness of the human being, lost in a universe into which he or she is thrown without their knowledge or consent and with only other almost totally ignorant lumps of clay like him or herself to tell him or her what it is all about and with no exit visible but the ultimate isolation of oblivion in the abyss of death. Such is the consequence of the choice of unlove, evil, across the ages—namely, the loss of a sense of loving union, communion, oneness with other human beings and with Love itself.

 

But, God who is love, never ceases to be, never ceases loving all human beings to whom He gave the gift of existence, and never ceases desiring that they would desire to be in loving union with Him and with each other. So, the Divine “quandary” was how to save humanity from the consequences of its unloving choices while simultaneously leaving human beings free not to love other human beings and/or God—freedom being a condition precedent for loving other human beings and/or God?

 

Memetics

The answer lies within the structure of the brain with which God created human beings, namely, its neurological capacity to imitate other human beings and to learn truth or untruth, good or evil thereby. Children from the earliest age begin to imitate the human beings around them. Within two days of birth a child can imitate and adult’s facial expressions and on it goes from there to peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake, to picking up a tiny toy telephone and making sounds into it in imitation of adults making telephone calls. Imitation plays a critical and major role on how, for good or for ill, a human being perceives and interprets the world from infancy onward. Good and bad, right and wrong, worthwhile and worthless, meaningful and meaningless, desirable and undesirable, truth and falsehood are all thrust into a child’s brain as normal, “that’s the way it is,” before he or she has any choice in the matter or knows what is happening to them, let alone has any significant ability to evaluate the input. The song from the musical, South Pacific, lays bear the terrible dangers to the person and to humanity that lurk within the innate capacity and necessity of human beings learning by imitation: “You’ve got to be taught before it is too late, before you are six or seven or eight, to hate all the people your relatives hate. You’ve got to be carefully taught.

 

The human is indissolubly linked to imitation. He or she has the program for it functioning within him or her practically from the hour of birth. A human being becomes an operational human being in a society by imitating or copying other human beings in whose presence he or she find themselves—or in today’s world of audio and video mass media by imitating or copying simulations of human beings whose behavior he or she is experiencing. Imitation amounts to the transfer of information—true or untrue, good or evil, etc.—between individuals and down generations without the need for genetic inheritance. When enough people are presented with the same model for imitation, imitation then becomes a form of social learning, the accuracy of which becomes near impossible to even question as truth—even when erroneous information being nurtured by imitation from the cradle to the grave is destroying human life on a grand scale internally and/or externally. Ideas about God, what kind of God God is and what God desires from and for human beings are subject to the imitation dynamic in the individual human being and in a culture as much as is language learning.

 

Love is Free Love—Or It Is Not Love

Since love cannot be imposed and since human beings are lost in the darkness of imitative traditions of unlove in which humanity has blanketed the entire human condition by its generational anti-love choices, how can human beings be saved from themselves, from what they have done to all humanity by what they have done and still do in spades to the individual person?

 

God in His never faltering love for each and all solves the enigma of this hellish plight by choosing to become a human being in all things but sin, and as Jesus of Nazareth lives the entire process of a human life from conception to death in conformity with that love that was in the beginning, is now and ever will be, and in whose image and likeness each human being is created. The individual human being and the human community now has a flesh and blood model to freely choose to follow, to imitate, if they wish to again know and live that love that is union, communion, oneness with God and with all neighbors and is the Way to union, communion, oneness with God and with all God’s sons and daughters eternally. But God Incarnate, Jesus, must first live that love within a humanity and with individual human beings who are the living results of ages of imitating unlove, of doing what is unholy, of passing on evils, ‘large’ and ‘small,’ as the normal and only reasonable way to live in this world. This means that unlove is always nearby to try to prove to Jesus and all humanity that it is the power and wisdom, the way, the truth and the life, the sustaining and the protecting force that human beings need to be truly human and to survive in this jungle that is the human condition.

 

The Incarnate God, Jesus, had to be “like us humans in all things but sin, if He was to fulfill His merciful mission of saving the humanity in the only Way it could be saved, by loving human beings as God loves them and presenting for all to see a flesh and blood model of that love to freely choose to imitate individually and communally. By choosing to live as a human being amidst the rotten fruits of tens of thousands of years of human beings imitating unlove in the flesh, and only by doing this, was He able reveal to human beings, to show human beings the Way to love in confrontation with chronic and all-permeating unlove. Being gossiped about in derogatory terms, e.g., “He eats with sinners and prostitutes, being run out of his hometown by the self-righteous, being plotted against by the holy men of His day, being thought crazy by family members and friends, being betrayed, being condemned by the best and the brightest, being tortured by soldiers, being humiliated and being killed are only some of the evil manifestations of unlove, of human existence, Jesus had to confront, endure and respond to with the love of God in order to be the model and witness to Divine Love, to the only love that saves, to the only love that has within it the power to result in an eternal communion, union, of love with God and with each human being. Without seeing Jesus live this love in conflict with real evil, petty and gross, imitation of Jesus in the world of sin and death would be impossible. Then the only persons to imitate would still be people nurtured in the same way all have been nurtured generation after generation since Cain.

 

The Key

Jesus’ “new commandment, spoken at the Last Supper, moments before entering into His great confrontation of evil with love, reads thus: I give to you a new commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (Jn 13:34, 15:12). The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1970, 2822) teaches that the new commandment  “contain the entire moral Law of the Gospel” and “summarizes the teaching of Jesus.” This is because as Pope Benedict XVI has written, “Jesus and His teaching cannot be separated. His words and His deeds are one. He is His words and His words are Him.” If He did not love as God—who is love—loves through the vicissitudes of unlove that human beings have to confront, His “new commandment” would not carry much spiritual or moral practical weight. But He was unreservedly faithful to the love that is the love of God in the common affairs of His life and in the terrifying crisis moments. And because of this, each human being and all humanity has an exit from beneath the monstrous tell of normalized, imitative unlove, un-holiness and evil with which humanity has covered itself. Did Jesus have to be crucified and yet love unceasingly throughout the specific ordeal of crucifixion to save humanity, to open a door for humanity to escape the perpetual darkness in which it had cloaked itself? Maybe not specifically crucifixion, but He would still have had to confront and endure unlove, evil, suffering and death as all human beings must—and He would have had to confront and endure them with the same steadfast love with which He confronted them in Gethsemane and on Golgotha, at the pillar of His torture and on the cross of His death, if He was to be the embodiment, model and in the end witness to, via His Resurrection, that love that saves from evil and death and re-establish humanity in that knowledge and reality of union, communion and oneness with God who is love. Freely chosen love, modeled on the Word of God who became flesh, is the only means that can re-establish for the human being consciousness of eternal communion with God, and Jesus is the infallible presentation of that love to humanity. The imitation of Christ, i.e., following the “new commandment, individually and by extension collectively in the Church—for the Church is supposed to be the community that is the “extension of Christ in time and space” (St. Augustine)—is the only Way to be what we truly are and to become what we were truly created to be, “partakers of the Divine Nature” (CCC #460) in an eternal union with the Father of all. Participation in a reality is a way of knowing the reality. Freely participating, by loving as Christ loves, in Divine Love is the Way to Divine Love and to awareness of being in communion with Divine Love.

 

When Jesus says, “Follow me, He is not ordering a person to do something. He is inviting the person to imitate God who is love “made flesh,” so that he or she can return to his or her right mind and heart and again be what they are—a being made in the image and likeness of God. So that he or she can “become God” (The Catechism of the Catholic Church #460).

 

The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love: ‘In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him (1Jn 4:9). The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness. Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law ”Love one another as I have loved you” (CCC #458, 459)

 

 

God is love and God became a human being so that human beings could become God are explicit teachings of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and other Churches as to the ultimate ‘why’ of the Incarnation. The love that is modeled on the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus once chosen by a person has within it the infinite power of God. As with splitting an atom, the choice to do an act of Christlike love releases into the human situation immeasurable and unfathomable sanctifying, healing, reconciling and uniting energy. What energy of Chrislike love can do for one and for all once released by the choice of a human being into the human situation is beyond imagination or calculation—even unto bringing salvation to all people.

 

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his or her brother or sister is a liar. This is the commandment we have from Him: Whoever loves God must also love his or her brother and sister” (1Jn: 20, 21). The love that is the love of God, the love that is Christlike love, the love by which we partake in the nature of divinity is and must be catholic since God is the Father of all. No son or daughter of the Father of all that passes our way on earth or in heaven can be unloved by us without spiritually and morally stepping back into the world of unlove and to that degree un-union with God. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1Jn 4:8). Eternal unity, by way of a communion of love with the God who is love, is impossible by way of a selective love of neighbor, e.g., the exclusion of our enemies. An unloved enemy is the results of a person(s) living in and out of unlove, not in living in communion with God who is love.

 

The Cost of the Key

The price God had to pay for the redemption of a humanity with a free will from evil and death, from the hermetically sealed world of unlove into which human beings had sealed themselves, was to become a human being in Jesus and lived a life of Godly love in the flesh, thereby revealing the Way to exit this airtight charnel house. Not really knowing what the omniscience of God involves, He may have gotten far worse than He anticipated when He chose to enter into the human condition as an ordinary human being and love as God loves. But whatever the case may be on that point, He paid the price. He did what had to be done—which we now know was to love as God loves throughout His life, including during the nightmarish eighteen hours of His Passion—in order to give human beings the escape key, the Way to live in thought, word and deed, that would release them from the hellish inferno they had made of human existence. But like the free gift of creation from God, the free gift of redemption from God was not a gift by which the human being was stripped of his or her humanity and turned into a painless, blissful, mechanical robot. Redemption, like creation, is the redemption of a human being with free will. This means that no human being has to accept or use the key that opens the door to the Way of eternal communion with God. It also means that either God nor human beings can stop at some point loving, eternally loving, the unloving, which means that the almighty power to save is always operative in God and those in communion with God.

 

Atonement

This process of Atonement, which can be called by the various theological names, reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, theosis, deification or divinization is initiated by God’s merciful love, both in its original creation dimension and in its redemption dimension. God so loves humanity that He created human beings and so loves humanity that he redeemed them by sending His Son to give His beloved human beings the key to re-opening the door to the knowledge of His love and salvation—a door humanity had closed once human beings had fallen into unlove towards each other and hence towards God. “Love is of God, everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God for God is love” (1 Jn 4:7-8). “God is love and whoever abides in love abides in God and God in him or her” (1 Jn 4:16).

 

However, in all cases whether it be creation or redemption, “we love because God loved us first” (1 Jn 4:19). But note the logic of Divine Nonviolent Love: “In this is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 Jn 4:10-11). Logic drenched in unlove of the world says If I love you, you should love me This of course makes the love that is being talked about comparable to the love of life in a brothel, tit for tat, the logic of equivalency, the logic of justice, an eye for an eye, love for love.

 

Atonement and a Return to Rightmindedness

Jesus’ atoning sacrifice was a sacrifice of love and for love because it was necessary to reveal to fallen human beings by word and deed how to truly be the loving human beings they were created to be, and thereby again be in communion with all neighbors and with the Source and Sustainer of all—God who is love. The logic of God’s love turns the logic of the world upside down, “Since God so loved us, we should love one another” is neither the wisdom nor practice the world. The logic of Divine Love, Christlike love, is love freely given by God to the unloving, that is to those still in sin, in order to inspire, to motivate, to empower and to energize the sinner to freely give the same gift of love to other sinners, that he or she is receiving from God via their creation and redemption. It is this logic of Divine love of neighbor and of God that God Incarnate, Jesus, at agonizing sacrifice to Himself, places by way of His entire life before the eyes of human beings to imitate. Especially does He do this at the ultimate moment of His chosen sacrifice to love for the sake of reveling authentic love—the moment of the Cross. In the midst of the horrific pain and torment of a crucifixion He loves the unloving who brought this intolerable misery down upon Him. He loves them by praying for their forgiveness and even offering an exculpating excuse to God for them: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do. Jesus revelation of the love that saves, that leads to and is communion with God, that is to be imitated individually and communally is clear: “Whoever cannot love a neighbor whom he or she can see, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1 Jn 4:20). The neighbor according to His Sermon on the Mount and His Sermon from the Cross includes the lethal enemy.

 

The community of Christians, the Church, is where collectively this logic of Holy love, Christlike love, is meant to be creatively lived by all the members and therefore available for observation and imitation by anyone from 9 hours to 969 years. And all that is required to participate in this process of Atonement—conceived by the merciful love of God and made available to all by His Son’s sacrifice of relinquishing all means of confronting evil in a radically unloving world except the means of Divine love—is to choose second by second until seconds are no more “to love one another as I have loved you.” That such a love is always nonviolent and never excludes anyone, including lethal enemies is self-evident in the inspired and revelatory text of the Gospels.

 

Means and Ends of Atonement

Saint Thomas Aquinas states, “Means that cannot accomplish their intended ends are illusions.” They may accomplish other ends. But, they are illusionary means, non- existent means, and unreal means, in relation to the ends desired. Gandhi somewhat less prosaically says, “The means are the ends in embryo. As you choose your means, you get your ends. That is the iron law of the moral universe. Most people would say that this is also the binding law of the physical universe. If you sow wheat, you get wheat, not corn. You may advertise your wheat as corn and people may buy it as corn. But when they use it or eat it, its effects, e.g., on celiac disease patients, will be those of wheat, not corn.

 

If one wishes to be in eternal union, communion, unity with God who is love (agape), the only means to that end is to love (agape). We know what that love is and looks like on earth in confrontation with evil, as well as in daily existence from the life, teaching and death of Jesus. Nothing generates union, communion, unity, a sense of oneness of identity as does love between human beings with each other and between God and human beings. Restoring that lost union, communion, unity and oneness for human beings in time and in eternity via human beings freely deciding to live, indeed to be, Christlike Nonviolent Love is the purpose of God Incarnate’s imitable atoning sacrifice of Nonviolent Love. It is a sacrifice of self to Nonviolent Love of all in all circumstances in order to reveal, energize and make practically possible to human beings the Nonviolent Love of all in all circumstances—thereby bring to light the only means to eternal union, communion, oneness with God that is not an illusionary means. It is why this process is called at-one-ment.

 

—Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

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Antonin Scalia’s Death: A Summons to Mercy

Antonin Scalia’s Death: A Summons to Mercy by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

 

Mark Twain wrote that Christianity took all the peace out of death. Strictly construed the statement is erroneous.

 

Nevertheless, Jesus in the Gospels and in some forms of Christianity keep before the mind what, perhaps, a person would prefer to suppress from explicit consciousness, namely, that time and its choices are tethered to eternity. For Christians and others, human existence as lived on earth is not just a meaningless conglomeration of choices in an eternally insignificant game in a sandbox. A human being is not merely a poor player that struts and frets its hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.” Jesus reveals that the conceivable connection between life on earth and in eternity is a fact of human existence (see Mt 25:36ff, “When the Son of Man comes in all His glory…”). It is called judgment. He also makes clear what the standard of judgment will be when the Book of Conscience for each life is read:For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you again” (Mt 7:2, 6:13; Mk 4:24; Lk 6:37), “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy” (Mt 5:7), “Whatever you do unto the least, you do unto me” (Mt 25: 40, 45).

