Monday, November 23, 2015


A rising tide of fear and reactionism has become the routine response to terrorist acts, near and far.

But the rush to war is opposite to the way of Jesus.  War is hell, therefore from the devil, just or unjust it doesn’t matter to him.  Stir it up and God’s children inflict terror, lethal pain upon each other.   That war can lead to peace is a lie—the intrinsic evil of justified violence, killing in the name of God & country.   Never has, never will.  War leads to the next war.  God sent his only begotten son Jesus to bring us the living message that is the opposite of war—truth, justice, mercy and reconciliation.  

To deepen understanding of the dilemma that faces us in our response to radical Islam, and the greater Muslim community worldwide, at this time of post Paris terrorism, I add these resources to last week’s posting.

Thoughts in the Presence of Fear
by WENDELL BERRY  A farmer, writer, ecologist born & bred in Kentucky, who knows the value of work close to the land.

I. The time will soon come when we will not be able to remember the horrors of September 11 without remembering also the unquestioning technological and economic optimism that ended on that day.
II. This optimism rested on the proposition that we were living in a “new world order” and a “new economy” that would “grow” on and on, bringing a prosperity of which every new increment would be “unprecedented”.
III. The dominant politicians, corporate officers, and investors who believed this proposition did not acknowledge that the prosperity was limited to a tiny percent of the world’s people, and to an ever smaller number of people even in the United States; that it was founded upon the oppressive labor of poor people all over the world; and that its ecological costs increasingly threatened all life, including the lives of the supposedly prosperous.
    Read the rest of his 27 points.

And by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, head of a synagogue in NYC, who preaches and promotes peace & justice for all, across all faiths and cultures.

After Paris, Where and How?   Sustaining Abundance & Sharing Justice -- Not Imposing War

Dear friends,
We must mourn the dead of Paris. Later in this letter you will see a Mourners Kaddish in Time of War and Terror, in Aramaic/ Hebrew and in English, with an invitation to all of us to draw on it, to use it in our own tongus and teachings..
We must affirm and join the overwhelming majority of the Muslim world in utterly condemning these atrocities.  Below you will also see statements issued by the President of Iran  and by the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations.
And we must also, as quickly as possible, assess what to do now to prevent such atrocities.
In that assessment, we must take into account what terrible mistakes our government and people have made in the past that served to sprout the seeds of terror that already existed in the Muslim world  -- as in other worlds, including some hyper-nationalist and hyper-racist Americans.
There were two such profound mistakes. One was broader than the Middle East, and has not received the focused attention it deserves. It was the failure of the US and other governments to respond to scientific warnings of impending disaster from global scorching. As the NY Times has reported  (March 2, 2015;  see <>),
“Drawing one of the strongest links yet between global warming and human conflict, researchers said that an extreme drought in  Syria between 2006 and 2009 was most likely due to climate change, and that the drought was a factor in the violent uprising that began there in 2011. …
“They cited studies that showed that the extreme dryness, combined with other factors, including misguided agricultural and water-use policies of the Syrian government, caused crop failures that led to the migration of as many as 1.5 million people from rural to urban areas. This in turn added to social stresses that eventually resulted in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.”
So one urgent lesson for the future is that the US and other governments must take swift and  vigorous action in the forthcoming Paris international conference on the climate crisis. Without such action, we can expect more such civil wars, millions of refugees, and desperate acts of war and terror as food and water vanish in many regions of the Earth.   More ...

  An interfaith prayer card from Pax Christi USA 

In Thanksgiving for abundant blessings received in the USA.  May we share equitably and graciously with all, the many immigrant cultures and indigenous who make us who we are today.
Deo gracias

Monday, November 16, 2015


When our media pundits escalate the carnage of terrorist attacks to the level of full scale war, where we can further unleash our sophisticated air-power and drone assassinations, we only lock ourselves deeper into a war addicted society.   The common U.S. citizen rarely sees what war and violent death really look like up close.   The recent killings by terrorists in France appear to bring it closer to our Western society, but as long as our war industry and homeland security dominant institutions seem to keep it at bay, far away in foreign lands, we are willing to pay protection money federal taxes, and look the other way.
  Perhaps 130 now the recent Paris victims, maybe a Syrian refugee among the ISIS assailants.

