An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Welcome, Fr. McCarthy!

Due to the helpful direction of Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, I have identified two Catholic bishops that have the courage to speak out strongly and publicly about the illegal U.S. war in Iraq. First, we'll report on Bishop John Michael Botean.

Let's first establish the context. According to "Your Catholic Voice" on Feb. 16, 2004, "In the time from the terrorist attacks on the United States to the war in Iraq, the Bush administration adopted a new foreign policy that most Vatican officials found they could not agree with on principle. Cardinal Ratzinger bluntly stated that preventative war was incompatible with the Catechism, with many Vatican officials suggesting that waging such a war with Iraq would then be illegal." (http://www.yourcatholicvoice.org/index.php?id=article&article=713)

There are many other such statements, several originating with the Holy Father himself, some of which we have referenced in this blog. Due to the hints of Fr. McCarthy, I have uncovered much more Church material toward this war in Iraq which I will be commenting on over the next few weeks.

However, to give honor where it is due, here is an excerpt from a statement by Bishop John Michael Botean, the head of the Romanian Catholic eparchy (diocese) of St. George in Canton, Ohio on March 18, 2003: "The bishop declared with 'moral certainty' that the proposed attack on Iraq "does not meet even the minimal standards of the Catholic just-war theory."

"Bishop Botean acknowledged that the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2309) identifies public authorities as the final judges of whether military action is justified. But he argued that "the nation-state is never the final arbiter or authority for the Catholic of what is moral." An unjust law or order should not be obeyed, he observed."

The article goes on: "This is not a bishop functioning as a political lobbyist, nor is it a bishop simply giving good advise to his people, nor is it a bishop functioning as a theological disputant with anyone inside or outside his Church. This is a bishop declaring to those who are actively one with him by Baptism and by faith in Christ and His Church, that as the final authority in matters of faith and morals in their Community, this war is intrinsically evil and therefore morally impermissible for them."

"Please be aware that I am not speaking to you as a theologian or as a private Christian voicing his opinion, nor by any means am I speaking to you as a political partisan. I am speaking to you solely as your bishop with the authority and responsibility I, though a sinner, have been given as a successor to the apostles on your behalf. I am speaking to you from the deepest chambers of my conscience as your bishop, appointed by Jesus Christ in his Body, the Church, to help shepherd you to sanctity and to heaven. Never before have I spoken to you in this manner, explicitly exercising the fullness of authority Jesus Christ has given his Apostles “to bind and to loose,” (cf. John 20:23), but now “the love of Christ compels” me to do so (2 Corinthians 5:14). My love for you makes it a moral imperative that I not allow you, by my silence, to fall into grave evil and its incalculable temporal and eternal consequences."

"Therefore I, by the grace of God and the favor of the Apostolic See Bishop
of the Eparchy of St. George in Canton, must declare to you, my people, for
the sake of your salvation as well as my own, that any direct participation
and support of this war against the people of Iraq is objectively grave
evil, a matter of mortal sin. Beyond a reasonable doubt this war is morally
incompatible with the Person and Way of Jesus Christ. With moral certainty I
say to you it does not meet even the minimal standards of the Catholic just
war theory." - CWNews.com, Mar. 18, 2003 Read the complete article at http://cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=20142

Let us pray for those whose hearts have been so blinded by violence and propaganda that they no longer hear the voice of our Mother.

3 comments:

Nate said...

We need more people talking about this. I'll keep praying for the success of our efforts to proclaim the nonviolent peace of Christ.

If only more Bishops, if only more Christians, would follow Christ.

What a world, huh? :)

nibegarots said...

A great statement indeed, although I doubt if any person -- bishop, theologian or otherwise -- truly holds an authority from God to bind any other person "under mortal sin". Integrity of conscience in one's personal relationship with God is always the only true and final arbiter of one's state of grace. Other human beings do not get to judge it, because they do not intimately understand the full circumstances of another person's conscience. Only God does. And the situation is exemplified today by those bishops who are "binding" their faithful to oppose same-sex civil unions, under pain of grave sin. This "binding" is fatuous nonsense, and is a dangerous confusion about the disparate concerns of the religious/sacramental and the secular/political domains. Roman Catholics do not have any legitimate right to impose binding religious (sacramantal) law upon the rest of America and Americans.

nibegarots said...

A great statement indeed, although I doubt if any person -- bishop, theologian or otherwise -- truly holds an authority from God to bind any other person "under mortal sin". Integrity of conscience in one's personal relationship with God is always the only true and final arbiter of one's state of grace. Other human beings do not get to judge it, because they do not intimately understand the full circumstances of another person's conscience. Only God does. And the situation is exemplified today by those bishops who are "binding" their faithful to oppose same-sex civil unions, under pain of grave sin. This "binding" is fatuous nonsense, and is a dangerous confusion about the disparate concerns of the religious/sacramental and the secular/political domains. Roman Catholics do not have any legitimate right to impose binding religious (sacramantal) law upon the rest of America and Americans.