Monday, July 26, 2010


Today I open with this request:
Please pray for 9 days starting Aug. 1st, this prayer for Blessed Franz Jagerstatter's intercession, to help finally end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for an increase in peacemaking.
[His story [my writing] is now published on the K of C national website. Just Google "Fathers for the Good" and click on Franz' picture in upper right corner.]

Lord Jesus Christ, You filled your servant Franz Jagerstatter 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 National Socialism (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 courtesy of the Diocese of Linz, Austria)

There will be a novena of prayer for this intention between Aug.1st and Aug. 9th [the date of Franz' martyrdom in 1943], at Holy Trinity Parish, Port Huron.
Again as last year, the parish is invited to pray at all its gatherings, and in personal prayer, these nine days, for an end to these wars, and an increase in courageous peacemaking.

Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, died Aug. 9, 1943--beheaded by Nazi regime for refusing to fight in Hitler's unjust wars.

The surprising question that opened our parish "stump the staff" fun night last week, was a war stopper. "A country can morally justify the direct killing of innocent people in order to shorten the conflict with its enemy." "True or False?" To our staff's credit the correct answer given was, "False." The opposing parishioners' panel, and audience concurred. We knew the answer, and the game [loosely in the Jeopardy style, and based on the Divinity Board Game—the New Catholic Catechism Learning System] went on, indeed in good spirit.

We all seem to know the answer, but what are the implications for our modern wars? One innocent directly killed is morally unjustifiable. This is true for both abortion, and war. Yet in modern war the calculation is routinely made of how many innocents will be tolerated casualties of a guided bomb's "taking out" an important insurgent on our enemies list. About the Iraq invasion, a former targeting expert who'd worked for the Pentagon in the initial "Shock and Awe" campaign said, the threshold ratio not to be exceeded was 30 civilians to be killed, to execute one high value enemy.1 There you have it--the morally callous thinking that is prohibited by the principles of our faith. Decapitate the leadership to end the war sooner, despite "taking out" innocents at the same time. The concept of "collateral damage" has been invented to obfuscate the fact of the certain unavoidable deaths of great numbers of civilians in all of these wars fought in population centers, large and small.

Since the time of Abraham it is clear that God does not want the violent sacrifice of our children, our young men, our young women.

In Afghanistan / Pakistan this has been one of the major issues in the conduct of the war, with many innocents killed in bombings and raids. Our armed forces are given woefully insufficient information on who is friend and who is foe, and more enemies are being created daily as more civilians die in Predator drone attacks and special forces missions. We might sometimes "get our man" but the local community is more deeply turned against us.
American soldiers near Kandahar carry a wounded comrade [and wounded Afghani?] to a helicopter for evacuation on 6-28-10 --wsj

" [Classified] documents were posted by WikiLeaks, an organization dedicated to public disclosure, shortly before the Afghan government said Monday [7-26-10] that "up to" 52 Afghan civilians have been killed in a coalition rocket attack on a village in southern Helmand province [last week]." 2 The Afghan government is using the 90,000 pages to further their persistent demands, over the past 9 years of U.S. occupation, that civilians be protected.

The ratio of 30 innocents that can be sacrificed for 1 bad insurgent, has not changed to my knowledge, since instituted by the Rumsfeld Dept. of Defense--no public report of any alteration in these rules of engagement. Contrast these numbers with the dialogue between Abraham and God in last Sunday's Old Testament reading. [Gen 18:20-32] Abraham bargains for mercy with God – Sodom & Gomorrah are to be destroyed because of their tremendous evil. But will God destroy the innocent with the guilty? Would God spare the whole evil city if only 50 just individuals are found? The bargaining continues by tens down to 10, and God agrees. If only 10 innocent are found then a whole city of evil-doers survives.

God's reasoning is in inverse proportion to the Pentagon's. Then with the gift of God's son Jesus, the whole calculus of war is subtracted. "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you." Mt 5:44

1 At 21 minutes into Act 1, Mark Velasco tells his story of being a targeter for the Pentagon. Stream story at [This is the only place in the media I've seen this discussed--worth listening to whole program]:


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