Shots start at the Bataclan, a concert hall with a capacity of 1,500 people, three men attacked a sold-out performance of the Eagles of Death Metal, an American band.   89 died – from NYT

People wounded are taken away by emergency personnel near the Bataclan music hall, Paris

Terrible, but also predictable, and now we can mount even more disastrous wars in Iraq & Syria, where sprouts the Islamic State, out of our previous invasions & interventions.   The collateral damage of our war-making response to the 911 attack, spilling from Afghanistan to Iraq and ever onward, continues to mushroom.   We pay attention to Paris, but every day every week, comparable innocents die, at the hands of terrorists, and often times immolated by our own hi-tech weaponry efforts to destroy those we’ve labeled terrorists and their communities.

Forty in Lebanon, the day before the Paris attack—Arab innocents largely ignored by the regular media.   Just try doing a google search of international news stories that focus on the Middle East—the casualties of terrorism & war occurring daily country by country.   You will not be able to keep count.   No one is accurately compiling these numbers.   These deaths are of minimal importance.   In the 15 years since the turn of the Millennium they are most likely in the millions.   And the victims often get blamed, “You lived in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

151112-Beruit attack 40 killed - twin suicide bombings in the Burj al-Barajneh neighborhood of Beirut, Lebanon. Photo - Bilal Hussein-AP

“When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, wrote on his blog. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.”

At daily mass today our local parish priest gave a beautiful strong homily, on the need to put Christ in the place of our reliance on war as the solution to terrorism.   He made the practical point that the terrorist attacks in Paris needed to be countered with clear investigations, and rounding up the perpetrators—not by sending attack jets to inflict collective lethal presumptive judgement, on far away villages in the Middle East.   He knew this is not a popular view.
Yet God is father of us all, and the rush to war is opposite to the way of following His Son, Jesus.


And once again global oil dependency enters into the war equation.

Monday, November 9, 2015


Veterans Day, renamed from Armistice Day as it had been since this end date of WWI, is about to be commemorated again Nov. 11th.   So many have suffered, and sacrificed in the plague of ongoing wars.  Also this week comes the 71st anniversary of the death of Otto Schimek, another one of the saintly many in WWII who would not fight for Hitler’s holocaust.    He died, a 19 year old, by Wermacht firing squad Nov. 14th, 1944, for desertion, and refusing orders to round up Polish citizens.  His last letter shows him to be a person of faith.   Very little has been written about him in English.  We need a new definition of hero.

Please read of my quest to write more below, pass the word of my yet unpublished article on him, and if you know anyone who might be able to help with his story please contact me, as we head off towards Vienna.


Dear Fr. Seibol and Mr. Kandutsch,
St Brigitta Church, Vienna, Austria

Pardon my English.
It was wonderful to talk with you about Otto Schimek of Vienna, born May 5, 1925 and baptized at your church, who at 19 years old, on Nov. 14, 1944, was executed by Wermacht firing squad for refusing orders in Poland.
I am a freelance writer, coming to Vienna, December 17 to Dec. 23rd, to further research the story of Otto Schimek [see Wikipedia entry].  Very little has been published on him in English. I've been searching for more verifiable sources, and hope to be able to find and interview some of Otto's family members, or Wermacht unit fellow soldiers, if some can still be found. I would like to come to your church, and prior to that, enlist the help of your parishioners and friends, to see if those people can be located for interviews when I come to Vienna, or if you have any new sources, well attributed, that I've not yet seen.
If possible I'd like to employ someone capable of acting as a translator/investigator in this project. I've been working on this story for 18 months [a rough introductory draft is below], and would very much appreciate your help in expanding and lending greater credibility, to enable publication here in the U.S.   Otto has been considered for sainthood, though the process is stalled.  The story of his life and death is a good example for us it seems, in a world too long at many wars, awash in refugees.  Thank you for your consideration, and all the help you can be.