 

The funeral liturgy for Antonin Scalia at the Immaculate Conception Basilica was imperial. It was the social-political event for this year in D.C., so far. The glitterati of politics, the media, finance and the military were there in all their glory. Of course, the one person not in the pews or in the sanctuary was Antonin Scalia. He was with the community of the dead. He was face to face with Ricky Ray Rector, Lionel Herrera, Willie Brown, Karla Faye Tucker, Warren McCleskey, Lynda Block, Willie Darden, Amos King and newly arrived on February 17, 2016, Travis Hittson, as well as 1272 others in whose homicide he participated. In almost all of the 1282 death penalty cases during his time on the Supreme Court, he was positioned to mercifully stop the destruction of each of these human beings. But he publicly, and vigorously or silently, refused to be merciful. A large percentage of the victims of his mercilessness were afforded a funeral far removed from the garishness of his funeral. They were simply thrown into a pauper’s grave with the rest of “the least.”

 

On the several nationally televised live broadcasts of Antonin’s funeral—and on the days before and after his funeral—the U.S. public was inundated with non-stop laudatory commentaries about him via U.S. corporate media. So be it. People can say what they want, or what they are paid to say as they wish. But let us not be infantile. All praise of any kind originates in some value system, which holds “this or that” is worthwhile in reality. In the Mafia, the road to praise and glory is being an obedient enforcer for the godfather. In Jesus’ understanding of reality, and hence of what is worthwhile, such activity would not be praiseworthy. It would be spurned as evil. What good does it do a person to be a highly praised and honored Mafia enforcer and lose his immortal soul, would be the view from Jesus’ understanding of reality.

 

Supreme Court Justice Harold Blackmun, a Jew, could easily have supported the death penalty by following the lex talionis found in the Mosaic Law and other codes of law:

The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Dt 19:20-21; Lev 24:19-21; Ex 21:23).

But, Blackmun did not. When he announced his intention to no longer support the death penalty in any case, he said, “When I sit on a Court that reviews and affirms capital convictions, I am part of the machinery of death.” Antonin Scalia a Catholic Christian believed that Jesus was Lord, God, Messiah, the Word of God Incarnate and Savior. He knew that according to His Church’s doctrine, “The commandments of Jesus, preeminently the Sermon on the Mount, are the standard of Christian conduct, not the Mosaic law, except where some of the Mosaic commandments have now been invested with the authority of Jesus.” He also knew Jesus did not “invested with His authority” the lex talionis, but rather totally rejected it: “You have heard it said of old, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ but I say to you…” (Mt 5:38-42).  But, he chose to live a significant segment of his life by the letter and spirit of lex talionis.

 

Yet, Antonin Scalia was lionized in the official Catholic press and among the Catholic hierarchy for his Catholicism, even though by a premeditated decision he chose to be only a part-time disciple of Jesus—something Jesus called no one to be. By his own admission, he parted company with Jesus at the doorway to his job. In other words, he followed not the Way of Jesus but the Way of Mafia Catholicism—family values, excessive tithing, tenacious patriotism, reception of all the Sacraments, a pedestal-like respect for nuns and an appetite for liturgical theatre. But when it came to the organization’s business, Jesus and His teachings were left on the doorstep and locked-out.

 

What concerns me is the eternal and temporal lethal frivolousness of Mr. Scalia’s Christian witness, indeed his false witness, to others of the Jesus of the Gospels and His teaching. What is equally disquieting are the leaders of the institutional Churches exuberantly aggrandizing his part-time, les talionis Christianity. But, what is spiritually alarming in the extreme is his perception of God and reality that would lead him and like-minded Christians to continuously and heedlessly pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

 

Again, time and its choices of thoughts, words and deeds are tethered to eternity.

 

The full version of this article can be read here:

http://www.emmanuelcharlesmccarthy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Antonin-Scalias-Death-and-the-Death-Penalty-.pdf

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Antonin Scalia’s Death and the Death Penalty: A Teachable Moment

Antonin Scalia’s Death and the Death Penalty: A Teachable Moment

 

Over the last few days we have been subjected to a non-stop laudatory commentary via U.S. corporate media on Antonin Scalia, who died on February13, 2016. So be it. People can say what they want, or what they are paid to say as they wish. For my part I only wish Antonin Scalia, a fellow Christian and human being, the best in his future existence.

 

The glitterati of Washington’s political and media society fought like the devil to get a ticket into the Immaculate Conception Basilica for his Catholic funeral liturgy. The greats of the corporate world and Wall Street were well represented in the great Church for the event. Prelates and military men of status and power were very much part of the scene. The Scalia funeral liturgy was the social-political event of the year in D.C. so far. Of course, the one person who was not in the pews or in the sanctuary was Antonin Scalia. He was with the community of the dead. He was face to face with Ramon Hernandez, Willie Brown, Karla Faye Tucker, Warren McCleskey, Lynda Block, Billy Ray Williams, Esequel Banda, Kimberly McCarthy, Willie Darden, Lisa Coleman, Walter Williams, Lionel Herrera, Suzanne Basso, Amos King, Terry Lyn Short and newly arrived on February 17, 2016, Travis Hittson, as well as 1266 others in whose homicide he participated.

 

His accomplishments in one of the kingdoms of this world, the United States, were remembered and much ballyhooed at his funeral, but are of no interest to me. What concerns me is the spiritual and temporal frivolousness of his witness, indeed his false witness, to the Jesus of the Gospels as a prime advocate, practitioner and executioner of the death penalty, wearing his Christianity on his sleeve for everyone to see, even as he sent person after person to his or her death. Over his thirty years on the Supreme Court—the court of last resort and hope for a person pleading to be saved from the application of the merciless eye-for-eye, tooth-for-tooth, death-for-death lex talionis of Judaism (Lev 24:19-21; Ex 21:23; Dt 19:20-21) —1,282 human beings were killed under a death penalty law. In almost all cases he was positioned to stop the homicide, but he publicly and vigorously or silently refused. What concerns me is the Church of Jesus Christ, which by definition is supposed to be “an extension of Christ in time and space,” validating, endorsing and indeed glorifying his homicidal activity as consistent with the person and/or teaching of the Jesus of the Gospels, and thereby misleading other Christians and non-Christians about the truth that Jesus taught in the Gospels as the Way and Will of God for His chosen disciples.

 

Machinery of Death

Here, in a University of Chicago speech, is how Antonin Scalia justified his participation in the killing of helplessly bound men and women prisoners, who by some application of some state method of determining legal guilt, were designated guilty of unjustly killing a human being:

 

“But while my views on the morality of the death penalty have nothing to do with how I vote as a judge, they have a lot to do with whether I can or should be a judge at all. To put the point in the blunt terms employed by Justice Harold Blackmun towards the end of his career on the bench, when he announced that he would henceforth vote to overturn all death sentences: ‘When I sit on a Court that reviews and affirms capital convictions, I am part of “the machinery of death.’ My vote, when joined with at least four others, is, in most cases, the last step that permits an execution to proceed. I could not take part in that process if I believed what was being done to be immoral.”

 

“I could not take part in that process if I believed what was being done to be immoral.” Therein lays the spiritual and temporal, lethal and frivolous witness of his Christian witness to the Way taught by Jesus in the Gospels for His chosen disciple. It is true that the Mosaic Law along with numerous other codes of law state approximately what Deuteronomy 19:20-21 declares:

 

The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

 

It is equally true, however, that Jesus declares for those who believe He is Lord, God, Messiah, the Word of God Incarnate and Savior, “You have heard it said of old, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ but I say to you…” (Mt 5:38-42), which is an exposition rejecting even proportionate retaliation. So how, pray tell, does a Christian acquire the requisite degree of moral certainty to become “part of the machinery of death” that executes people under the auspices of one code of law or another? Can a Christian judge in a country whose code of law beheads a woman legally designated an adulteress vote for her execution, become part of the “machinery of death” that legally cuts her head off?

 

Antonin Scalia, a Baptized Christian, justifies his participation in the “machinery of death” that burns people to death in an electric chair this way:

 

“The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead—or, as I prefer to put it, enduring. It means today not what current society (much less the Court) thinks it ought to mean, but what it meant when it was adopted. For me, therefore, the constitutionality of the death penalty is not a difficult, soul-wrenching question. It was clearly permitted when the Eighth Amendment was adopted (not merely for murder, by the way, but for all felonies—including, for example, horse thieving, as anyone can verify by watching a western movie). And so it is clearly permitted today.”

 

A Method of Interpretation as the Highest Good to be Followed

In the shifty and slippery language of legalese this method of interpretation is called strict constructionism. If a constitution or some other primary legal code of a state says and has said since its composition that a particular act is legal then this is what a Christian strict constructionist judge must accept as his or her duty to support and enforce via the police power of the state. Hence Antonin Scalia, Christian, is just doing his job, in following precedent over the teachings of Jesus, sending people to death that the law designates should be killed. How this differs from the following reflection by Thomas Merton is beyond my rational power to discern:

 

“Adolph Eichmann and others like him felt no guilt for their share in the extermination of the Jews. This feeling of justification was due partly to their absolute obedience to higher legal authority and partly to the care of an efficiency that went into the details of their work. This made the big business of death all the more innocent and effective because it involved a long chain of individuals, each of whom from bottom to top could feel himself absolved from responsibility and each of whom would salve his conscience with the meticulous efficiency he put into his part in the operation.”

 

Two points concerning the above: One, Antonin Scalia was lauded among his judicial peers for the exceptionally meticulous effort he put into his personal strict constructionist’s Constitutional interpretation upholding the death penalty. Two, in exterminating the Jews, Hitler and other Germans like him broke no laws. Everything they did was legal. This is why the ex post facto law of so-called crimes against humanity had to be created. Anton Scalia broke no laws in the way he participated in the killing of people.

 

 

Are all Occupations Open to Christians to Pursue?

But the issue is, can a Christian in good faith morally take a job that requires him or her to do what Jesus never did, would never do and taught His disciple they should not do? Can a Baptized follower of Jesus join a group, that regularly as a normal part of being a group, engages in activities that Jesus could never be imagined doing, and that in no way could ever be interpreted as obeying Jesus’ “new commandmentto “love one another as I have loved you”? Where does Jesus give His Baptized disciples divine permission to substitute the law and rules of a group for His revelatory teaching regarding the will of the Father, which He comes to earth to do and to teach by His words and deeds? Nowhere! He does not grant such permission to any disciple!

 

The Irrelevancy of Catholic Christianity to the Workplace

Yet, Antonin Scalia, so lionized in the Catholic press and among the Catholic hierarchy for his Catholicism, said in a 2007 address at a Villanova Law School conference, “The bottom line is that my Catholic faith seems to me to have little effect on my work as a judge. Just as there is no ‘Catholic’ way to cook a hamburger, I am hard pressed to tell you of a single opinion of mine that would have come out differently if I were not Catholic.” Despite the fallaciousness of his hamburger analogy, his position is clear. The Jesus of the Gospels has nothing pertinent to say to him regarding killing people that other people say should be killed.

 

I can only ask again, “Where does Jesus give His chosen, Baptized disciple divine permission to substitute a group’s rule or decision made by mere creatures for His revelation of the moral will of the Creator? Where does He present the option of being a part-time disciple? The Greek word from which baptized is derived means total immersion. From the moment of one’s Baptism, there are no time-outs. Antonin Scalia’s Catholicism as he relates it to his job is comparable to Mafia Catholic morality—staunchly Catholic in family values, excessive in tithing, receiving all the Sacraments, an exuberant respect for nuns and good liturgical theatre, but when it comes to the organization’s business, Christianity and Catholicism are shut out completely. To repeat what I said in the beginning, “What concerns me is the eternal and temporal lethal frivolousness of his witness, indeed his false witness, to the Jesus of the Gospels and His teaching, while wearing his Christianity on his sleeve for everyone to see.” And as also said in the beginning, what concerns me equally is the institutional Church aggrandizing his Christian witness to his fellow Christians and to the world. But then, laying aside the Gospel to pick up the gun is the entire history of Constantinian Christianity and its anti-witness to the truth of the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels for 1700 years. This, however, does not mean that the rulers of the institutional Church should be permitted to go forward unimpeded and unprotested—especially in view of the ultimate end that is at stake, specifically the eternal salvation of each and all.

 

Mosaic Law and State Law

In countering the anti-witness of Antonin Scalia to Jesus’ teaching, it might be pertinent to be acutely aware of the commentary attached to the concluding verse, Mt 28:20 of the Gospel of Saint Matthew, in the official Bible of the Catholic Church, The New American Bible:

 

‘All that I have commanded you;’ that is the moral teaching found in the Gospel, preeminently that of the Sermon on the Mount. The commandments of Jesus are the
standard of Christian conduct, not the Mosaic law, except where some of the
Mosaic commandments have now been invested with the authority of Jesus.

 

Obviously the Mosaic Law’s lex talionis has not been invested with the authority of Jesus for Christian conduct, since He explicitly repudiated it in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:38-42), as well as, by His entire life and on the cross—where He did not retaliate by calling down curses of death on those killing Him, but instead mercifully loved, prayed for and forgave His enemies who were His murderers.

 

Now although it is blatantly evident, it probably needs to be explicitly mentioned here, that Jesus also did not teach His Church or its leaders to substitute philosophy, liberal or conservative, as the standard of Christian conduct or as a way to downgrade, supersede, alter, transmogrify or otherwise render operationally nugatory His commandments and His Sermon on the Mount. It also should be patently evident, but equally in need of mentioning, that if “the commandments of Jesus are the standard of Christian conduct, not the Mosaic law,” then “the commandments of Jesus are the standard of Christian conduct” and not some secular state law put together by post-Original Sin men and women.

 

Examination of Conscience and the Beam in One’s Own Eye

Antonin Scalia wrote regarding his unalterable support of killing human beings that have been designated by some process of law to be no longer worthy of life that, “If the system that has been in place for 200 years (and remains widely approved) ‘shocks’ the consciousness of the dissenters [to the death penalty], perhaps they should doubt the calibration of their consciences, or, better still, the usefulness of ‘conscience shocking’ as a legal test.” The accepted mythology behind such a statement by a Christian would take volumes of exegesis to unpack. But what is clear and spiritually staggering in the face of the teachings of Jesus is that Antonin does not seem to think he needs to doubt the calibration of his own conscience. To a literate outsider who has read the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels, to hear a Christian—who participates in the name of some code of law in legally killing helplessly bound and gaged prisoners—maniacally maintain that those Christians who disagree with him must consider re-calibrating their consciences, not him, must seem mind-boggling.

