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Monday, August 31, 2015

BEAUTIFUL WEDDING - PRAYER FOR CREATION


Our youngest daughter, beautiful Bridget, got married this past weekend, to Graydon, a young man of strong character and generous heart.   They were celebrated in church ceremony and reception hall by so many friends and family from so many diverse directions and backgrounds, it was wonderful overwhelming.  There were representatives from almost every job and school, neighborhood and family connection each of them had ever been part of.  Testimony to their welcoming natures.

Bridget and Graydon, we were all lifted up and blessed by your spirit and promise.   God continue to bless you and keep you close.

World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation is tomorrow, Sept. 1st



Photos by Twin Shutterbug Studios

Monday, August 24, 2015

PAKISTAN—YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR



“U.S. Threatens to Withhold Pakistan [Military] Aid,” states a headline in a recent WSJ articleWhat is the world coming to?   They have been our allies in the Afghanistan region since well before the 911 terrorist attacks against us in 2001.   Pakistan was our supply route to fight the Russians by proxy supporting Mujahedeen terrorist extremists to help kick the Russians out of Afghanistan.  The Russians had invaded there in 1979, leading President Jimmy Carter to call a boycott of the Olympics to be held in Russia.  That was how outraged we were that Russia would invade a country that bordered them and was in chaos.  That chaos then engaged the Russian occupiers for almost a decade, depleting their national treasury, humiliating their army, and contributing to the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Now we have repeated their tragic mistake, trusting in our military might to conquer Afgahnistan, this third world nation that nurtured Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban, and many terrorist factions [that we armed in our proxy war with Russia].  Pakistan, the neighbor country we’ve used as a forward base & supply line for our army’s invasion of Afghanistan post 911, is no longer cooperating.  What will become of our current attempts to destroy these Taliban and other militant groups we once supported?  It would certainly compromise our army, Special Forces, and drones operations.
Drone activity in 2010
Pakistan was never enthusiastic, is friendly also to Taliban on its side of the border, and its courts are now pressing charges against U.S. CIA officials that have run the drones program secretly from their territory.  “American drone strikes are extremely unpopular in Pakistan, where they are viewed as a breach of the country’s sovereignty…”  They are also viewed by their common people as shameful, cowardly ways to fight by remote control.


Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are predominantly Muslim nations.  They are much closer to each other than to the United States.   After more than a decade of our Afghanistan invasion and occupation, and continued “pinpoint strikes” against insurgents, there is no end to the chaos.  The refugees and displaced number in the millions, billions of U.S. military dollars are spent, civilian casualties are at an all-time high, poppy-heroin production is at record levels, and the two countries at times even attack each other.
Another member of our U.S. arsenal

Our military aid to Pakistan will most likely continue, if they fight the enemies we direct them to [so intimates the WSJ article].  Recent history teaches that this only promises the bitter fruit of persistent war.  Better to invest in peacemaking, as in the attempts of President Eisenhower’s’ road and irrigation projects in Afghanistan, and Central Asia Institute’s school building in Pakistan.  You get what you pay for: terrible in war, never easy but positive in peace.

A better use of poppies--Ande's, on our garden path

Please visit our parish webpage for some of the true service opportunities that can help cultivate world peace.

References



Monday, August 17, 2015

VIOLENCE JUSTIFIED IS TRUE PEACE DENIED


Section of recent wall art by Ande Gaines McCarthy--from American indigenous theme


I have an ongoing dialogue with friends.  Is one obligated to take up violence as last resort in defense of friends, family, or country—or should one fully embrace pacifism, nonviolence?
I believe in the second, and to be precise, active confrontational prophetic (inspired) pacifism is not passive.  It’s not from that root word, but from Pace – “Peace be with you.”  An opposite sense to all that is apathetic and complacent.  It strikes at the root of the lie that is violent activism.

