God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life. Jn 3:16
s we approach the celebration of conquered death, Christ’s Resurrection at Easter, contemplate the nonviolent love and mercy of God vanquishing the mythology of violence-inflicted as the way to redemption. The myth of justified lawful lethal violence is dispelled. Violence endured and transcended triumphs. Our hope, caught in the terrible trap of these ongoing wars, and a million abortions per year, lies in Jesus’ dying request, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Leon Ferrari's sculpture of Christ crucified on a US fighter jet.
[Now morphed into a Predator Drone--instrument of execution]
This season is a perfect time for new reflection, a new respect for life. For the Christian the message about justified lethal violence begins with common sense, and then transcends. You can’t teach that killing people is wrong, by killing people. It’s counter intuitive. Even a small child knows. “Daddy, if a bad man is so bad that he’s killed somebody, why do we punish him by killing him?” The flat adult answer would be, “That is how governments do things. They believe you can protect the lives of others by killing people if you need to.” This answer serves to justify lethal violence for governments and concurring churches, across the board—in our prisons, in fighting our wars, and in abortion clinics. “In God we trust,” is proclaimed, but we reserve the right to kill, in God’s name or feeling we act with God’s approval, if God doesn’t seem to be doing the job, and if our lives are too threatened or inconvenienced.
To welcome the Redeemer, to fully experience the power of God’s saving grace, we must relinquish our grip on the power of violent means. In order for the mind to release the will to kill, the hand must also relinquish the gun and the abortion machine. Or they remain constant reminders and temptations of this power to take human life, that we think a necessary part of our nature.
rom the series , Boldly Like God, Go Against the Swords, by Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy:
One of the great anti-abortion advocates of our time, one of the great Christians of our time, one of the great people of our time is Mother Teresa. Eileen Eagen[who lived and worked with her], says this: “Once I heard the religious editor of an international magazine ask mother Teresa if the taking of human life was ever justified—whether by abortion or even by war. She shook her head in the negative. He continued, ‘But your Church teaches that there can be a just war.’ Her response was, ‘ I can’t understand it.’ The interviewer mistakenly insisted, ‘But Catholics have to believe in that teaching.’ Mother Teresa looked at him sharply and retorted with a question, ‘Am I not a Catholic?’ She simply sees the presence of God in the unwanted, in the unborn, and in the enemy.”
In two months the United Nations will again consider a real commitment to nuclear disarmament and the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It will take 67 votes in the Senate to ratify the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty negotiated yesterday with Russia. Pray that we’ll have the wisdom to put away the nuclear sword.
“The taproot of violence in our society today is our intent to use nuclear weapons. Once we have agreed to that, all other evil is minor in comparison. Until we squarely face the question of our consent to use nuclear weapons, any hope of large scale improvement of public morality is doomed to failure.” --Richard T. McSorley, S. J. [taught at Georgetown University, died 10-17-02, family friend of the J.F.Ks, and my daughter Maura]
Illuminations by Kathy Brahney