 

Time Choices and Eternal Consequences

The gigantic, unknown and unfathomable reality that a person enters after his or her last breath may or may not be tethered—as far as one can humanly see—to anything a person has done on earth. In faith, the Gospel reveals to us that there is a connection and that what we do on earth makes a difference in eternity. Human existence as lived is not just a meaningless conglomeration of choices in an eternally insignificant game in a sandbox. Believing “Jesus is Lord” makes a difference in time and in eternity. “Whatever you do unto the least you do unto me,” (Mt 25:31-46) communicates an unbreakable link between an act in time and one’s eternity. Praying to God to, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, is not merely an oft-repeated mindless mantra, which is unrelated to human choices in time, the state of soul of a person and the process of eternal redemption. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you again” (Mt 7:2, 6:13; Mk 4:24; Lk 6:37) is the absolute, infallible truth of the Word of God Incarnate Himself in the Gospels regarding an ineradicable dimension of reality beyond death. How these truths mentioned immediately above play-out in eternity is beyond human comprehension. That they are operative in eternity is certain truth because Christ-God teaches that they are.

 

The Integral Unity of the Will of God in Heaven and on Earth

The Catholic faith is clear. Under the heading Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2822 proclaims, “His commandment is that ‘you love one another; even as I have loved you, you should love one another.’ This commandment summarizes all others and express the entire will of the Father.” This new commandment of Jesus not only informs the Christian with the standard of right and wrong that he or she must adhere to in all his or her choices on earth, but also tells the Christian the relationship between people that exists in heaven, since the new commandmentexpresses the entire will of the Father’ that is to “be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Hence, anyone who is invited into heaven by the Father and who desires to be in heaven and who freely accepts the Father invitation must irrevocably choose, as his or her Way of being, becoming and doing for all eternity, life in conformity with the new commandment. This is the choice one must make to enter into the Kingdom of God. Heaven, like God’s Will, Way and Love, is imposed on nobody. Nor, is it entered into simply by repetitive, private or public incantations. Heaven for the Christian is a Trinitarian Reality. It is a freely accepted insertion into the Love that exists among the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is active incorporation in, participation in and communion with the love (agapé) that is God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the never-ceasing sharing of that love with all other human beings who are in heaven. Heaven is loving God and neighbor for all eternity as Jesus loves God and neighbor. If a person does not want to do this, even towards a single brother or sister, he or she does not want heaven. For in heaven, by the free choice of God and by the free choice of every person in heaven, there is not a scintilla of non-Christlike love, not a mustard seed of mercilessness.

 

So, must the 1,282 people toward whom Antonin Scalia acted mercilessly on earth—by the standard of “new commandment” merciful love—now be merciful to Antonin, if heaven is where they want to be for eternity?  It seems so, because there is no place or option for anything else but “new commandment” of Christlike merciful love in heaven. And, if one does not show Christlike merciful love towards the person who needs mercy, who is the Christian in heaven or on earth going to be mercifully loving towards?

 

And what of Antonin Scalia? Does he now have to love as Jesus loves the 1,282 victims of his un-Jesus-like mercilessness in order to enter into the Kingdom of the God, who is love? Does love as taught by Jesus require admitting evil has been done to some one and seeking forgiveness from and reconciliation with the person to whom you have done evil, e.g., destroying his or her life on earth by obeying a code of choices written by men and women rather than obeying the Word of God Incarnate?

 

Is being merciful toward the merciless the sacrament through which the merciless come to recognize Jesus and His truth, repent and become merciful as their heavenly Father is merciful?

 

Let us with purity of heart pray:

May the All Merciful Father somehow grant to the soul of your son, Antonin, and to all your sons and daughters, a merciful rest with the merciful saints in a place where mercy reigns supreme, and where there is no fear, no pain, no sorrow, no sighing, but only eternal Communion in the Love of God and with the God of Love. Amen.

 

—Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

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GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE: OPTION OR OBLIGATION: Keeping before one’s eyes the supreme law of the Church

GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE- OPTION OR OBLIGATION- Keeping before one’s eyes the supreme law of the Church

Here are two questions, which for forty years, I have been trying to get every Catholic Bishop, including Popes—not their clerical public relations surrogates— to publicly answer with a straight, “Yes,” or “No.” One: Does Jesus in the Gospels, who comes “to do only the will of my Father,” teach by His words and by His deeds a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies unto death for those He has chosen to be His disciples? Two: If He does, is following Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies unto death intrinsically essential for the salvation of souls?

 

Canon §1752, the final words of the final canon in the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law state, “the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law of the Church, is to be kept before one’s eyes. The eternal salvation of one and all is the reason for the Incarnation and everything else that follows in the life of Jesus of Nazareth up to and including His Resurrection. The eternal salvation of human beings is therefore the reason the Church exists. It is the essential mission of Jesus and therefore must be the essential mission of the Church. Hence it must be “the supreme law of the Church, against which everything the institutional Church and its official personnel do must be measured in order to judge whether it serves or detracts from the particular and universal salvific mission of Jesus.

 

So in Jesus’ teaching, is His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies intrinsically essential for the chosen disciples of the Christ to follow for the eternal salvation of each and all? If not, why not? If not, which of His teachings are essential for salvation, if any, and why? Why did He even bother teaching and living unto being tortured and murdered the Way of Nonviolent Love of enemies, if it had no essential relation to His mission of saving each and all from evil and death and bringing each and all into eternal Communion with the eternal God “who is love” (agapé)?

 

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through me” (Jn 14:16). The mystery of salvation is as deep and as incomprehensible as the mystery of God, the mystery of life, the mystery of evil and the mystery of death. There are countless options in faiths and opinions in philosophies on how to understand and cope with each and all of these perpetually abiding mysteries within human existence. Jesus and the Way He teaches by word and embodies by deed is just one of the many options available from which to choose. So, why choose Jesus and His Way, especially in light of His so called “hard sayings,” e.g., “Love your enemies”; “Put up your sword”; “Do good to those who hate you”; “Pray for those who persecute you”; Bless those who curse you”; “If a person strikes you on one cheek, offer the other as well”; “I give you a new commandment; love one another as I have loved you”; “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do to me”; “Forgive seventy times seven times”; “Before Abraham was, I am”; “This is my body”; “This is my blood”?

 

There is only one authentic and sane and reasonable answer to the above question. It is the answer Peter gave to Jesus when His disciples were abandoning Him because His sayings were “hard.” As a result of this, many of His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer followed Him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Master to whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life. You are the Holy One of God’ (Jn 6:66-69).

 

“You have the words of eternal life. You are the Holy One of God.” Those are the words of faith in the absolute spiritual and moral authority of Jesus, because He is “the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God,” who comes into this world, with the Word of God and as the Word of God, to save the people of Judaism and all people from the wickedness and death in which they are endlessly entrapped, bringing them unto the eternal Kingdom of God. Do those “words of eternal life” from the “Holy One” include the above noted hard sayings of Jesus? Yes or No? Let us for once have a straightforward, unequivocal, public answer from those who dare to stand before God, the Church and all humanity and represent themselves as the ultimate and definitive teachers of the Way of eternal life taught by Jesus.

 

If Bishops believe that those words spoken by Jesus are not “words of eternal life, are not intrinsically essential for carrying out the supreme mission of Jesus and His Church, the salvation of souls, then let them forthrightly say so. If they believe those words of Jesus quoted above are only words of good advice to be followed when convenient, let them publicly tell that to God, the Church and all humanity. And let them—not their surrogates—explain what in the teaching of Jesus permits them to downgrade some or all of His “words of life” to suggestions that may or may not be applicable in some situations. It would also be fitting and right to hear from the official teachers what words take primacy over “the words of life” of “the Holy One of God” in the process of the eternal salvation of each and all. Perhaps, they believe Aristotle’s ‘golden mean’ does? Or, the orders of a president or the commands of a general do?

 

At the risk of sounding absurd, we have to ask Bishops and ourselves as Christians—and insist that we get a plain-spoken, uncontrived answer from both parties—do those “words of eternal life” quoted above from Jesus mean not only what they logically communicate but also mean that their logical opposite is a Way of eternal salvation for each and all, e.g., “Hate your enemies”; “Take up the sword”; “Do evil to those who hate you”; “Do not pray for those who persecute you”; “Curse those who curse you”; “If a person strikes you on one cheek, strike him on the other”; “I give you a new commandment, love one another as politicians, mass media and moguls tell you how to love one another”; “Ignore or use “the least” of this world, for whatever you do or do not do to them is irrelevant for they are the nobodies of human existence and have no meaning, purpose or lasting place in history”; “Forgive when it is in your interests to do so and get even when it is in your interests to do so”; “Jesus is to Abraham no more than Moses, David, Phineas, and Caiaphas are to Abraham, namely, a Jewish person in the Abrahamic historical faith lineage”; “This is not my body”; “This is not my blood”?

 

The principle of non-contradiction that governs all rational thought and communication states, “Between two logical and meaningful propositions, ‘X’ and ‘not-X’ there is no middle ground. If one is true the other is false.” Can this principle of rational thought and communication simply be set aside when it comes to the “hard sayings” of Jesus? Where would the justification be found in the teaching of Jesus for doing such a thing? It is not there! Yet, it is done and approved of by Bishops, their institutional Church administrators and congregations daily, as the normal way for understanding the “hard sayings” of Jesus. If this method of interpretation were employed with the declarative and imperative sentences of any other piece of literature, it would be universally denounced as Orwellian doublespeak.
Let those, who are the ultimate and definitive teachers of Jesus’ Way of eternal salvation—not their surrogates—explain how the most important words ever spoken in human history regarding the most important matters confronting all human beings—evil, death, eternal salvation—communicate not only what they clearly say is true, but also communicate that their logical opposites are true, e.g., loving your enemies as Jesus loved His enemies includes the possibility slitting enemies’ throats or incinerating enemies with a flame thrower and napalm on some occasions. For, this is what the Bishops of the Churches are teaching, have been teaching and/or allowing to be taught by their silence as a way to eternal salvation in those venues under their control. Venues—pulpits, Catholic (Christian) newspapers, TV and radio, Catholic (Christian) schools, religious education programs and seminaries—where Jesus’ “words of life” unto the eternal salvation of each and all must be the supreme law governing all that is said and done in them.

 

Is throat slitting, which is the logical opposite of what “love your enemies” means and which is an everyday act in a so called “just Christian war” as it is in all wars, a way to fulfill the supreme law of the Church or a way to fulfill the supreme commandment of Jesus, His “new commandment; love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34, 15:12)? This utterly unique and “new commandment of Jesus the Church declares “is the new Law of the Holy Spirit,” which “contains the entire Law of the Gospel,” and “expresses His entire will” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, §1970, 2823, 782). It is the Way Jesus taught by His words and deeds unto eternal life. The new commandment is why, from the beginning, Jesus is called both the Way and the Life. Its logical opposite is, “Do not love as I have.” Is not loving as Jesus loved, e.g., killing and maiming enemies, also a way to eternal life? Is teaching a Catholic just war theory, with the approval of the Bishop from a Catholic pulpit or in a Catholic school, keeping before one’s eyes the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law of the Church? Eternal salvation through throat slitting?
Can there be a spiritually more dangerous evil than defying the Holy Spirit of Truth by toying with the salvation of souls by teaching what Jesus calls evil as “good,” by teaching as an alternative to Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies the way and words of self-reverential, self-referential and self-justifying violence? Violence—whether designated by humans as legitimate or illegitimate, legal or illegal, just or unjust, sanctioned or unsanctioned, romantic or sordid—as the Way of Jesus or as a Way endorsed by Jesus to eternal Communion with God for each and for all is a lie. It is the “Big Lie” of the institutional Churches and those who control their avenues of communication to the flock and to the humanity in general.

 

If bishops, priests, ministers, pastors and deacons do not want to teach the Way of eternal salvation of souls, all souls, taught by Jesus, and want instead to teach some humanly contrived alternative way to eternal salvation, e.g., killing other beloved sons and daughters of the Father of all because some politicians order them killed, then they have no business passing themselves off a ministers of Jesus’ mission on earth—the eternal salvation of all people.

 

Human beings, Christians and otherwise, are paying dearly and beyond all human calculation for Bishops and their institutional Churches continuing to cleverly sabotage the salvific teaching of Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as the Way of discipleship. Jesus by His words and deeds reveals to humanity the love that is the only power that saves from evil and death and that brings human beings unto eternal life with God. It is the only power that saves because to “love as Jesus loves, is to love as the God of love Incarnate loves. Such love is union with and participation in the very power of God, which is the only power that can vanquish evil and death and guarantee eternal life in Communion with God who is love (agapé). Christic love is the sole means of eternal salvation for each and all. Such love in thought, word and/or deed in any given moment of one’s life is always as small as a mustard seed and as powerless as a mustard seed appears from the outside. But such love and only such love contains within it the power of God. Such mustard-seed love and only such mustard-seed love is the Way of the eternal Kingdom of God. It is by planting little mustard seeds of Christlike love that Kingdom of God “springs up” (Mk 4:30-31; Mt13: 31-32; Lk 13:18-19). There is no other option!

 

And because God Incarnate, Jesus, taught and lived a Way of  Nonviolent Love towards all—friends and enemies—the love that saves is as intrinsically and essentially nonviolent, as it is intrinsically and essentially non-adulterous and merciful. Neither violent love nor violent hate, regardless of their consequences in time, is an option if the desired end is the eternal salvation and happiness of one’s wife, children, grandchildren, mother, father, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, et al. Redemptive violent love, regardless how humans justify it, is not an option; it is an illusion—a non-reality.

 

Parenthetically, and for purposes of being as clear as possible, nonviolent external behavior, nonviolent tactics, nonviolent strategies, nonviolent programs without Christlike love are also not redemptive. Nonviolent external behavior is quite compatible with hate, envy, revenge, spite and every one of the capital sins. When external nonviolent behavior does not arise from Christlike love, it is, like violent love, just another “gong booming” (1 Cor 13).

 

Christlike love, which includes Jesus’ Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, is first, foremost and above all else the Way by which each and all can enter into the eternal Kingdom of God. It may or may not serve other purposes in time, e.g., a means for altering evil behavior in others or in institutions. But, regardless of its efficacy in accomplishing some end we desire to achieve on earth, it is always efficacious in moving each person and all people toward an existence in eternal Communion with God. How the small mustard seed of Christlike love, which love intrinsically includes the Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, works to accomplish this end God Incarnate, the Messiah Jesus, does not tell us. Jesus just tells us by His words and deeds this is the Way to the eternal Kingdom of God, to Eternal Life.

 

Within the unfathomable mysteries of existence and within the mystery of salvation is Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, as presented by Jesus in the Gospels, mere good advice to be followed unless we can think of something better, or is it a mandatum for the salvation of all? Is it an option or an obligation? In truth before God and before all humanity, what say you Pope Francis, what say you Cardinals, what say you Bishops—Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant—what say you my fellow Christian?

 

—Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE- OPTION OR OBLIGATION- Keeping before one’s eyes the supreme law of the Church

Mass on the Feast of Saint Stephen

In case you participated in Mass on this Feast of Saint Stephen or read the official Roman Catholic readings for the Mass this day, this is just a heads-up to keep you from being misled by an intentional omission in today’s readings.

 

The first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles and tells the story of the martyrdom of the Nonviolent Saint Stephen, Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59. It concludes at verse 59 with the words, “As they were stoning Saint Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus receive my spirit’ ” (Acts 7:59).