Yours truly,
Michael McCarthy PA-C
Faith Perspective on War and Peace
Blue Water Pax Christi
2714 Stone St., Port Huron, MI  48060  USA
Please consider translating this for your parish newsletters, and announcements.
And you may also do this for my draft article below.  Thank you again.

                There were pilgrimages to the parish church in the area where he died, twice a year during the period when Poland, and all Eastern Europe, were breaking free of the Soviet Union and Communist control.  His name was celebrated in many circles, from the most devout to the purely political.  Lech Walesa of the Solidarity Union, leading the way to freedom for Poland in those times, praised Otto Schimek’s witness, that of a 19 year old Nazi soldier who wouldn’t kill Polish peasants in World War II.  Pope John Paul II wanted to visit his grave, but was at the last moment dissuaded by advisors.

                Now Otto Schimek’s story is buried, as well as his body missing—no reliable gravestone—an unknown soldier, who, as his last letter before he was executed for “deserting” testifies, was a courageous Catholic, a person faithful unto death.  He had refused to be part of Hitler’s lethal acts against Polish citizens.

                 Very little of his life has been written in English.  We know from German army records that he was born May 5, 1925 and died on November 14, 1944, for refusing to serve Hitler’s Wermacht forces.  Two books in Polish, and the website of the Catholic Church in Machowa Poland, give some detail to his short life, relying on his family’s accounts of his early life in a poor district of Vienna Austria, and the problems he had with recruitment into the German army.   He was raised to practice his faith, to do good for others, to go to mass on Sunday.  He missed some school helping his mother’s small sewing business.

                When conscripted into the armies of Hitler he told his family and others that he couldn’t kill anyone.  Then before his death he said again he couldn’t kill, “the war was provoked by the Germans and is not Christian."  In his final letter before his execution he said, "I am in a happy mood. What do we have to lose? Nothing, only our poor lives, as they cannot kill our souls. What a hope! Today, I am going to heaven, where the Father is waiting. May God guard you so that you will join me."
An Austrian Cardinal wrote in support of his cause, an Austrian Jesuit writer against.  A few journalists have investigated and are divided.  Most all Polish authors are convinced he was a hero of faith—a remarkable young man who followed his conscience. 

Padriac Kenney, a Professor of History and International Studies at Indiana University, and Director of their Polish Studies Center, has assisted in this effort to make better known to the U.S. public the story of Otto Schimek’s life and death.  He has this to say after reviewing the most relevant book [The Debate About Grenadier Schimek by Lech Niekrasz], published only in Polish.

“Niekrasz devotes the book to debunking, quite effectively, the writings of those who say Schimek was an ordinary deserter. And he does track down one old peasant who recalls the whole story and appears to confirm that Schimek really did hide two partisans, was found out and ordered to shoot them, refused, and was eventually executed. Niekrasz points out that execution was usually not the punishment for desertion, except in exceptional cases.”

A young Austrian soldier died by firing squad in 1944 for refusing the orders of an unjust war.  May we discover more of his story, which has similarity to that of the recently beatified Franz Jagerstatter who also wouldn’t fight for Hitler.  What a hope this gives in today’s world so wearied by wars without end, to all of us who take courage in the saving mercy of our God, whose justice transcends all borders.


Today’s Epistle from daily mass.  In celebrating the foundation of one of Catholicism’s early church buildings, Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, we come to the surprising truth that each of us is a sacred place, God dwelling within us. 

Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

When we kill someone, even enemy, what temple have we desecrated?

Monday, November 2, 2015


 Mom {Mary P. Oleary McCarthy, Died Sept. 19, 2011} and Dad {Joseph F. McCarthy, Still very much with us}
On date at Iowa State Union.