The New Evangelization we talk about in our church now will prosper only if we return to the full Gospel message of Jesus, how he taught and lives an unconditional nonviolent merciful love for all of us.  As the scriptural scholar {whose text was our guide in the scripture class I took as a seminarian in 1965} has said, “If we cannot know from the New Testament that Christ totally rejects violence, then we can know nothing of His person or message.  It is the clearest of teachings.”  -- Fr. John L. McKenzie S.J.


We must be about teaching and ministering to God’s merciful nonviolent love of friends, and yes, enemies.  We should be working and praying for our young people to never be involved in war, in the military science of killing people.   Instead, well-prepared national and international and mission service should be a requirement for all faithful citizens, but we must begin to put away the sword as Jesus told us when He took up His cross.  Out-violencing the enemy never brings peace.

There is a craziness, anti-god inside every person on earth’s brain, ready to take over.  Its name is fear.  Feed it, and it will.  Feed mercy, and the true God is always with you.

Christian heroism is to not engage in the violent fight, but to create and offer healing remedy of the conflict.  Undeniably there is often great physical risk in not seeking instead the most powerful weapons.  Yet this is the spiritual path promised, to the salvation that conquers death. 

From Ande's backyard garden

Jesus never justified violence as His way.  In recent gospel readings He is Eucharist with us, the sustaining bread of life.  He walks body and soul with us.  Incorporating Him moment to moment we can meet all life’s conflicts and challenges without resorting to that ultimate human tragedy—killing another.  Neither war, nor abortion, will end, nor evangelization succeed until we, with our Savior, renounce justified violence.

The Last Supper- by Bohdan Piasecki



Monday, August 3, 2015

CALL FOR SUB SUPPORT & HIROSHIMA CANDLELIGHTS ON WATER

Second Biannual Request for Support Subscriptions –-- Rather than monetizing the space with disruptive ads, this is a request for support subscriptions of $10 per year made by check sent to this address—Michael McCarthy, Faith Perspective on War & Peace, 2714 Stone St., Port Huron, MI  48060 [checks to my name with FPWP in the memo].   Thank you.


Working independently and without staff since inception on Faith Perspective on War & Peace these past five plus years leads me to attempt a new business model. Writing and working for peace should have some hope of making a small profit in our society. But incomes have thus far been significantly smaller than expenses. I’d like to now merge an old technology with this new one.  Money by mail, for these messages by internet.

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At seventy years since these exploded into our world, its time to banish these demons.  They generate total disrespect for all life.   We nations that have them, possess many times over the number sufficient to end all the biologically advanced life on this planet.  What a blasphemy against our creator God, and a violation of the First Commandment, as they are certainly "strange gods" we entrust our lives to.
Instead---
Candle lantern commemoration of ancestors, and the first atomic bombing--Hiroshima
photo by Kim Kung Hoon, Reuters
From a Pax Christi Austin, TX 2007 ceremony
From an earlier Port Huron ceremony

An invitation, during our parish Franz Jagerstatter Prayer Novena for the End of War
CANDLELIGHTS ON THE RIVER
FOR PEACE AND DISARMAMENT
Thursday, August 6th, Year 2015
A prayer vigil in commemoration of all those who have died in all wars
For our ancestors, our children, and even our enemies
To commit ourselves to put an end to war
On the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima
So that future generations may live in peace
Come down to the river to pray
For conversion from the arms race, on the banks of the St. Clair River, at the new River Walk in Port Huron {midway down the walk at the sturgeon sculpture reef barriers}

At 9:15 PM, Thursday, August 6, 2015

 “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of is scientists, the hopes of its children…This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
--President Dwight D. Eisenhower

"After the passage of nearly four [now seven] decades and a concomitant growth in our understanding of the ever growing horror of nuclear war, we must shape the climate of opinion which will make it possible for our country to express profound sorrow over the atomic bombing in 1945. Without that sorrow, there is no possibility of finding a way to repudiate future use of nuclear weapons…"
The U. S. Catholic Bishops, "The Challenge of Peace" pastoral letter of 1983 [Sec 302]

Monday, July 27, 2015

HOLY COMMUNION--A SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY THAT KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES


There is so much injustice in our communities that confronts us daily, and the violence between rich and poor which persistently plagues us throughout the world.   Evil—manifest pride and greed, no matter the disguise.   How can we bear it, how can we conquer it?