 

No scholarly or popular rendering of the story of Saint Stephen in Acts that I have ever read, until today, ended with verse 59. The story and the entire Chapter in the New Testament on Stephen’s martyrdom always and without exception ends with verse 60, not 59. Verse 60 says, “Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them;’ and when he said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:60).

 

What spirit would ever move the Bishops of the Catholic Church in the U.S.—for they alone control the formal Liturgy of the Catholic Church— to alter this important New Testament passage in a way that truncates its intended meaning, which was established in the text two thousand years ago by Luke, the author of Acts and of the Gospel of Luke? No one, but no one, removes verse 60 from the story of Stephen because in scholarship and in common sense it directly references back to Lk 23:33-46, the crucifixion of Jesus narrative. In fact, in the official Catholic Bible in the U.S, The New American Bible, the footnote for “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34) directs the reader to Acts 7:60. Why, why eliminate this critical sentence, critical for a proper and clear presentation of what Luke is relating about the Spirit and Truth of Saint Stephen’s martyrdom, from the official Mass readings of the Church on the feast of Saint Stephen?

 

Lex orandi, lex credendi, translates, the law of praying is the law of believing. It has been a principle in the Church since the Fifth Century. Of course, and what is seldom discussed, is that its corollary, the law of believing is also the law of praying. So, whoever controls the prayer life of the Church, also controls the belief life of Christians and whoever controls the catechesis—formal religion education of the Church from infant to senior citizen—also controls the prayer life.

 

This rather ingenious circular structure of controlling the beliefs in the institutional Church by controlling the prayer life and controlling the prayer life by controlling the beliefs is of course irrevocably tied to what the controllers (Bishops), of the Liturgical life and of the religious education, present and emphasize as important, and ignore and dismiss as unimportant.

 

Whatever may be said positively about the symbiotic relationships between lex orandi, lex credendi, it all falls to pieces once legem gubernii politic, the law of government politics, enters into the equation. At that point the law of prayer becomes an agent to support parochial national, ethnic, military and financial interests, as well as the means being used to achieve those interests—whether consistent with the explicit teaching of Jesus or not. In the history of the Church, most Bishops have been willing to ignore, cover-up, gloss over and even bracket out authentic Jesus teaching by permitting the legem gubernii politic to infect the lex orandi and lex credendi. The two most disgraceful examples of this in the institutional Church are the Nicene Creed and the remembrance or anamnesis of the Mass, where the entire memory of Jesus’ life, truth, teaching and way are not mentioned except to say He was born, suffered and died. The historical Apostolic memory, remembrance, given definitively to Christians in the Gospels, is intentionally cut out in toto. [See the essay, The Nonviolent Eucharist, on either website below.] The historic memory of the Gospel is permeated with Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies from the Sermon on the Mount to Jesus’ love of lethal enemies unto His agony and betrayal in Gethsemane and His suffering and death on the Cross. This memory is supposed to be the centerpiece of the Eucharist Narrative revealing the true image of God, His Way and His greatest deed of love on behalf of all human beings. But, since Constantine, it has all been morphed into a sound bite as “suffered and died.”

 

The refusal to have the Acts reading for Saint Stephen’s Feast conclude with verse 60 is but another example of the virulent plague of legem gubernii politic infecting what Bishops approve and foster as the lex orandi in the Church, and hence the lex credendi in the Church. In the U.S. the Bishops do not seem to want to miss the smallest opening to push the legem gubernii politic into the praying life and believing life of Christians. But, of course, history reveals this is not just a parochial problem of the U.S. Churches. This is a long metastasizing malady in the prayer life of all Churches, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox. Try praying for the enemies created by your local corporate mass media affiliates, by your political and economic big shots by name at Sunday worship and you will not be tolerated for long. In fact, I know Catholics who have done just that and the priest has called them in after Mass and told them not to so pray again at the public prayers of petition.

 

So to be clear, if the Christian praying life or believing life, regardless of how consistent they are with each other, approves of what Jesus rejects, approves of the opposite of what Jesus teaches, facilitates what is contrary to the teachings of Jesus as God’s will, then that piece of the prayer life and belief system must be discarded, regardless of the legem gubernii politic. Perhaps all you can do is to discard it for yourself and try to convince you fellow local congregants to not so pray, but faith and love and truth require you do at least this.

 

Saint Stephen, the first nonviolent martyr, who died loving his lethal enemies in the imitation of Jesus, pray for us.

 

—Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

 

P.S. The Catholic Bishops of England did not remove from the official text of their Lectionary for the reading on the Feast of St. Stephen the final sentence, “Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them;’ and when he said this, he fell asleep.”

 

 

www.centerforchristiannonviolence.org or www.emmanuelcharlesmccarthy.org

 

Fast Food (2015): Fortieth Helping

Jesus teaches that, No one is good except God alone, (Mk 10:16; Lk 18:19). Knowledge of God for the Christian is therefore intrinsically moral and transformative. A morally good act is achieved only in communion with God, that is, a person is good only in so far as he or she participates in the life of God and chooses to act in thought, word and deed in a manner logically consistent with the knowledge that emanates from that communion.

 

This immediately raises the questions, “What kind of God is God” and “How can a human being know the kind of God God is.” For the Christian both of these questions are definitively and infallibly answered by Jesus, the Son of God, the “Word of God made flesh,” the Messiah of God, who is the visible image of the invisible God. Jesus’ answer proclaimed by His Person, His words and His deeds is God is Abba, God is the Father of all, God is love (agape). Communion with God for the Christian then is communion with a Father who is Love (agape) Itself. The Way to this communion is the Way of God, that is the Way of love (agape), which He Himself communicates through His Incarnate Word, Jesus. Therefore the supreme and ultimate moral good of the Christian life is love, as Jesus loved, rooted in communion with God through communion with Jesus.

 

Now, if the Jesus of the Gospels is nonviolent—as He incontestably is— and lives and teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies—as He incontestably does— then the love that is as God loves, the love that is as Jesus loves, the love that flows from communion with God through the Nonviolent Jesus is a Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies.

 

Gospel Nonviolence is a Christian’s chosen “way of being” flowing directly from Being’s way of Being, IAM’s way of Being, God’s way of Being Jesus’ and way of being—which is the way of perpetual unceasing love (agape) instant after instant during a lifetime and across eternity. This “way of being” chosen by the Christian is ultimately the response of a human to God’s love. God loves first and the believer loves in return. This love of the Christian for God is expressed not by sentiments and emotions, but rather by doing His will as He has communicated it to us through His Word, Jesusby keeping His commandments. The Christian behaves in thought, word and deed as Christ-God wants him or her to behave, not out of fear, but because he or she is convinced that this is the proper expression of being in communion with God through Jesus, and also because he or she has no doubt that these commandments are in his or her best interest because God is good and loves him or her and His commandments are eternal life for each and all (Jn 12:59).

 

If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” says Jesus (Jn 14:15). Christians want to follow the words of Jesus recorded in the Gospels because they believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, who was murdered and lived those words to the very end, and was raised from the dead by the Father to give Divine validation to Jesus’ way, life and truth for the sake of their salvation and the salvation of all.

 

And, what is the commandment of Jesus that “contains and summarizes all the other commandments and the entire moral Law of Gospel” and is  “God’s will to be done on earth as it is done in heaven” and thereby manifests authentic communion with God? It is, “I give you a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1970, #2822). To love (agape) as the incarnate God who is agape loves is in fact not just the Way to authentic communion with God; it is authentic communion with God. To live in and from that communion with Divine agape by continually choosing to love as Jesus loves, by doing continually micro-deeds of Christlike love in the smallest and largest of matters is what Gospel Nonviolence is in action, in praxis.

 

The quotation from Thomas Merton in Fast Food Helping Thirty-Nine makes luminously clear, thatit serves the elites of a society, who control the major consciousness forming and conscience forming institutions of society, to hammer into the minds of Christians by every means available the perception that Gospel Nonviolence is only a political tactic on behalf of this or that cause, and not a very effective one, and that its purpose is to get people to do voluntarily what they do not want to do, and what the nonviolent practitioners would force them to do by violence if they had the power, governmental or otherwise, to do so. That the rulers of a society should drum this understanding of Gospel Nonviolence into the heads of those they rule is logical because it serves their interests. The last thing in the world they want, say in the United States, is 65 million Christians questioning whether they can be in communion with God through Jesus and simultaneously engage in the cacophonous human mutilation and homicidal madness of war. So it is better to have a continuous public relations campaign and other mechanisms up and running to keep people thinking that Gospel Nonviolence is just another adversarial political tactic.

 

But, Gospel Nonviolence is not a cause. Ending the mass murder in Iraq is a cause, getting medical help to the poor is a cause, the restoration of stolen property to those from whom it was taken, e.g. Native Americans, Palestinians, World War II Jews, etc., is a cause, getting someone elected or defeated is a cause, eliminating the monstrous daily starvation on the planet is a cause, reallocating multi-national corporate profits is a cause, getting rid of all nuclear weapons is a cause, gun control is a cause. But, Gospel Nonviolence is not a cause. It can be and must be brought to pursuing to any good cause by the Christian, but it is not a cause nor is it a mere temporary tactic by which to pursue a cause.

 

Gospel Nonviolence is, as said above, a “way of being,” a way of living daily, rooted in a faith in Jesus being a person’s Lord, God and Savior, one’s way, truth and life. It is prior to and subsequent to any and all causes. It does not depend on any cause for its existence nor can any cause’s success or failure validate it or invalidate it. Gospel Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is what the Christian brings to the effort to accomplish all matters he or she desires to undertake. Nonviolent Love towards all in all circumstances, as defined by Jesus’ words and deeds, teachings and commandments, is the means that the Christian must perpetually opt for in trying to realize any and all ends.

 

Ends that cannot be attained by adhering to this means are ends that the Christian is not called to accomplish, regardless of whether he or she is trying to bring them about within the home, the Church, the ethnic group, the business, the state or the grocery store. The end the Christian may be struggling to achieve may be to get incarcerated human beings out of the hellish world of the American prison system or to educate those children that a society’s elites intentionally plan generation after generation to leave uneducated in order to always have a pool of cheap labor available to them to do their dirty work, including killing and being killed in their wars. But the righteousness of the cause never allows the Christian to employ means not in conformity with the Way of the Nonviolent Jesus.

 

In the summer of 1969 at the invitation of Dorothy Day, I gave a talk at the Catholic Worker’s Pax Conference at the Catholic Worker farm in Tivoli, N Y. My talk was loosely along the lines of the above. I said that Christian nonviolent civil disobedience was utterly possible to engaged in within the letter and the spirit of the Gospel. But, a Christian had to be very conscientious in choosing and planning the means and the spirit that had to be maintained during any Christian CD action. I then went onto the present possible distinctions between Christian CD and non-Christian CD. I concluded with some thought on the legal understanding of conscientious objection as not require being like Jesus and rejecting all violence under all situations.

The talk lasted less than an hour. When it concluded in the crowded large living room of the farmhouse, there was polite applause. The first person to ask a question, and I’ll never forget him, was an Italian fellow in his late teens or early twenties in a tank top undershirt that revealed the physique of a guy who pumped iron seriously. He really didn’t have a question to ask, he had a speech to make. He proceeded, with an extremely well honed oral vocabulary of old and new vulgarities, to tell me that what I was saying “was irrelevant and meaningless because what had to be done was to stop this…Nixon and his…cronies and his …military from killing the poor people of Vietnam. All this talk about doing things with the means and with a spirit that Jesus would approve of was just so much GDBS.” This fellow was then, as is still the case now, probably accurately expressing the value system of most peace and justice Christians as well as most Christian.

 

When one of the great nonviolent Christians of the twentieth century, Clarence Jordan, brought a black man to his all white Baptist Church in Georgia, that very afternoon the elders of the Church called him to a meeting that evening in order to excommunicate him. At the evening meting after the elders made their accusations and laid out their case against him and it was now his turn to speak and defend himself, he placed his Bible on the table in front of them—he had a doctorate in Biblical Greek and they knew it— and said, “Show me in that Bible where it says I did anything wrong by bringing a friend, who is a Negro, to Sunday Worship Services.” There was a long silence, finally broken by one of the elders telling Jordan in no uncertain terms, “Clarence, we don’t care what it says in the Bible. We don’t want N…in our Church.”

 

If Jesus is not Lord, God and Savior, the Word of God made flesh, then the Italian young man above is correct—who cares what Jesus would approve of. But if He is God Incarnate then to say, “We don’t care what it says in the Gospels,” is a travesty and a tragedy, which can only bring to humanity further evil, misery and destruction. However expeditious, valuable, rational and/or realistic a choice by a Chrisatian, contrary to the teaching of Jesus, may appear in the moment, it is not and cannot be good.

 

So to my readers of this reflection and to my readers for these past forty days, I bid you, “Adieu,” with a paraphrase of the words of Muriel Lester: “Don’t you, who believe in the Nonviolence of Jesus of the Gospels, see you have a job to do for the world?”

 

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Fast Food (2015): Thirty-Ninth Helping

“Don’t you, who believe in nonviolence, see you have a job to do for the world, not only for a family circle, a college or a denomination? The universe is God’s. We don’t have to “prove” God to anyone, nor to justify the ways of God and his Son, Jesus, to man. Time does that. History does that. Our job is to be loyal. We shall find that, if we are steadfast in our faithfulness to the Lord and his ways, our own seeming ineffectiveness doesn’t matter, that God’s power matures through our weakness, that it will flow through us, if we are but loyal and let it. The effort that is required of us, and it is a real one, is the effort, not to produce, but by prayer and love to keep our connection with the Source of Power in all our tasks and trust him to do the producing.”

 -Muriel Lester

“Gospel nonviolence is based on radically different perceptions and principles which brings it into a head-on collision with the mode of popular self-understanding presented in mass media. Nonviolence is represented in the American media and the American mind as an unhealthy kind of idealism, somewhat sinister. This myth is systematically kept in existence by the media because, as we said, Gospel nonviolence calls into question the popular self-understanding of the society in which we live… 

 

Even though in fact the number of people who dedicate their lives to nonviolence is infinitesimally small it is regarded as a serious potential threat in so far as it bears witness to a radically different way of looking at God, life and oneself. We know that from the first this has been the mode of action of God’s Word and of the Gospel in the world: it calls into question the routine self-understanding of men and women and of society. It fractures idols. It unmasked dead works. It opens the mind and heart to a new self image, a new way of being, becoming and doing.

 

If instead of fabricating for ourselves a mythical and inadequate self-understanding made up of the postures and antics of media, we return to a deeper awareness of our professed faith in Jesus and his Gospel, we may find that nonviolence is not only very relevant but also the only really effective resistance to injustice and evil. This is not a matter of blind arbitrary faith and wishful thinking. The witness of the early Church, the record of the Apostles and martyrs, remains to testify to the inherent and mysterious dynamism of nonviolence in the world of history and time.”