I believe we have all known at some time or other that all-present unconditional merciful unmerited love.  We have experienced it.  Someone has shown it to us.  It may have seemed too brief.  We wanted more.  But to have this, we then must give it on to another.  This love is worth living for, and is even to die for, as we all will someday, and into the arms of Jesus who has already and forever done this for us.  The hope is that each and every one of us can remember this, and be part of this beloved community as often as possible, moment to moment on earth as it is in heaven—where we’ll all be back together again.   And surprised by the multitude we might have thought could never make it.

Celebrated today in Mexico : Dia de los Muertos - Home altar

Remember in prayer the 43 Mexican students of Ayotzinapa, disappeared, missing now over a year.

Also will forward on to you the beautiful eulogy homily given by Fr. E.C. McCarthy for a long time friend, soldier, who became life-long peacemaker.

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Monday, October 26, 2015


Members of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and its allies at the entrance of a Syrian government {our enemy} air base in the northern province of Idlib after seizing it.  This day, an Al Qaeda group was acting as our friend {they fight against ISIS too}.  Photo 9-915 NYT

Modern war is a whack-a-mole policy, always creating more enemies in its destruction, killing and displacing millions, only good for those in the business of war.  Our world leaders, strategists, and clergy are beginning to speak more opening on this, deeply criticizing our present course.
Below is something I wrote in the middle of the Iraq War.   May God grant us the wisdom to put away the double-edged sword of war.

October 14, 2077
Dear Editors of the Washington Post,
The article in your Oct 12th paper, “9 Children Killed in U.S. Raid in Iraq,” is further evidence that our “surge” there is a surge in innocent death.  We again were trying to hit al Qaida, but 16 civilians perished with the suspected 15 insurgents. Just so many more bugs on the windshield of 4 ½ years into our Iraq war policy.
                How many innocents have been killed in this war of occupation?  We no longer count the bodies of any of the casualties of war except our own.  The officials in charge of this modern war must feel that would be counter-productive.  How much innocent death is acceptable?  A Dept. of Defense analyst who did targeting for early bombing campaigns in Iraq states in a public radio documentary worth listening to [esp. part 2], that the allowable limit is 30 civilians for 1 bad guy. 

                Even with our precision munitions this war has killed innocents in the hundreds of thousands according to the only scientific studies that have been done to date (by John’s Hopkins University epidemiologists published in the Lancet medical journal, Oct 04, and Nov 06 issues).

                What happens when we as a people accept even one innocent death as inevitable to protect our way of life?  Ask any of our soldiers who’ve had to shoot or run over children with their convoy vehicles in Iraq, as part of their unwritten rules of engagement, to avoid roadside bombs at all costs. Violence always multiplies violence, both physically and spiritually.  Visible and hidden costs are enormous and exponential for both the victorious and the victim.

                The Pope of my Catholic church {the previous Pope Benedict XVI}, when still a cardinal on May 2, 2003, was asked about this Iraq War.  He said, “There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq…” Then commenting further on civilian casualties, “today we should be asking ourselves if it is licit to admit the very existence of a just war.”  (Zenet News Agency)

                To protect the innocents and respect all life, it will be necessary not only to end our Iraq war, but also to be leaders in a worldwide movement to banish all war.
Yours truly,

Michael McCarthy PA-C
Blue Water Pax Christi
2714 Stone St.
Port Huron, MI  48060
810 982 2870

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

October is Respect Life, and Pray the Rosary month
November brings All Saints, All Souls Days


More –

Monday, October 19, 2015


Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat at the Oslo Accords signing ceremony on 13 September 1993.

On the brink of an opening doorway to peace in the Middle East, on Nov. 4, 1995 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a former general and defense minister, was assassinated, by an ultra-conservative Israeli.   He’d been leading his country to sign the Oslo Peace Accords.  The hard-line leader Benjamin Netanyahu took over then, and the door remains slammed shut ever since.  I wouldn’t have remembered this except “This American Life” public radio program that was on yesterday [very worth the time listening to].   It outlines the thought of the assassins who show no remorse, and are counted as heroes by many Israelis who want no compromise with the Palestinians.  Still, in the recent past the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians favor the peace yet denied them.  While the Israeli government seems bent on a total-security-at-all-retaliatory-costs policy, based on an opportune assassination.

