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.
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Little by Little
The words from Pacem in Terris ring out like Elijah, "We would remind such people that it is the law of nature that all things must be of gradual growth. If there is to be any improvement in human institutions, the work must be done slowly and deliberately from within. Pope Pius XII expressed it in these terms: 'Salvation and justice consist not in the uprooting of an outdated system, but in a well designed policy of development. Hotheadedness was never constructive; it has always destroyed everything. It has inflamed passions, but never assuaged them. It sows no seeds but those of hatred and destruction. Far from bringing about the reconciliation of contending parties, it reduces men and political parties to the necessity of laboriously redoing the work of the past, building on the ruins that disharmony has left in its wake.'"
How much damage is left to be undone? "Read the searing account of Dr Salam Ismael, who took aid to Fallujah in January. He describes the ordeal of a 17-year-old girl, Hudda Fawzi. Her father opened the door to US marines who shot him and a friend dead, then shot her elder sister, having beaten her senseless, then destroyed the family's furniture. Wounded people were dragged from their homes and run over by tanks; a clinic was destroyed by missiles. 'It became clear to us,' Ismael wrote, 'that we were witnessing the aftermath of a massacre, the cold-blooded butchery of helpless and defenceless civilians.' It is not surprising that the Blair government has refused Ismael fresh permission to visit and speak out in Britain. His testimony, and that of many other reliable witnesses, is known and feared. Last April, the US command agreed that it may well have slaughtered as many as 600 people in Fallujah." - "Protecting a Regime with Blood on its Hands", John Pilger, The New Statesman, March 4, 2005.
Another prophet wrote words which should be chiseled on the walls of Abu Ghraib, "Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practice them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator". Gaudium et Spes, 27.
God forgive us our silence, the harm we have written in our souls and the souls of those we have allowed to be tormented while we refused to listen.