-Thomas Merton

Fast Food (2015): Thirty-Eighth Helping

“Nonviolence does not work unless it is part of your very being, grafted on to your personality by struggle, pain, and self-giving love. It cannot be used as a policy, as a temporary expedient, or merely as one out of several weapons lying ready at hand. They have grossly deceived themselves who think that they are using nonviolence because they have disarmed their bodies without any disarmament of the mind. So long as resentment, malice, scorn, envy or bitterness remain, nonviolence of action will only be apparent nonviolence and cannot triumph.”

Kill or Cure?

-Muriel Lester (1885-1968)

Referencing back to Fast Food Helping 36: As Tattoo Christianity is possible, so also is Tattoo Nonviolence possible..

-ECM

Fast Food (2015): Thirty-Seventh Helping

Fast Food (2015): Thirty-Seventh Helping
 
A Christian doing a Christlike merciful deed in one situation does not morally justify or morally ratify a Christian doing evil in another situation in order to be able to bring about another merciful deed. The Mafia Don distributing some money for food or fuel to some poor people in his jurisdiction does not morally validate his being a participant in an institution of systemic violence, enmity and evil. That the Mafia donates some money to a Church or to a local hospital or to a homeless shelter, does not justify a Christian joining the Mafia and working his way up in the organization from enforcer to godfather in order to get himself into a position to help more people get shelter or medical assistance. Nor does it validate a capo teaching the people of the neighbor a falsehood because it serves his interests.
 
“The works of mercy are not the works of war” as Dorothy Day brilliantly phrased this truth. But, neither do the works of mercy validate doing the works of war. The Emperor Constantine (d. 337) abolished crucifixion as a form of capital punishment in the Roman Empire. Does this mean that Christians should seek to be emperors, queens, politicians, dictators, prime ministers, presidents or  generals in order to get their hands on the levers of the dominative, coercive, violent power of the state so they can do good?  Where in the teaching of the Jesus of the Gospels does it say or even hint that His disciples may do evil now in order to possibly bring about some good later?
 
Any good the Churches do, and there is much good they do, cannot in any way permit them to or exonerate them from teaching the opposite of what Jesus taught on violence and enmity, let alone justifying  doing the opposite of what He taught and falsely proclaiming they are doing it with His support and approval. Any Christian sinner, indeed probably all Christian sinners, do some good sometimes. But, those good acts do not give a Christian moral cover to lie about what Jesus taught, regardless of what good he or she or has done or what supposed good might come from altering the teaching of Jesus and deceiving people about what Jesus’ teachings are and require.
No Church and no Church leader can justify teaching untruth as Gospel truth by saying, “But, look at all the good we do.” Nor can Churches and the Churches’ leaders morally validate their ditching Jesus’ teaching by saying , “Look at all the evil that will befall us if we teach what Jesus teaches”, e.g., about violence and enmity.
Using a past or a future good to legitimate choosing a present evil is clearly not part of the ethical universe known and taught by the Jesus of the Gospels.  But, it is an oft employed rationalization put forth by apologists for  the violent Constantinian Churches’ as a pretext for the  throwing out the teachings of Jesus and replacing them their own. 
 
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Fast Food (2015): Thirty-Sixth Helping

Fast Food (2015): Thirty-Sixth Helping


​Violent Constantinian Christianity from day one, October 28, 312, has been a Tattoo Christianity, skin deep with a pagan heart.**

Today among the bishops, priests, ministers and pastors of most of the Christian Churches in the U.S. and England, Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as the Way to live, to die and to do God’s will is operationally considered only a hypothesis which is no longer needed, relevant realistic or valid. Jesus of Nazareth came up with it and tried it out two thousand years ago but it has proved to be completely untenable and a failure. So the rulers of the Churches replaced Jesus’ teaching with what they considered  was needed, relevant and realistic’ i.e., various Christian just war theories. Not a single one of their intellectual creations owes anything to anything Jesus ever said, taught or did. All morally justify as Christian human acts that are in direct contradiction to Jesus’ teaching. None of the Churches who were dissatisified with Jesus’ teaching adhere to their own substitute teaching. And, in most cases the membership of these Churches has little to no idea of exactly what it is that their Church teaches in this area.

The grotesqueries of war in which the paid, professional prelates of these Churches give spiritual and moral permission to their fellow Christians to engage are diabolical in origin and pagan in practice. “We have produced the Christian ethic of the just war. This is not the New Testament and every theologian knows it.” writes the acclaimed Catholic Biblical scholar, the late Rev. John L. McKenzie. Well, maybe every theologian knows it, but evidently few bishops, priests, ministers or pastors know it—and from all appearances do not have any desire to know it. Erasmus (1466-1536) speaking to the sheer folly of the Christian Just War Theory (CJWT) writes, “Just, indeed! ‘Just’ means any war declared in any way against anybody by any prince.” 

CJWT is a chronic, systemic infidelity in the Churches, systematically sown into the hearts and minds of Christians by these Churches’ leaders generation after generation for a thousand plus years. It is an inbred infidelity where the unfaithful leaders without fail selected as their protégés Christians who can be counted on to be as unfaithful as they are. There is not now and never has been a public non-CJWT Cardinal in the Catholic Chuch, only a few non-CJWT Catholic Bishops and maybe one non-CJWT Pope over the last thousand years. The same historical reality, for shorter time spans and under different nomenclatures, is more or less the situation in all mainline and Evangelical Churches. And of course this inbreeding like all inbreeding has its bitter fruits, which are on readily ondisplay for all to see or learn .about

But gird your loins if you would confront the logical, historical, psychological, moral and spiritual preposterousness of CJWT in your parish or in your diocese, in your charismatic prayer meeting or your centering prayer gathering, in your Knights of Columbus Council or in your Church’s religious education program. Hell has no fury like the Christian response to an attack on CJWT. However, the nonviolent Paul, who was the violent Saul, tells us exactly how to gird our loins to meet such an attack (Eph 6:13-15) andbe victorious.

In tomorrows beyond our reckoning Christians will look back on this long night of Church leaders propagating CJWT, the evil it has done and the good that was left undone, and wonder what in hell got into them that they would teach and support this relapse into paganism for so long in direct defiance of the explicit teaching in the Gospels of the Word of God Incarnate, Jesus. But today, and for 1700 years of yesterdays, Christian Churches, their leaders no less than their members—whom by God’s choice were to be the vanguard for renewing the face of the earth by loving as the Nonviolent Jesus loved and thereby being agents for releasing the Nonviolent Holy Spirit of the Nonviolent Jesus into the human heart and the human enviorment—have hermetically sealed themselves off from this Mercy Full Project of the Father which was initiated through His Son, and choose instead to be the spiritual and moral support system for “any war declared in any way against anybody by any prince.”

Whether a person is a bishop, priest, minister, pastor or a just an ordinary Church member, having Jesus tattooed on his or her arm is infinitely removed from having the risen and living Jesus in one’s heart and soul, mind and spirit empowering him or her to “Love others as He loves us”—which is with a Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstance, without exception.

Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

**On the night of October 28, 312, Constantine was about to go into battle against Maxentius at Melvian Bridge in order to gain total control of the Western half of the Roman Empire. As the story goes, that night he had a vision of a cross in the sky with the words underneath, “In this sign you shall conquer.” His interpretation of this was that it was a totem given to him for victory in the upcoming battle. So, he had the cross painted on the shields, horse, etc.that were to go into battle that day. This was the first time in history that a Christian ensign was used to lead people into a homicidal battle against an enemy.

Fast Food (2015): Thirty-Fifth Helping

 

In the translation of St. Mark’s Gospel, which Canon Pym made for the unlearned modern, one finds a new phrase on the lips of Jesus. The disciples have lamentably failed, in public too, to effect a cure on the boy who was brought to them in the grip of some evil force, madness, despair, epilepsy, we do not know what. Naturally they take the first opportunity to enquire privately why their efforts have been fruitless. Jesus says, “You can’t expect to drive out evil like that unless you equip yourselves with prayer.”He seems to be pointing out to them their naïveté in underestimating the power of evil, in thinking it would vanish at their wish or word or work, in imagining they could overcome such a powerful thing without prayer. They probably knew this but it’s much pleasanter to forget it, much easier to blame the sick boy or the devil, the weakness or our common human nature. Dare we remain so causal about praying? Devils will go on torturing humanity as they tortured the boy in St. Mark’s story until we learn to drive them out by equipping ourselves with prayer that will empower us to love even our enemies.

-Muriel Lester

 Cure or Kill? 

Fast Food (2015): Thirty-Fourth Helping

The Christian conscientious objector would rather give up his faith than make a convenience of it, putting it on and taking it off like a cloak, according to the direction the winds of worldly expedience are blowing at the moment. He foresees that although it is so easy to put Jesus Christ in Khaki, it might be very difficult to take Him out of it, because the willingly misled grow impervious to unpalatable facts.
-Muriel Lester (1885-1968)

Fast Food (2015): Thirty Third Helping

Because you are going to be bombarded with it and with its consequences, it is probably somewhat important to know that there has been in Western Christianity a movement, beginning around the beginning of the twentieth century, to translate the Sixth Commandment (Fifth Commandment in the Catholic and Anglican Churches), “Thou shall not kill,” as, “Thou shall not murder.” This movement picked up steam after World War II. More than likely this occurred because of the enormity of killing English, Russian, German, American, French, Canadian, Australian, Croat, Serbian, Greek and Italian Christians of all Churches did and did with the approval of their Churches in Word War II—and for decades thereafter right to this day. The spiritual and moral ache to in find a way to believe that the monstrous amount of killing that they, their governments, their Church leaders and their Churches participated in and supported was of God drove post WW II Christians to alter the translation of the Sixth Commandment. Between 1959 and 2004 practically every Protestant edition of the Bible changed the wording of the Sixth Commandment from what it always had been, “Thou shall not kill,” to “Thou shall not murder.” The Catholic Church, who is known to have a scholar or two on its payroll, has refused to go along with the new translation of the Fifth (Sixth) Commandment and retains the word “kill” in the Commandment.

This new manner of stating the Sixth Commandment amounts to a clear change in content from the original and traditional translation of Commandment. Killing a human being, homicide, is the genus, murder is a species of homicide or killing. What differentiates murder from kill is that “murder” means the killing of a human being that is not authorized or approved or justified by some institution, e.g. a state, a religion, a tribe, etc. Whereas, “kill” means any killing.

This change of translation and subsequent alteration of the meaning of the Commandment was accomplished by interpreting the Hebrew verb, rtsh, in the Sixth Commandment as murder rather then kill. There was no new scholarship concerning rtsh to support this change in translation. All the reasons given for the alteration in translation came for outside of the word itself.

The Hebrew Scripture’s verb rtsh means kill, that is for certain. The rationalization for the justification of the change in translation is that God could not possibly have meant all killing of human being since He Himself orders many types of homicide, from killing a disobedient adolescent boy, to capital punishment, to war, to genocide in the same Hebrew Scriptures that contain the Sixth Commandment. The process, however, of translating the Sixth Commandment by taking a word that is a genus or general term, “kill,” and translating its by a word meaning one of the species or subdivisions of “kill,” that is, by “murder,”—a word meaning only unlawful (secular or moral) killing—is of dubious spiritual and intellectual integrity and soundness. It is tantamount to changing the Seventh (Sixth) Commandment, “Thou shall not commit adultery,” to “Thou shall not commit some species of adultery,” e.g., “Thou shall not commit inter-racial adultery” or inter-tribal adultery or inter-religion adultery or inter-caste adultery. To force a generalizing word into meaning only one of its subdivisions is not kosher.  When that word is consider to be a word that God Himself wrote in stone to aid human beings then an innovative translation becomes a clever gimmick to say, “Non serviam”

There are many technical reasons in scholarship and many common sense reasons why altering the translation of kill to murder is inaccurate and unacceptable. If you wish to read the scholarly reasons in detail they are well presented in You shall not kill or you shall not murder: The Assault on a Biblical Text by Wilma Ann Bailey, whose PhD is in Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures.

On the common sense level reducing rtsh from kill to murder makes its meaning dependent on the self-interests, or even whims, of any secular or religious politicos who comes along and who has the power to dictate and enforce, by some form of violence, the rules or laws, secular or religious, by which a group of people must live. One person’s or society’s or religion’s hero can be, and often is, another person’s or society’s or religion’s murderer. So the same act at the same time by the same person may be murder or not murder, breaking the Sixth Commandment or not breaking the Sixth Commandment depending on the geography of the act and the political and religious honchos who control that geography. If such is the case, there is not reason for God to have given the Sixth Commandment. Its content is then just what the elites of state or religion decide it to be in their time and place.

Killing is as a word is universally clear. It means, according to the Oxford-English Dictionary, “to deprive of life.” Murder is depriving of life only those that some post-original sin, concupiscence saturated, sin drenches, perishing lump of clay with institutional secular or religious power forbids to be killed. Other than that, the human killing fields are wide open, e.g., Fallujah, Nagasaki, Saint Edith Stein, Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, Auschwitz, Dresden. No murder where those killings are concerned. No breaking of the Sixth Commandment here. All these killings were legal and permitted by state and Church at the time, as well as, being executed by Christians.

A more spiritually profound and mystical reason for not changing kill to murder in translating the Sixth Commandment can be seen and known through the life of Desmond Doss which can be view on this History Channel documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvf6oxK9LHw

All the above information is somewhat important to know since rtsh is going to be pushed upon Christians as murder rather than kill for evidently a long period of time to come. The Christian therefore should be generally familiar with some of the pertinent issues surrounding the translating of rtsh as murder rather than kill. But, nothing said above should make the slightest difference in determining how a Christian views and lives the Sixth (Fifth) Commandment. As noted in Fast Food Helpings Thirty-One and Thirty-Two, the Christian’s interpretation of the Ten Commandments must be governed by the Eleventh Commandment, the “new commandment” of Jesus, “Love one anotheras I have loved you.” For the Christian then, the Sixth (Fifth) Commandment must be read as “Thou shall not kill,” not as, “Thou shall not murder,” because the love that is “as I have loved” is a Nonviolent and therefore a non-killing Love of friends and enemies in every situation in life.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Fast Food (2015): Thirty Second Helping

As noted in Fast Food Helping Thirty-One, the Christian’s interpretation of the Ten Commandments must be governed by the Eleventh Commandment, the “new commandment” of  Jesus, the Messiah and the Word of God Incarnate. He is the final and infallible authority on the meaning of each and all of the Ten Commandments. Hence, for the Christian the Fifth Commandment, “Thou shall not kill” (Ex 20:13) means no homicide, no killing of human beings, whether the killing be considered by some persons to be legal or illegal, just or unjust, legitimate or illegitimate, noble or sordid. In other words, for the Christian the Fifth Commandment must be read as “Thou shall not kill,” not as, “Thou shall not murder.” 
 
This must be the Christian’s interpretation of the Fifth Commandment because in word and deed Jesus, the Commandment’s definitive interpreter, taught and lived unto His murder on the cross a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies. His Eleventh Commandment then is a Commandment of Nonviolent self-sacrificial Love for all under all circumstances: “I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.” Therefore the interpretation and the application of the Fifth Commandment for the Christian must conform to the Way of love as Jesus loved, which in every and all instances in the Gospels was a Way of Nonviolent Love (agape) of all—no exceptions. This leaves no possibility for the Fifth Commandment to be interpreted or to be lived in any way other than the total rejection of all homicidal violence, all killing—interpretations of anyone else to the contrary notwithstanding.
 