A small but infinitely powerful event happens at each and every Sunday and daily mass.  The joy of Holy Communion instantly unites us with Jesus, in the child refugee from war in the Middle East, or from drug gangs in Central America, the child abused by teacher, priest, parent, or coach; all the men and women hated and shunned from justice and job because of race or class; and certainly the members of our own families, those loved--and those disaffected.  As all these through baptism of desire receive Jesus into their souls in mystical eucharist also, we become one in pain, purpose, and present moment, and the hope of mutual salvation.


In this spiritual community beyond human knowledge, all are welcome—no barriers.  One has only to ask for forgiveness, and take part in the forgiving one another.   Justice will grow out of telling the truth, and if we want the real peace promised by God, we will work for justice, as we pray the prayer Jesus taught us.


One person who prayed that often, and to the hour of his death was Blessed Franz Jagerstatter.  Next week we begin a Novena of Prayer with him, who would not fight Hitler’s wars, for the end of all wars.

{For a short history of Franz' life, a family man's refusal to take part in Hitler's unjust wars, it can be read in my July 29, 2011 web article  or  K of C version of this linked here.}

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Yearly Novena of Prayer, at our Holy Trinity parish Port Huron, MI in 2008—August 1st to August 9th, the day of his execution in 1943 by Nazi government, because he would not fight in Hitler’s wars.
The prayer below is prayed at all our parish gatherings and liturgies for these nine days.  We pray for respect for all life.   And we pray Jesus to free us from our mandates that support the disastrous violence of war. 
PRAYER FOR INTERCESSION OF BLESSED FRANZ JAGERSTATTER--FOR THE END OF OUR WARS IN IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, SYRIA, SUDAN, LIBYA, YEMEN, MEXICAN DRUG WARS, UKRAINE & ALL WARS

Lord Jesus Christ,               
You filled your servant Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter
with a deep love for you, his family and
all people.
During a time of contempt for God and
humankind you bestowed on him
unerring discernment and integrity.
In faith, he followed his conscience, and
said a decisive NO to the Nazi regime
and unjust war.
Thus he sacrificed his life.
We pray that you may glorify your
servant Franz, so that many people may
be encouraged by him and grow in love
for you and all people.
May his example shine out in our time,
and may you grant all people the
strength to stand up for justice, peace
and human dignity.
For yours is the glory and honor with
the Father and the Holy Spirit now and
forever. Amen.
     (Prayer from the Diocese of Linz, Austria)

Monday, July 20, 2015

ORDER IN THE COURT—THE RICH, THEN THE POOR


One way to get to know what poverty means in St. Clair County these days, is to sit for a morning in our District Court.   I had to do that recently with a friend facing traffic charges, and it is instructive.  As the 50 or so defendants in the general pews await the appearance of the judge, there is a cordial shuffling in and out, of attorneys and court staff at the frontal {beyond the bar} area.   They sit at tables and make last minute arrangements.


When the judge enters, the cases they handle proceed expeditiously and with decorum.  The 45 or so people left on the docket, those without lawyers, are next in line, given more scrutiny, and though the same petty crimes are being considered for most, there is a more severe disciplinary air in court.   Many have minor drug possession, or suspended license, or violation of previous probation, level charges--and most are unable to pay anything on the fines that are levied.   The judge remonstrates with them for not bringing money to court, and they dissemble, and say that they will bring some when the date set by the judge arrives.

There are a disproportionately large number of people of color in the group that waits—and black or white, by the clothes they wear, and the back-of-the-bus atmosphere surrounding the unrepresented, those without money carry an extra burden well beyond their offenses.


