Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 12, 2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
Moore should know strength comes from love, not guns
Charles Moore's "Case against Christian Pacifism" (WCR, Oct. 22) has reconfirmed for me the pacifist stand I have taken for the last 31 years, ever since I left the U.S. because I refused to kill people in Vietnam. I am glad to be in the company of misguided Christians like Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr., and Francis of Assisi.
In discussing Jesus' support of armed conflict, Moore notes that neither Jesus nor St. Paul told soldiers to abandon their profession. He could have mentioned that they never condemn slavery; were western governments unChristian to abolish it?
Nor did they condemn imperialism or dictatorship; does that mean they favour unfair trade and oppose universal suffrage and individual rights?
And when Jesus says, "I bring not peace but a sword," (Matthew 10:34), he clearly uses "sword" in a figurative sense, as the context makes clear in its reference to Jesus himself being the cause of division within families. Luke's parallel text (12:51) omits "sword" altogether and says, "Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!"
Perhaps the WCR made a typographical error in Moore's column. Surely this article debunks not pacifism but passivism. The former is a principled stand in favour of nonviolence, while the latter is failing to take action at all. When Moore talks about Christians who would stand by and do nothing while innocent people are attacked, murdered, and enslaved, I think he really means "passivists."
I agree completely that we must honour the sacrifices of those "willing to fight, and if necessary, give their lives to establish and defend our way of life." These would, of course, include parents who give their lives and their love to each other and to their children.
They would include labour unions and others who fight for fair wages, human rights and democracy. They would include priests, nuns, and lay people who teach and work for justice and care for the powerless.
People of many nationalities and creeds-including Islam - are even now living their lives and dying to improve our society, to make God's kingdom come in Canada and around the world.
Most of us find it easy to hate an enemy like Osama bin Laden, but Jesus says we must love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and fight for justice, not revenge. How can President Bush's order to kill bin Laden without a trial be considered Christian (or even democratic) in any meaningful sense?
Why is the World Court never mentioned? And what about Bush's determination to bomb or starve into "Enduring Freedom" the millions of innocent civilians who happen to be in the way? What does love have to do with bullets, missiles and cluster bombs?
I also agree with Mr. Moore that "the only way to defeat (terrorists) is through the application of force." But I believe that the force of love is greater than the force of armies.
Romans 12:19-21 says we should leave vengeance to the Lord, feed our enemies if they are hungry and overcome evil with good.
If we hear Jesus' message of love and act on it, we will be like the wise man who built his house on a rock (Matthew 7:24). However, if our society's foundation really is bombs, guns, and killing, we are already living in hell.
Listen to what Mary says
The media is full of articles about America at war, each one giving an opinion as to what the real problem is and how to achieve world peace. The Western Catholic Reporter is no different.
In the WCR's Oct. 22 edition, even the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, with other Christian leaders, prepared a statement which says: "The essential non-military character of the struggle against terrorism must be restored." It concludes, "A fundamental commitment to seek the safety and well-being of all people . . . must be at the core of the campaign against terrorism."
Everybody is beating around the bush. Nobody wants to come out and say directly what the real cause of world conflicts is. We were told many times, in many different ways and on many occasions, but we never listen.
The Blessed Virgin at Fatima said: "If my requests are not granted, . . . the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. If my requests are heeded, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. But if the world does not stop offending God, another and worse (war) will begin."
On another occasion, the Blessed Virgin said, "If the laws of the Lord are not observed, but on the contrary are more and more openly violated, humanity will run along the road of confusion, of injustice, of egoism and of violence."
And still further, she says, "This world does not know peace because it does not accept Jesus. Peace can only come to you from the return of humanity to its God by means of conversion."
Her basic message has always been "Cease offending God."
In defence of Zyp
Paul Little must be living in a brainwashed slumber world to believe that the "cycle of violence" started on Sept. 11, (Letters, WCR, Oct.29).
His statements about Hank Zyp are absurd and defaming. If he has any integrity, he will
apologize to Hank and resolve to explore in depth Hank's weekly column.
Hank did not condone the New York bombings, but perhaps feels as I do, that they should not have come as a surprise considering the terror and aggression U.S. foreign policy inflicts on countries and people throughout the world.
Learn about it Paul.
Hank did not condone the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait; nor does he condone the ongoing U.S. and British aggression against the Iraqi people and children.
Hank does not dislike nor hate the American people. What he hates and dislikes, as I do, is the oppression U.S. foreign policy through its invasions, bombings and military interference inflicts on other nations.
U.S. economic interests are paramount. The American people, not unlike Canadians, are brainwashed by the media.
Zyp has anti-U.S. fixation
I cannot help but notice that since Sept. 11, Hank Zyp seems to have an anti-American bias bordering on fixation in all of his related columns.
You are so lucky Hank to be living here in Canada postulating anti-U.S. rhetoric instead of living in Afghanistan writing anti-Taliban articles.
They would have a different way of dealing with it as they do not share your vision of social justice, in case you did not know.
The question I have Hank is this: "Is military intervention always wrong or only when the U.S. does it?"
In any case, I do believe that even before Sept. 11, if you received an unavoidable choice of having to move yourself and everyone you love either to Kabul under Taliban rule (not great for the women in the family) or to San Jose, Calif., I'll bet you would soon enough be seen hoisting the American flag high over your head singing "God Bless America." Just desserts.
Devastated by parish closure
An historic event took place on Sunday Oct. 28, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish when the final Mass was celebrated there by the archbishop to signify the closing down of this church which has served the community of Ritchie for more than half a century.
This event was not only historic but also a very nostalgic and sad occasion as was evidenced by the shedding of tears by many in the overflowing congregation both men and women realizing it was true that everything they worked for was being transferred to St. Anthony's Parish, lock, stock and barrel.
It appears that sensitivity to, concern or compassion for the parishioners of Immaculate Heart Parish was nowhere to be found as St. Anthony's was mentioned ad nauseam.
Those same parishioners, through their blood, sweat and tears not only built the church but also paid the mortgage and maintained this parish for over 50 years. Does the archdiocese care about these people? Are they listening to these parishioners grieving over the loss of their beloved parish?
Most are devastated by the high-handed manner the archdiocese appears to have dealt with them dismissing them as a nonentity.
Had parishioners been given the opportunity to put forth suggestions or discuss alternatives to the closure of their church, another solution could have been reached rather than having the parish suppressed (the canonical term for closing a church) as occurred last Sunday.
As one member of the archdiocese who has contributed for over the past 45 years only to witness the closing of my parish and I'm sure I'm not alone in expressing this sentiment.