War between the members of these two sides now again escalates, a third Intifada being threatened as there’s no real movement for just solution to the land and power situation.  Knives and guns and army again into the fray.  The violence this times is taking five times more Palestinian lives than Israeli, which is much less than the often greater than ten to one ratio. 
The bodies of Noor Hassan, 30, and Rahaf Hassan, 2, at their funeral. They were killed by an Israeli retaliatory airstrike in Gaza. Credit Wissam Nassar for NYT
Israeli Retaliatory Strike in Gaza Kills Woman and Child, Palestinians Say -- 10-11-15 NYT

Israel is not alone in this protracted war post assassination situation.   JFK and the Unspeakable is an important book to read, as we approach Nov. 22, the date our President Kennedy was killed, just as he was moving to stop our involvement in Vietnam in 1963 [we didn’t leave until 1975].
The United States has consistently backed up those in Israel who want this take-no-prisoners approach to Israeli nation state power expansion.  But violence is never the solution, no matter which side you’re on, or which country/culture you come from—it only perpetuates more violence.

And witness the recent testimony of an Israeli citizen, victim of a mistaken vengeful attack by another Israeli.  Click on to access story & video--Jewish Man Stabbed by Fellow Israeli in Botched Revenge Attack Denounces Ethnic Violence - NYT 10-16-15


An eye for an eye
An ear for an ear
A mouth for a mouth
A toe for a toe
A tooth for a tooth
A finger for a finger
A brain for a brain
A heart for a heart
A bullet for a bullet
A soul for a soul
A Predator rocket and a bulldozer, for a suicide bomber.
The spirit of perpetual vengeant homicide and holocaust
                Thrives on the ongoing body count
Only to be extinguished by courageous acts
                Of forgiveness and reconciliation.

In the West we export the weapons, machines and money that fuel the conflagrations—
                Until the stench of human sacrifice tortures our nostrils
Reaches somehow beyond TV sets
And in the face of worldwide asphyxiation the only hope is
To renounce our addiction to the militarized oil economy
To convert our fear to trust, in being all God’s family.

                                                                                By Michael McCarthy    January 23, 2002

Dan Ephron, the Jewish journalist interviewed in the NPR program above, has written a book on the assassination, reviewed here in the New Yorker Magazine.

Israeli Retaliatory Strike in Gaza Kills Woman and Child, Palestinians Say -- 10-11-15 NYT
"So far this month, four Israelis have been killed in Palestinian gun and knife attacks in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and several more have been wounded. Israeli forces have fatally shot at least 20 Palestinians, many of them teenagers, according to data compiled by the Palestinian Health Ministry and Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights group. More than 1,000 Palestinians have been reported injured."

Monday, October 12, 2015


Our war policies are plagued by the delusion that war can be fought by proxy, that we can embark on the path of endless warmaking elsewhere on the planet, in “defense of our interests” employing the locals to do the terrible dirty work.
This is the latest installment’s demise.
“But officials said they were trying to adapt in real time by seeking to identify the leaders of “capable, indigenous forces” in Syria who would sign a pledge to fight the Islamic State group, receive some instruction on human rights, review the law of armed conflict, and leave with communications gear and some help on how to call in airstrikes.”

There is some counter–effort to bring us back to the reality.  You can’t buy loyalty.
“With alarming frequency in recent years, thousands of American-trained security forces in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia have collapsed, stalled or defected, calling into question the effectiveness of the tens of billions of dollars spent by the United States on foreign military training programs, as well as a central tenet of the Obama administration’s approach to combating insurgencies.”

We have been repeating these disastrous mistakes year after year after year.
This is what I wrote about our efforts to export and market these pre-emptive wars over a decade ago.

Published in the Port Huron Times Herald, in edited abbreviated form, 11-20-03

We need to realize that the business of war is hell, and that to promote it, is to directly oppose God’s plan of mercy and forgiveness that we are all desperately in need of.

Artwork by        athy Brahney