There are so many ways our justice system discriminates against the poor: racial profiling leading to arrest, unnecessary force during arrest, lack of adequate legal representation, severe sentencing guidelines for nonviolent crimes, incarceration awaiting trial because unable to make bail, doing time in jail because of being unable to pay fines, …



nstead of the mock trials that are staged for our local high school students to teach about our justice system, much better to have them, in small unobtrusive groups, attend a morning’s court session.  Our courtrooms are public, and there is no better personal upfront instruction as to the good, and broken, elements of justice in the USA today.

The widening gap between rich and poor in our country puts us in danger of creating a permanent underclass, of the even greater institutionalization of inequality.  Those with money are encouraged to demean those without.  A major television studio now has a reality show that depicts the moral struggle of contestants, as to who needs $100,000 the most.   A leading candidate to be our next president has written a book with a chapter, “The Restoration of Shame,” in which he says, “For many, it is more shameful to work than to take public assistance—that is how backward shame has become!”  Shame for those caught in a cycle of poverty, but no shame for those caught in a cult of riches?

Robert Reich [former U.S. Secretary of Labor] on wealth & poverty in America

We live in the country whose idol is the “self-made man.”   Responsibility and initiative are definitely important.  But it’s your fault if you’re born into poverty?  Yet eminently commendable if you’re born into, or amass great wealth?   In an enlightening page of Bishop Ken Untener’s book [see below] of Lenten reflections this past year, entitled “Poor can be overwhelmed into inaction,” a day-in-the-life of the poor is compared to that of a regular Joe.  And there but for fortune go any one of us.
 
The benign view of the rich: their trickle-down, will lift all boats {without their need to pay any attention to the personal situation of the poor}.   The Last Judgement vision of Matthew 25 sees it from the completely different perspective of a merciful all-loving God, “…when you did it to the least of the brethren.”  The personal acts of mercy, for the ones we’re inclined to love the least, are the path to heaven.
References

Interesting videos that touch on the money and poverty questions –
Robert Reich – Inequality for All
Wall St. Journal approach
Ed Asner’s not-so-fractured fairy tale on the subject

Illumination by Kathy Brahney




Monday, July 13, 2015

U.S.- LEADERS IN BLIND ARMS RACE


In total military spending, we lead.

“The USA with its massive spending budget, has long been the principal determinant of the current world trend, often accounting for close to half of all the world’s military expenditure. The effects of global financial crisis and the post-Iraq/Afghanistan military operations have seen a decline in its spending, now accounting for 39% of spending in 2012.”

As the world’s foremost exporter of weapons, we lead.
The main importers and exporters of major arms, 2010–14
Exporter 
Global
share (%) 
Importer 
Global
share (%) 
 1. USA
 31
1. India 
 15
 2. Russia
 27
2. Saudi Arabia
 5
 3. China
 5
3. China
 5
 4. Germany
 5
4. UAE
 4
 5. France
 5
5. Pakistan
 4
 6. UK
 4
6. Australia
 4
 7. Spain
 3
7. Turkey
 3
 8. Italy
 3
8. USA
 3
 9. Ukraine
 3
9. South Korea
 3
 10. Israel
 2
10. Singapore
 3

And will continue to lead.

"U.S. Reforms 'Open Floodgates' on Arms Exports"

The blind lead the blind.

An arms race is a race to nowhere, and a theft from the poor, murders the innocent.
Passing out {the manufacture and distribution of} these worldwide weapons is equivalent to a massive sterilization and birth control campaign.  Populations control in third world countries by supplying them with the means to make their enmities go viral in violent mutual self destructions.  Insidious anti-family planning.  This war economy has no lasting benefit to winners nor losers.  It only increases suffering, and the stain on our collective soul, brings us closer to a bad end.

The Blind Leading the Blind -- by Pieter Bruegel the Elder - 1568

"How a nuclear near-miss in ’95 would be a disaster today"


In the New Mexico desert, at the site of the first test explosion of a nuclear bomb on July 16th 1945, people are praying again through the night, that we will put away this terrible sword.   May we join with them in prayer, on this feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and embrace the way of merciful saving light—brought to us by her son, Jesus.


Our Lady of Mt. Carmel--Trinity Atomic Test Vigil, July 16th – art by K. McCarthy