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Fast Food (2015): Thirty-First Helping

For the Christian there are eleven Commandments, not ten. A word must be added to the Decalogue (Greek: deka ten + logos word, δέκα λόγοι), the Ten Commandments, and that word is the new Commandment of the Word God “made flesh:” “I give you a new commandment, as I have loved you so you should love one another” (Jn 13:34, 15:12). This new word, this new commandment “contains the entire moral Law of the Gospel,” and “summarizes the entire will of the Father that is to be done on earth as it is in heaven.” [See The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1970 and # 2822] For the person who believes in Jesus as his or her Lord, God and Savior, as the Word of God Incarnate, the Eleventh Word, the Eleventh Commandment, is indeed a new commandment, a new word, and is the crux interpretum for the prior Ten Words, Ten Commandments. The Messiah, the Christ, for Jews and Christians is the God’s designate final authority on and interpreter of those Ten Words. For the Christian the Messiah, the Christ,  is also the very Word of God “made flesh” who brought those first Ten Words into existence. If He, as the Messiah, the Christ, the Word of God Himself, does not infallibly know the full and total meaning of those Ten Words and the correct interpretation of them, who does? 

Do not be deceived, it makes all the difference in this world and the world to come whether Jesus is the Messiah of Israel or not. Whether He is, as Peter confesses, “You are the Messiah, the Christ,” or not. No one in Western Civilization today or in Israel can avoid an encounter with Jesus as presented in the Gospels (not as Churches and Christians have used and abused Him), and not come face to face with the same question Peter was asked  by Jesus: “Who do you say I am?” The Biblical scholar, the late Rev. John L. McKenzie writes, “Jesus is the Messiah of Judaism and can be only understood as the Messiah of Judaism.”  The grace of the knowledge of the Jesus of the Gospels organically calls forth acceptance or rejection of Him and His Way of Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances. An acceptance by a person of Him as the Messiah of Israel means that the Sermon on the Mount and not the Ten Commandments is the ultimate norm of that person’s life. It means that the Eleventh Commandment is the only correct lens through which to see and interpret the prior ten Commandments. Whereas a rejection of Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, the Christ of Israel, means that the The Commandment per se, or any other understanding of God’s will and of how to execute it, is on the table to choose as one’s way of life.  The answer to “Who do you say I am?” is a crossroads’ moment that necessitates a decision for everyone who comes face to face with Jesus of the Gospels.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Fast Food (2015): Thirtieth Helping

“If we wish to create a lasting peace, we must begin with the children.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone* hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Mt 18: 6; Mk 9:42)

-Jesus

* [A large millstone in Jesus’ time was so heavy it had to be pulled by one or two asses.]

“Kids are not naturally violent; they are not born that way, despite what we may think. There are many factors in what makes anyone violent, but the overwhelming proof says that the entertainment industry, through violent programming and video games, is complicit in conditioning our youth to mirror the violence they see on-screen. We have become very good at avoiding the fact that this type of simulated violence has everything to do with the increasing level of violence. Much like our soldiers, children can and do become learned in this behavior, not by drill sergeants and trained military professionals, but by what they see around them. It seems logical to most of us but is artificially hotly contested by special interest groups, and especially by the entertainment industry. How can there even be any more argument when everyone in the television industry agrees that a thirty-second television commercial can change adult behavior? We feed our children and grandchildren this on-going, ever escalating, venomous diet of hundreds of horrifically violent, slash and kill videos and films 24/7/365. If rapidly moving images and inane jingles flashed on a small two-dimensional screen can get adults to do things, why would violent images watched for hours on screens large and small have no impact on the behaviors of children and teens?”

-Lt. Col. Dave Grossmann  & Gloria DeGaetano

Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie & Video Game Violence (2014)

How can a young Christian man or woman after eighteen or twenty years of pleasurable and intense daily exposure to this brain altering venomous diet of vicarious violence and enmity—exposure during which a youngster’s brain is underdeveloped but still developing—rationally be expected to properly apply the standards of Christian Just War Theory? Is this not just one more example that Christian Just War Theory is, as it always has been, a moral fantasy, not a moral theory, let alone a moral dogma?

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

 Fast Food(2015): Twenty-Ninth Helping

“If we wish to create a lasting peace, we must begin with the children.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

“Young men are not natural soldiers any more than they’re natural carpenters or accountants. It’s a trade that almost anybody can learn. Soldiering takes up a much bigger part of your life than most jobs, but it doesn’t take a special kind of person. Anybody’s son will do.”

-Gwynne Dyer

Excepted for WAR: A Commentary by Gwynne Dyer (1983)

An eight part globally acclaimed, Academy Award nominated, documentary series on the history and realities of war, now available on the Internet and in book format.

The question we should be asking is why kids want to pick up weapons and engage in violence in the first place. If you run down all the possible risk factors, the myriad explanations, you will come to rest at one thing: the TV, movies, media, and video games that our kids are spending inordinate amounts of their time with and their minds on

-Lt. Col. Dave Grossmann  & Gloria DeGaetano

Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie & Video Game Violence

 

Fast Food (2015): Twenty-Eight Helping

A Christian friend of the writer relates how he went to military training camp after being drafted in 1917 or 1918 with the intention of accepting some form of noncombatant service. As a Christian he had always been taught, however, that warfare and killing were wrong. During the first week of his camp life and before he came to the point of putting on a uniform and engaging in drill, he had the opportunity to make some observations and to compare the teaching of his Christian parents, and his own innermost convictions, with what he was seeing. One day while sauntering about the camp grounds he happened upon a group of soldiers in the midst of a spirited bayonet drill. It so happened that one man in the group wielded his bayonet rather timidly as he brought it in line for a thrust into the abdomen of his dummy victim. Upon seeing this manifestation of soft-heartedness the military officer in charge swore at the timid private and commanded him to step to the front and “ cut out his guts,” reminding him that it was a war, and not a Sunday-school picnic, that he was engaged in. My friend made up his mind, that if that is what the army means, he can have nothing to do with an organization which specializes in disemboweling his fellow men, because it was impossible to conceive that Jesus would have anything to do with such an organization.

War, Peace, and Nonresistance

Guy Franklin Hershberger

Fast Food (2015): Twenty-Seventh Helping

It was inevitable that a people [Anabaptists/Mennonite], who took the Scriptures as seriously as these people did, would come to believe in the doctrine of nonresistance. They made no attempt to rationalize the teachings of Christ; they engaged in no philosophical discussions about their meaning.They asked no questions as to their practicability. They simply took the words of Jesus as they found them in the Gospels and proceeded to live by them. They took for granted that Christ meant what He said, and they saw no reason why they should not obey without question. To these Christians it was perfectly reasonable to ask: How can a Christian, living according to the way of Jesus, consistently retaliate, rebel, war, murder, slay, torture, steal, rob, burn cities and conquer countries? Since Jesus Christ had forbidden such conduct, the Christian could not engage in it. It was just as simple as that.

War, Peace, and Nonresistance (1969)    

-Guy Franklin Hershberger, PhD (1896-1989)

The preeminent Mennonite theologian of his generation

Fast Food (2015): Twenty-Sixth Helping

​Both are made of the same stuff, right?
The wealth of one is justified by the wealth of the other, right?
The violence of one is validated by the violence of the other, right?
The wealth of one is protected by the violence of the other, right?
The Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is as repugnant to one as to the other, right?
Both try to keep Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love toward all under all circumstances 
as far away as possible from the Christian’s 
consciousness and conscience, right?
 
When one has more than he or she needs to live while others do not have enough to live, the only way this luxury wealth can be kept from those in desparate need is with the threat and use of violence. Great wealth requires great violence to protect it. The mainline institutional Churches have great wealth, which is why—even though the One they all call their Lord, God and Savior is unequivocal that His Way and the Way for His disciple is the Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies—their bishops will never teach what Jesus taught regarding violence and enmity. It is Mammon and Mammon alone that keeps bishops and their Churches from teaching what Jesus explicitly taught and substituting in its place, and as consistent with the Will and Way of God as He revealed it, a cacophonous, on-going, but very profitable show from the theatre of the absurd, titled Christian Just War Theory.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

FAST FOOD (2015): Twenty-Fifth Helping


“War is the creation of individuals, not of nations.”

-Sir Patrick Hasting,1948

Wars: Rich people decide to initiate them and profit from them. Poor and middle class people kill and die in them. That’s fact, not opinion! “Rich men’s wars, poor men’s blood,” is a cliche as old as war itself.
 
Why is this truth never presented as even a partial description and explantion of war by Christian leaders to those in their spiritual care in order to afforded the Christian community, especially its Christian young people, a more informed consciousness with which to make the best Christian moral decision before God they possibly can, on whether to participate in the eternally hellish world of war? Is it because that what is said above is not true? Or, too true to risk mentioning?
 
Why is it that bishops, priests, ministers and pastors continue to propogate among ordinary Christians in their spiritual carethat attractive rainbow, which rises in showers of blood–that serpent’s eye, which charms to destroy,” namely, the myth of military glory? Is it because the myth is true and Jesus’ teachings on violence and enmity are false? Or is it that the myth is compatible with the teachings of Jesus? Or is the myth the antithesis of Jesus’ teachings but necessary in order to have the poor and middle class primed to fight the wars of the rich and to have the rich generously approve of the Church’s work in support of their interests?
 
 
“I am reminded of something I read years ago in the depths of the Second World War. A reporter interviewed a hotel manager on the French Riviera.The manager observed that the rich as a class are indestructible. In spite of what had happened since 1939, he said, business at his Riviera hotel was about as good as it had ever been.”
-Rev. John L. McKenzie
 

​True or False?
The history of war is the history of wealthy individuals willing to sacrifice thousands upon thousands of other people’s lives for personal gains.
 
“All this madness, all this rage, all this flaming death of lives and hopes, has been brought about because a set of mostly stupid gentlemen, living luxurious lives, have chosen that it should occur.” 
-Betrand Russell, 20th century English philosopher

​Merchants of Death or Disciples of Christ?
Suppose they and their corporations gave great sums of money to the institutional Church,
would that change your answer?

Again and again, where war is concern we witness a deriliction of spiritual duty, a prostitution of ministry and ecclesiastical office, along with a squashing of known and verified historical truth and Gospel truth by bishops, priests, ministers, and pastors, in order to curry favor and not offend the operatives of those satanic blood brother idols, Mars and Mammon.

Fast Food (2015): Twenty -Fourth Helping

Military service consists in killing our neighbor, and preparing for that. God has forbidden us to kill, in His Law as in the Gospel. And His commandment, illuminated and confirmed by the Gospel, has infinitely more weight and authority than all the  arguments generally used in favour of killing a neighbor. The Christian must cease to be an accomplice in the State’s murders.

Whether we like it or not, to accept being integrated into the armed forces is to adhere to the paganism of Mars, and therefore to deny Jesus Christ. It is indeed accepting and serving the pagan god Mars, because the army demands a total and thoroughgoing surrender of my will and my judgment to the ways and means of Mars which are essentially different from a total and thoroughgoing surrender to the ways and means of Jesus Christ. This total surrender to a false God is riveted to the ‘falsificifications of all moral standards found in the Gospel.’ It is founded on the anti-Christian principle that the end justifies the means. It demands a fidelity to a false faith, and a juvenile and gullible confidence in the justice of men, as if good could come out of the evil they accomplish. If totalitarian paganism is incompatible with Christian fidelity, so is military paganism: the two are almost identical.

-Jean Lassarre

“John said that the Christian cannot prove his love of God except by his love of neighbor. Matthew makes it very clear that it is not really proved unless the neighbor we love is an enemy. Love of neighbor is extended by Jesus to include the enemy.”

-Rev. John L. McKenzie,

Fast Food (2015): Twenty-Third Helping


This is the original front cover of Mark Twain’s book, King Leopold’s Soliloquy.  The cover is a caricature of the supposed vision Constantine had of a cross with the words, By this sign you shall conquer, beneath it. First published in 1906, it became an instant best seller, inspiring marches and petitions all across the U.S. to end Belgium’s King Leopold’s slaughter-for-wealth of the people of the Congo. Then the book disappeared. It was buried in silence for a half  century because of the universal refusal of publishing houses to put it back into print. As of 2014 no Twain anthology contains King Leopold’s Soliloquy. 

It is a two-edged sword satire—factually accurate to the nth degree—of what Twain calls the “colonial trinity” of King, Church and Capital and its for profit brutalizing, terrorizing and murdering en masse of the people of the Congo for decades under the catch phrase, so often heard in the Christian Churches, as well as in conservative and neo-liberal governments, “Dominer pour servir” (“Dominate to serve”). The book’s format is King Leopold talking to himself about what a great civilizing agent he has been to the savages of the Congo and how many of them he has brought to the Christian faith, despite being constantly harassed by ungrateful critics who nit pick over the occasionally needed massacre of several thousand Congolese.

The “Vampire State,” as Belgium is referred to in the book, was engaged in the economic exploitation of the Congo and its people carried on by the use of Christian armed forces, the aim-all and be-all of whose presence in the Congo was to extort the maximum amount of profit in the shortest time in order to pay the largest possible dividends to the holders of shares in Leopold’s slave labor enterprises there. The few Americans whom Leopold permitted to buy into his vampirization of the people of the Congo along with its enormous and varied mineral deposits and rubber wealth were J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Thomas Fortune Ryan and Daniel Guggenheim.

All echoes of Twain’s book were choked off in the press after 1906. Paid academics and clergymen, and including Cardinal Gibbons, rushed forth to defend the murderous, terrorist system by which the people of the Congo were being exploited, kept in dark illiteracy, institutionally destabilized and spurred-on to internecine hate and violence among the various tribes. The total number of Congolese murdered by the Christian King Leopold and his mostly Christians minions? Ten million! This may be the greatest act of genocide by Christians in history. But greatest or not, this has been the history of the institutional Churches since Constantine interpreted his vision of the cross with the words, By this sign you shall conquer, beneath, as a talisman that would assure divine support, protection and victory to him in his homicidal battles with his enemies to gain, retain and expand his political power. 

Christian Bishops, seeing the success of Constantine and being given access to some of the fruits of this success, began to think they knew a better way, or at least an equally valid way, to respond to violence and enmity and/or to expand empire, than the Way taught by the words and deeds of the Nonviolent Word of God incarnate, Jesus. The Christian King Leopold of Belgium was just an extension of the Emperor Constantine of Rome, his ways and his means. Hence, the cover that Mark Twain chooses for his book.

