"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.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Let Freedom Ring

"Imagine your 14-year-old sister or your 14-year-old daughter. Imagine her being gang-raped by a group of psychopaths and then the girl was killed and her body burned to cover up the rape. Finally, her parents and her five-year-old sister were also killed. Hail the American heroes... Raise your heads high supporters of the 'liberation' - your troops have made you proud today. I don't believe the troops should be tried in American courts. I believe they should be handed over to the people in the area and only then will justice be properly served. And our ass of a PM, Nouri Al-Maliki, is requesting an 'independent investigation', ensconced safely in his American guarded compound because it wasn't his daughter or sister who was raped, probably tortured and killed. His family is abroad safe from the hands of furious Iraqis and psychotic American troops." Bagdad Burning, July 11, 2006.

The acceptance of responsibility for this crime begins in the heart of each Christian who truly loves his or her God. In the face of such crimes, we must examine the violence that lives within ourselves and pledge to work inwardly and outwardly day and night until it diminishes and is at last becomes controllable, under the grace of God.

"Why did we elect Bush? Because we are George W. Bush. As individuals, as families, as religious communities, we aren't; but as a nation, he is the perfect representative of what we are and what we want. He is the nation's Id. We are attracted and repulsed by him, which is why he's never quite won election, and has always had to cheat his way back into power. But he isn't to blame; we are." Adventus, July 14, 2006.

Though Bush bears a unique responsibility (or rather, a lack of responsibility), we participate in his abdication by our silence and passivity. Before we can be truly healed, we must recognize the inner Bush. He is that part of us that loves to exult in consumables, that roars with delight at the SUV in the Internet-enabled garage, that plays our part in war movies where we stand with pride before the barbaric hordes of subhumans consumed with jealousy for our 'way of life'. We must recognize that this drive lives within us and seek, slowly, with patience, humility, and what was once called 'character', to live the future that Jesus Christ has bought for us with his death and resurrection. We are the future that lies beyond the Machiavellian exploitation that has brought us to the edge of ecological death, if only we will embrace it. What we see before us is what we have wished for - it has been granted to us. What we see in the Middle East today is the hell of having our own way. Can we let it go? Can we let God have his way?

Are these extreme statements? I think that they are simply reflections of the truths of the Catholic Catechism - "we gain responsibility for the sins of others when we "cooperate with them . . . by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them; by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so; by protecting evil-doers."

Our silence as Catholics in the face of an illegal invasion and occupation has added the sins of this administration to our own sins, reluctant as most Catholics are to admit the reality of social sin. The following is a reflection, I believe, of the constant teaching of the Church by the Most Reverend John Michael Botean, of the Rumanian Catholic diocese of Canton, Ohio, who has said: "...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. Thus, any killing associated with it is unjustified and, in consequence, unequivocally murder. Direct participation in this war is the moral equivalent of direct participation in an abortion. For the Catholics of the Eparchy of St. George, I hereby authoritatively state that such direct participation is intrinsically and gravely evil and therefore absolutely forbidden."

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