The chronic infidelity of Christian Bishops and Churches toward the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies (the only Jesus there was, is or ever will be) is neither new to Christianity nor unknown to the 82% of the world population that is not Christian. But how does one effectively plead on behalf of the truth of the Nonviolent Jesus against successful and profitable infidelity, e.g. the wealth of the Christian Monarchy of Belgium and of the Christian Church in Belgium/

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Postscript: King Leopold’s Soliloquy is now available for free downloading from the Internet or from Amazon, etc. for $5 or less. It has been translated into French, German, and Italian. As a description of the political reality in the U.S. today and the anti-Gospel Christian mind style and value system that participates in it and condones it, the book could have been written this morning. Genocidal, terrorist, Vampire Christianity is flourishing, serving the master it has always served—and that master is not the Nonviolent Christ, the Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Fast Food (2015): Twenty-Second Helping

Military involvement can find no place in the teaching of Jesus. War is a complete and pitiless break with Jesus’ teaching. The time-honored acceptance by Christians of military cruelty is one of the decisive causes of today’s barbarism. Must the Churches continue to encourage and nurture that barbarism, as they most assuredly have done and do to this day?”

-Jean Lasserre , War and the Gospel

When David Becker resigned as Catholic military chaplain at the Trident submarine base in 1982, he said, “Every time I celebrated Mass in my uniform and put the vestments on over my uniform, I couldn’t help but think of the words of Christ applying to me: Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

-ECM

Fast Food (2015): Twenty-First Helping

Fast Food (2015): Twenty-First Helping

SHEEP WITHOUT A SHEPHERD
(Mt 9:36; Mk 6:34)
“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD
(Jer 23:1)

Fast Food (2015): Twentieth Helping

Since war itself is the most extreme form of terrorism, 
a war on terrorism is profoundly self-contradictory.
                                                                                                                                                                        -Howard Zinn

Fast Food (2015) : Nineteenth Helping

The Kingdom of God in Matthew offers a vision of a community of discipleship characterized by a “higher righteousness”—a community free of anger, lust, falsehood, and violence. The transcendence of violence through loving the enemy is the most salient feature of this new modelpolis.

 

When we read Matthew as a whole, we see that what Jesus has commanded includes preeminently the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount. This conclusion to the Matthew’s Gospel makes it abundantly clear that Matthew does not regard the discipleship of the Sermon on the Mount as an impossible ideal or merely an eschatological vision. It is, rather, the way of life directly commanded by Jesus, who possesses “all authority in the heaven and on the earth.” The only question is whether the disciples will heed what they have been taught. Jesus practiced it to his own death, and the Gospel of Matthew presents this teaching as a commandment that is to be obeyed by Jesus’ disciples. Matthew envisions the Church’s mission as one of discipling all people to obey Jesus’ commandment of nonviolent enemy-love.

 

There is no basis in Matthew’s Gospel for restricting the prohibition of violence merely to a prohibition of self-defense. Jesus’ own conduct in Matthew’s Gospel indicates a deliberate renunciation of violence as an instrument of God’s will. Armed defense is not the way of Jesus. There is no foundation whatever in the Gospel of Matthew for the notion that violence in defense of a third party is justifiable.

 

The suggestion that the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount with its nonviolent enemy-love is merely an evangelical counsel intended only for a special class of supersanctified Christians is discredited by the Great Commission (Mt 28:16-20) at the conclusion of the Gospel. All baptized believers are to be taught to observe all that Jesus commanded.

 

-Richard B. Hays

Professor of New Testament at Duke University Divinity School

The Moral Vision of the New Testament

Footnote for Mt 28: 20. (T)eaching them to obey all that I have commanded you:  “The moral teaching found in this Gospel is preeminently that of the Sermon on the Mount (chs 5-7). The commandments of Jesus are the standards of Christian conduct, not the Mosaic law as such.”

This is the final explanatory note to the Gospel of Matthew in the official Catholic Bible, The New American Bible, authorized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with a formal Imprimatur dated 1991.

 

-ECM

Fast Food (2015): Eighteenth Helping

“Do not think yourself better because you burn up friends and enemies with long-range missiles without ever seeing what you have done.”

 -The Commandant of Auschwitz speaking in Thomas Merton’s poem, Chant to be Used in Processions Around a Site with Furnaces.

Fast Food (2015): Seventeenth Helping

Mercy requires non-cooperation with the merciless.

Holiness requires non-cooperation with the anti-holy.                                                                                                                   -ECM

        THERE IS ONLY ONE CHOICE

You, machine worker, and man in the workshop: Tomorrow, when they order you no longer to make water pipes and cooking ware but steel helmets and machine artillery; then there is only one choice: say no!

You, young lady behind the sales counter, and the girl in the office: Tomorrow, when they order you to fill grenades and mount telescope sights for machine guns; then there is only one choice: say no!

You, researcher in the laboratory: Tomorrow, when they order you to discover a new death for this old life; then there is only one choice: say no!

You, poet in your study: Tomorrow, when they order you to sing songs of hate instead of songs of love; then there is only one choice: say no!

You, minister in our pulpit: Tomorrow, when they order you to bless and to sanctify war; then there is only one choice: say no!

You captain of a steamer: Tomorrow, when they order you no longer to haul wheat, but rather, cannon and bombs; then there is only one choice: say no!

You, man in the village and man in the city: Tomorrow, when they come to bring you an enlistment order; then there is only one choice: say no!

You, mother in Normandy, mother in the Ukraine. You, mother in Frisco and London, mothers from all parts of the world: Tomorrow, when they order you to bear children, soldiers for new slaughters; mothers of the world, then there is only one choice: say no!

Wolfgang Borchart, 1967

Fast Food (2015): Sixteenth Helping

Whatever you do unto the least of one of these brothers and sisters of mine,

you do unto me.”

(Mt 25:31-46)

For the Christian, the atomic bomb was a Christ-killer. Indeed all weapons are either Christ-killers or intended Christ-killers.

A gun of itself is an inert physical object that can be used for many purposes, as a knife is of itself an inert physical object that can be used for a variety of purposes. A gun or a knife becomes a weapon when it is manufactured for, procured for or used for harming or killing another human being. The Christian who believes Jesus—and if the Christian does not believe Jesus who else will or can be expected to—knows that when he or she by an act of the will turns an inert physical object into a weapon, its purpose is to harm or kill Jesus, who is so united with the intended victim that He says that the merciless act of violence to be done is going to be done to Him (Mt 25:31-46/; Ac 9:4, 22:7, 26:14).

The explosion of the first atomic bomb at Trinity Site in the New Mexico desert, or the second in Hiroshima, or the third in Nagasaki did not happen ex nihilo. Matter—in this case an atom matter—by an act of the human will was turned into a weapon to harm and kill other human beings. Atomic matter, no more than the gun or the knife turned itself into a weapon. Human choice did that. The name under which this choice was executed was The Manhattan Project. In it, human beings, who were welders and carpenter, engineers and electricians, soldiers and scientists, politicians and plumber, all chose to employ their skill-sets to create, to manufacture and to use matter to harm and kill other human beings.

A gun used for skeet shooting, a knife used to peel an apple and atomic explosion used in an experiment to understand how a relatively newly known aspect of material reality operates are in themselves physically and morally innocuous. But all technology and it uses are ultimately an extension of the human being. A telescope or microscope is and extension of the eye. The microphone is an extension of the voice. A bulldozer is the extension of the hand and arm digging and lifting. Every piece of technology can be weaponized, that is it can, by human choice, be turned into an extension of the fists and arms of Cain. 70 years ago today, on July 16, 1945, atomic matter became an extension of the firsts and arms of Cain. The atomic bomb became a Christ-killer.

Atomic matter did not choose that course, that direction for its use, no more than Cain’s hands or arms choose to kill Abel. That came from some compassionless, invisible, charnel chamber within the human being that with the cooperation of the human being can release tsunamis of its rot into the human mind and heart, turning the human being into its human agent for flooding humanity with more brands of death, evil and suffering than human beings could ever anticipate or even imagine.

The July 16, 1945 atomic bomb explosion was unique because it was the first weapon of its kind. It was not unique because when employed it was the first time human beings had killed so many other human beings in one day. The fire bombings of March 9,1945 of Tokyo and February 13, 1945 of Dresden both killed more human beings than did the atomic bomb in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It was unique because it possessed the potential to destroy all human life on the planet by direct detonation coupled with subsequent radiation poisoning.

But whether it is the fist that killed Abel, the stone that killed Goliath, the crucifixion that killed Christ or the atomic bomb that killed 60,000 Japanese in Nagasaki, the seemingly intractable rotted and rancid spirit motivating each act of homicidal violence is not of God and can never be of God. It is the always destructive, never Holy Spirit of the Evil One. How do I know? The Jesus of the Gospels told me so!

“Why do you not understand what I say? Satan was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.”

(Jn 8: 43-45)

A spirit and a truth, control the decisions on how matter will be utilized by a human being(s). However, a spirit and a truth that a person or people do not know are a spirit and a truth they cannot employ. The spirit and truth they do know are the spirit and truth for which they will become an agent and apply in the human situation.

Do not hand a gun, or a knife or any other matter to a human agent of the one(s) who was “a murderer and liar from the beginning,” because, for as sure as the Gospel, he or she or they will turn it into a Christ-killing weapon, even if it as small as an atom.

How to rid the human heart and mind and condition of this rotten and rancid spirit is beyond me personally. Jesus in the Gospels says He knows the Way and has the power and wisdom to do it. But why believe Him, especially if He is directly contradicting the politicians, philosophers, media pundits and prelates regarding the Way to do it?

Fast Food(2015): Fifteenth Helping 

Divine Image
To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.
For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.
For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.
Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.
And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, Peace and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.
  -William Blake

Fast Food (2015): Fourteenth Helping

“If I had asked people what they wanted they would have said a faster horse.” -Henry Ford

If God asked most Israelites of old, or most Jews, Christians or Muslims today what they wanted, their answer would be more secular, political, coercive power, i.e. violence, to dominate others and make them obey them and become good, or else “to see to it” if others will not do things their way they will pay dearly for it in the currency of pain or death. In essence, if people were asked by God what want today, they would still want what they wanted at the time of Jesus and before,  namely, a faster war-horse or some development there of in order to sustain or increase the power of violence under their control.

But, what did God give the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims and all humanity to free them forever from all that ails and afflicts them? He gave them knowledge of Himself and access to Himself and to His own Power, i.e., unconditional and everlasting love (agape) of all under all circumstances. How did the Holy One do this? He did it by enfleshing His own Word (logos), by sending His own Son, to live among Jews and goyim and thereby make visible the invisible love that is God for all to securely live in and for all to securely live by in time and in eternity. Yet, as baffling as it is, Jews, Christians, Muslims and most human beings keep wanting a faster war-horse.

“The horse is a vain hope for deliverance, despite its great power it cannot save” (Ps 33:17).

Words that Jesus the Jew knew well and knew to be the truth. A truth that He lived by unto death—and Resurrection.

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Fast Food (2015):Thirteenth Helping

 He who has conquered 10,000 others has only created 10,000 enemies.

-Buddha

If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. 

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love is the only power capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. 

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fast Food (2015): Twelfth Helping

The Church is commissioned to teach the morality of the Gospel, which is the moral revolution of Christian love. The New Testament reduces all morality to the commandment of love. This implies no commission to teach philosophical morality, although moral doctrine must be formed by the use  of reason. Reason, however, must operate within the morality of Gospel love, not outside it. The place of reason in the Christian life is to ascertain how to implement the love that Jesus reveals, not how to render it nugatory. If authority solves a moral problem by philosophical reasoning rather than by the application of Gospel love, its position has no more strength than its philosophical reasoning. It will be as strong or as weak as that of the ecclesiastical commission that met to settle the question of whether the sun moves around the earth.

-Rev. John L. McKenzie, Catholic Theologian, Biblical Scholar

Authority in the Church

Fast Food (2015): Eleventh Helping

 

It cannot be stressed too much: love of enemies has, for our time, become the litmus test of authentic Christian faith. Commitment to justice, liberation, or the overthrow of oppression is not enough, for all too often the means used have brought in their wake new injustices and oppressions. Love of enemies is the recognition that the enemy, too, is a child of God. The enemy too believes he or she is in the right, and fears us because we represent a threat against his or her values, lifestyle, and affluence. When we demonize our enemies, calling them names and identifying them with absolute evil, we deny that they have that of God within them which still makes transformation possible. We conclude that our enemy has drifted beyond the redemptive hand of God.

-Walter Wink, Jesus’ Third Way

Fast Food (2015): Tenth Helping

“Sooner or later Christians will have to learn that violence of any kind as a response to violence of any kind cannot be reconciled with the teachings or the example given them by the One they claim to follow.”                                                 -

    -Prof. Gordon Zahn, 

Catholic CO WW II, 

author of War, Conscience and Decent,

and In Solitary Witness: The Life of Franz Jagerstatter

                 Co-Founder Pax Christi-USA

“To kill an error is as a good a service as, and sometimes even better than,

the establishing of a new truth or fact.” 

                –Charles Darwin

Fast Food (2015): Ninth Helping

In Light of Jesus’ first word  in His public ministry, “metanoia ” (Mt 4:17) “repent, change your mind,” in Light of His “new commandment: love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34)  and in Light of Paul’s, “Have this mind among you, which is yours in Christ Jesus,” (Phil 2: 5-11), what is the task Jesus assigns to popes, bishops, priests, ministers, pastors and parents?  Is it to communicate to those Christians who are in their spiritual care that it is impossible to be a faithful follower of the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels, to do God’s will as Jesus reveals it and to simultaneously be a member of the Mafia? Or, is their task to tell the Mafia and those in it, Christian and non-Christian, how to morally kill and maim justly, when one Mafia organization “goes to the mattresses”, i.e. war, against another Mafia organization? Does  assigned task of popes, bishops, priests ministers, pastors and parentsinclude telling a military how to morally kill and maim justly other sons and daughter of the Father of all and brothers and sisters of Jesus? 

Or, have popes, bishops, priests, ministers, pastors and parents been commissioned (Mt 28:19) by Jesus to proclaim and to teach to those placed in their spiritual care that “Jesus’ love is the love of the Executed One for His killers, the One who Himself can never be a killer or an executioner” (Eberhard Arnold).

A Petitionary Prayer for the Grace 

To Put on the Mind of Christ

(It works!)

Jesus, you have the words of eternal life.

Replace my thoughts with your thoughts,

I want my thinking to correspond with your teaching;

I want to make decisions according to your standards.

You are the Truth given to me by the Father.

Let your mind be my mind.

Live in my mind, Jesus!

Venerable James Alberione, SSP 

Fast Food (2015): Eight Helping

he longevity of a Christian practice does not validate this practice as an ultimate norm for the Christian life.

The ultimate norm of Christian life has to be Jesus, His words and His deeds—and if He is not the standard against which everything and all must be finally measured by the Christian, who or what is? Plato? Aristotle? Hugh Hefner? Cicero? Thomas Aquinas? Reinhold Niebuhr? The President? Wall Street? NBC? “

 - Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, All Things Flee Thee for Thou Fleest Me

“Now, if we pass from the behavior of the Church to Catholic doctrinal positions regarding the problem of war, it becomes clear that theology has sustained the theory of the “just war” for many centuries—a theory which however, never became official, which never was blessed by the magisterium of the Church.”

-La Civiltá Cattolica, 1991

 
La Civiltà Cattolica (Italian for Catholic Civilization) is a Catholic journal published by the Jesuits in Rome, Italy. It has been published continuously since 1850 and is among the oldest of Catholic periodicals. It is the only journal to be directly revised by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See and to receive its approval before being published.

Fast Food (2015): Seventh Helping

“For Saint Paul holiness—indeed life itself—is identification with Christ, which is not mere imitation of Jesus or acceptance of His teachings. Let Paul writing to the Philippians (2:1-11) say what this meant to him: you must think like Christ.

 

Think like Christ, what will that do to our world of values which we have built up from habit and conviction in our years since childhood? Think like Christ and how much that we adore would we have to burn? One must think like Jesus to see how he is to become present in any activity in which he is engaged. Both Gospels and Epistles insist that thinking like Jesus is a personal responsibility which each must fulfill for himself or herself. Unless the Christian makes the effort to put on the mind of Christ precisely in his life at this time and place, he is not a Christian in what he is doing.  Paul invited Christians to make the mind of Christ real and effective in the management of their lives as a mother in a family, as a physician, as a merchant as a salesperson, as a mechanic, as a factory worker. Are there not ways of life and professions in which it is impossible to put on the mind of Christ? It has often been thought so.”

 

Rev. John L. McKenzie, Catholic Biblical Scholar

Jesus, you have the words of eternal life.

Replace my thoughts with your thoughts.

I want my thinking to correspond with your teaching;

I want to make decisions according to your standards.

You are the Truth given to me by the Father.

Let my mind be your mind.

Live in my mind, Jesus!

Venerable James Alberione, SSP

Fast Food (2015): Sixth Helping

No one is so lacking in talent or education or so underprivileged that the mind of Christ is beyond his or her grasp.

-Rev. John L. McKenzie, Catholic Biblical Scholar, Source

Fast Food (2015): Fifth Helping

Christians need falsifications of both the past and the present to make their lives as Christian Just War Theory supporters morally, spiritually and psychologically bearable. Selective memory, which remembers only the triumphs and glories of the powerful and “screens out” the agony and misery of the victims, thus creating a “false consciousness of our past and an opiate for our present,” does the needed falsifying. Authentic and accurate presentations of the miseries of the victims of war are dangerous memories for Christian Just Warists, personally and to their program of trying to make other Christians like themselves. Memories of the reality of what the spirit of Mars brings people to do to other people are dangerous memories because they reveal new knowledge of suffering, which has been intentionally submerged by the deceitful servants of Mars. They interrupt the tranquility of Christian Just War Theory consciousness and conscience. Memories of human suffering make demands on us. So, as far as the Christian Just Warist is concerned it is better that they not be known, because things that you put into your head are there forever but things about which you never heard cannot be utilized to expose deceit.

 

For example, Moloch is the god of child sacrifice. Asked on national television about killing 400,000 children in order to enforce the U.S. led embargo against Iraq, the U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s public moral judgment (5/12/96) on the matter was, “We think the price was worth it.” Over the last decade, according to UNICEF, 2 million children have been killed in war, 4.5 million disabled, 12 million left homeless, 1 million orphaned and 10 million gravely psychologically traumatized. No one knows the number of children who have been killed in utero by war in the last decade. No government or anti-abortion organization has published such figures, or has done the research to establish them. But, the number of children killed in utero in war has to be astronomical. Mars always triggers the sacrifice of children in monstrous numbers, thereby keeping Moloch’s perverted desires satisfied. Jesus says, “No”, to Moloch also. The same cannot be said for the majority of His disciples and their Church leaders.

 

If war and the killing of children in utero and extra utero are inseparable, then for Christians to morally justify war in the name of some cause or another is to morally justify sacrificing children in the name of some cause or another. “You can’t have one without the other!” To authentically and accurately remember this would be a most dangerous memory to the Christian moral status quo. Jesus as child-killer is impossible for even Christian Just Warists to swallow. So the memory is quashed and only the killing of children by the enemy is permitted into memory. Our home team’s orgies of child sacrifice on behalf of some cause or another, however, are kept as far outside of everyday Christian consciousness as possible by the local economic, political and media elites, and by the local bishops, priests, ministers and pastors. They manage this by never mentioning it, if possible, and when someone has the bad manners to bring it up, it is morally whitewashed, brushed aside or quashed from authentic and accurate memory by means of the morally deceitful, humanly despicable and wholly diabolical term, “collateral damage.” Christian Just War Theory always includes Christian Just Child Sacrifice Theory. Child sacrifice—killing children to achieve some end—by any other name is still child sacrifice.

 

My fellow Christians and you prelates of passing distinction, the Holy Trinity is not Jesus, Mars and Moloch. Mars and Moloch may be consubstantial with each other at some degree of being, but there is nothing of the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels in them and nothing of them in Jesus. Hence, there is nothing of the Father or the Holy Spirit, with whom Jesus is consubstantial, in them or they in the Holy Trinity. To bless the activities of the home team servants of Mars and Moloch in the name of and with the sign of the all Holy Trinity is blasphemy and false witness of the first rank.

 

Fast Food (2015): Fourth Helping

Despite Jesus’ rejection of Mars, the war-god is not at a loss. He hides for a while, skillfully puts on an attractive disguise, and penetrates into the Church of Christ. Christians go on chanting their Savior’s praises and victory, without realizing that their hearts have already been delivered up to the domination of seemingly omnipotent Mars. They sincerely love Christ, but in their churches and cathedrals stand the names of those who have given their lives and killed for the country. They glorify Christ, but are flattered when their Churches are adorned with ex-military men’s flags and military trappings. They preach Christ, but exalt the greatness of their country and the nobility of its heroic military. They teach love of one’s neighbor, but enjoin military service. They say you cannot serve God and Mammon, but they themselves serve God and Mars. Mars laughs quietly, sure of his triumph—for which Mammon too will be grateful and emerge with large profits. Mars knows he can rely on Christians’ obedience to him and he despises the puny sovereignty of Christ, knowing that Christ’s so-called disciples have already bowed the knee before him, Mars.

 

Mars mesmerizes people, Christians and non-Christians, bringing them to lose themselves in his power of violence, where they will remain for a lifetime in more or less willing bondage. Mars is a deity with a wide appeal among human beings and among the other pagan gods, their spirits and their servants. Bacchus and Venus, Moloch** and Mammon all benefit from his work. Again, Mammon is especially supportive of Mars.  All the war-profiteers, from armament manufacturers to looters of corpses, from mercenary militaries to scavenger bankers, are secretly glad of the business brought to them by Mars. But with every fiber of His being and every ounce of life He possesses, Jesus resolutely says, “No,” to Mars.

 

-Jean Lasserre 

 

** Moloch is the god of child sacrifice. 

Fast Food (2015): Second Helping

“Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity. It is the fruit of unanswered questions. But questions cannot go unanswered unless they first be asked. So there is a far worse anxiety, a far worse insecurity, which comes from being afraid to ask the right questions—because they might turn out to have answers we do not like. One of the moral diseases we communicate to one another comes from huddling together in the pale light of an insufficient answer to a question we are afraid to ask.”

 -Thomas Merton

The Icon of Violent Constntinian Christianity


Fast Food (2015): Third Helping

I am always surprised to see how readily most Christians assume the permanent disappearance of certain forms and spirits of paganism, as personified by the ancient pagan deities. A glance through the history of Christian literature will show plentiful references to Mammon, but there is hardly anything written about no less formidable gods, such as Bacchus and Venus, Moloch and Mars. Yet these relics of paganism are far from dead, and the mystique of Mars in particular is with us in the glorification of warrior values and the exaltation of violent heroes. It persists today as strongly as ever. Can the pagan war-god really be reconciled with Jesus? It cannot! Jesus says, “No,” to Mars, and to all his evils and all his pomps, all his deceits and all his spirits.

 --Jean Lasserre (1908-1983), 

Pastor, Reform Church of France, Christian Theologian of Peace, Secretary of the French branch of the Fellowsip of Reconciliation, editor of the Cahiers de la Reconciliation, author of a seminal work on Christian Nonviolence, still in print, War and the Gospel(1953).

FAST FOOD (2015):  First Helping

“Most people cannot accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”

 – Leo Tolstoy

Such is the case with just about all popes, bishops, priests, ministers and pastors in regard to the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies. For them Justified Christian Violence and Enmity Theories and “If You Want Peace, Prepare for War” Christian Moral Theories—which they have proudly taught to others and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives—are a way to follow Jesus and a way to eternal life and communion with God who is love. The intrinsic logical absurdity of such theories being touted as way of obediently and truthfully following Jesus is a moral irrelevancy to such prelates—and to those whom they have made as blind as themselves. 

Lamb, Don't Tread on Me [03]

FEAST OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL, JUNE 29, AD 2015

Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29, AD 2015

 

“Let’s not forget the pope has plenty of armed guards.” So reads the headline in response to Pope Francis saying that Christians should not be in the business of manufacturing weapons.

 

Now, the Pope in fact does have “plenty of armed guards,” including but not limited to a well trained, high-tech formal militia, the Swiss Guard, all members of which are, by an oath to God, ready and willing to kill on the Pope’s explicit or implicit command.  The above headline and article from INFOWARS (6/22/15) is simply pointing out that the Pope uses weapons, manufactured by somebody, to secure and protect his interests and the interests of his group of people, so by what moral equation does he deny other people or groups the moral right to manufacture and/or use weapons to secure and protect their interests. The article is asserting that the Pope is morally grandstanding by way of PR moral platitudes. He is not voicing truth that he is willing to live by and to die for.

 

The “do as I say and not as I do” approach to moral education and leadership has little credibility in the minds of most people today, including Christians. But, if the flock has been previously blinded, say, to the truth of the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, then no credibility is lost when the Pope or any Christian leader says the opposite of what Jesus says on the phenomena of violence and enmity. However, this is but a classic example, albeit a titanic one, of the tragedy of the blind leading the blind and choosing their moral leaders from those who are as blind as they are. Blind guides, blind shepherds and blind sheep, all believing and mutually supporting each other in building a Christian life and an institutional Christian Church on the shared illusion, the non-reality, the falsehood of redemptive and justified Christian violence and enmity.

 

A good question might be, “Why does the Pope need ‘plenty of armed guards’ to do anything he was commissioned to do by Jesus?” “Why does the Pope need ‘plenty of armed guards’ to do anything that, he is called to do as the Vicar of Christ or as the Vicar of Peter?” (Vicar is from the Latin, vicarious; English translation vicarious or substitute) Does the Petrine ministry require “plenty of armed guards?” Or, does the Petrine ministry, as created by Jesus, forbid them? “Peter, put up your sword” (Jn 18:10-11).

 

The ‘plenty of armed guards’ that the Pope has surrounding him are a symbol, as the Swiss Guards with halberd at Papal Masses are a symbol of an adulterated papacy. This is not to say the man exercising the Petrine ministry at any given moment is morally dishonest. As said above, because of the nurturing of the societies that formed his consciousness and conscience, he maybe as cognitively and morally blind to the truth of the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, as the blinded flock from which he was chosen. It is to say, however, that the Petrine Ministry as it exists and as it has existed for a long time is being exercised by means of a corrupt structure, that is, a structure that requires the Successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ, to act contrary to the explicit teaching of Jesus given to Peter personally, to His disciples unequivocally and to all the human beings He came to save through His Church whose commission is to “Baptize” and to “teach them to obey all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19).

 

As long as Christians, the Churches and the Churches’ leaders are taught and teach, believe and think, they need violence to do anything for which Jesus gave them the gift of existence and the gift of faith in Him, humanity’s spiral down in the cesspool of reciprocal violence and enmity, murder and mercilessness, must and will continue. Jesus, however, authorized no one to substitute violence for love (agape) in imitation of Him. The Pope and the Church do not need an iota of violence to accomplish everything Jesus wants them to accomplish. What they cannot accomplish without ‘plenty of armed guards’ the Pope and the Church have no business trying to accomplish.

 

So, why does the Pope need ‘plenty of armed guard?’ He and most of the rest of the Church and Churches today need ‘plenty of armed guards’ because the institutional Church and the papacy are deep into agendas that cannot be effectively executed without parting company with Jesus’ teaching by word and deed of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies. But this fact self-evidently means that these agendas cannot be agendas that Jesus commissioned them to execute or that Jesus wants them to execute or that Jesus wants them to execute by the means they are being executed. The eternal salvation of each and every human being did not need Peter’s sword two thousand years ago, does not need it today, has never needed it and will never need it.

 

When Christ disarmed Peter He made it possible for Peter to speak authentically and with authority to each human being and to all human beings on disarming their hearts, heads and hands, as Jesus disarmed His heart, head and hands and as Peter following Jesus command disarmed his heart, head and hands. Peter and his ministry exists to proclaim, to live and if necessary to die for, the truth of the Word of God Incarnate. He and his ministry do not exists to issue moral platitudes that he himself does not live and for which he will die, only after the last dead Swiss Guard has his halberd or Uzi “pried from his cold dead hands”—for this is what having “plenty of armed guards” means and has meant in the history of the Church and the Papacy over the last 1700 years.

 

The Church, the Papacy and humanity, today and for as long as there is a tomorrow, are desperate for a disarmed Peter following in word and in deed, in common affairs and in crisis moments, in life and in death, his disarmed Lord, God and Savior, Jesus, whose Vicar he freely accepted to be in the Church and before the whole world.

 

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

 

Hiroshima Hymn – My Name is George Zabelka by Peter Kearney

Now I am an old man, soon to meet my God
My journey here is almost at an end.
But before the journey’s over there’s one place I must go
Can’t get into heaven till I face up to my hell.
My name is George Zabelka, an ordinary man
And in answer to your questions, my story I will tell.

I was raised to be a Christian in the fashion of the day
Seemed all I had to do was follow rules
So it seemed right to join the army on that island in the sea
Where I was chaplain to the 509th bomb crews.
And I gave the boys a blessing as they flew that August day…
Hiroshima still sleeping and no word did I say.

CHORUS: So I go to light a candle that will shine in the night
For my brother I have wronged, my sister I have killed.
Come light a million candles in the tomb of the night
And we’ll see the light of morning rise again.

Well something deep inside me knew the truth of what I’d done
And my nightmares brought the terror home to me.
I knew the dark and loveless spirit, the cold and clever lie
That held the power and condemned those towns to die
And I know I was no better than the men on Calvary
Who had their orders and followed thoughtlessly.
I know that war has always been, it’s a habit deeply formed
And every land thinks God is on its side.
And the Church has offered blessings and talked about ‘just wars’
Inside with Caesar leaving Christ outside the door
But I say this stage is over, the bomb has changed it all…
Together we will rise up or together we must fall.

And now I am an old man, soon to meet my God
My journey here is almost at an end.
But before the journey’s over I’m going to Japan
As a pilgrim, a small and sorry man
To kneel and beg forgiveness in the hope to reconcile…
One step begins the journey along the homeward mile.

You can download a copy here: Hiroshima Hymn George Zabelka by Peter Kearney

Written by Peter Kearney and you can visit his site: https://www.facebook.com/PeterKearneySongs or buy the song from https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/signs-of-hope/id594398410