Monday, July 23, 2012


Our people have stood in the shadow of the mushroom cloud for 68 years.  As a follow up to the efforts of the prayer group in the New Mexico desert {see last week}, I suggest this prayer given to me by a devout woman parishioner of a local area parish almost 25 years ago.  A guest homily I’d given at Sunday mass calling for converting our tax dollars away from nuclear weapons and for peaceful purpose, had been received with some consternation, and she wanted me to be encouraged, that prayer for peace and against the bomb had been around since at least the 1950’s.  This was probably from an old diocesan newspaper clipping.


Almighty and Eternal Father, God of wisdom and mercy,
Whose power exceeds all force of arms and Whose protection
is the strong defense of all who trust in Thee,
enlighten and direct, we beseech Thee, those who bear the heavy responsibility of government throughout the world in these days of stress and trial.

Grant them the strength to stand firm for what is right
 and the skill to dispel the fears that foment discord;
inspire them to be mindful of the horrors of atomic war
 for victor and vanquished alike,
to seek conciliation in truth and patience,
to see in every man a brother,
that the people of all nations may, in our day,
enjoy the blessings of a just and lasting peace.

Conscious of our own unworthiness, we implore Thy mercy
on a sinful world in the name of Thy Divine Son, the Prince of Peace,
and through the intercession of His Blessed Mother and all the saints.

Queen of All Saints, pray for us.
Queen of the Holy Rosary, pray for us.
Queen of Peace, pray for us.

Also please consider study and action to end nuclear weapons, as available at the websites below.

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Physicians for Social Responsibility
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Federation of American Scientists
Peace Action

Highly recommended is this book by Thomas Merton.
Peace in the Post-Christian Era
Written pre-1962, but not allowed to be published until a few years ago.
Available at---

Monday, July 16, 2012


Our Lady of Mount Carmel icon by Kristin McCarthy {daughter of Fr. E.C. McCarthy}

Today, there are voices crying out in the hot New Mexico desert on this feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel .   Voices praying the rosary, in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for 24 hour vigil, celebrating mass, all pointed in the direction of the world’s first atomic weapon test, one mile away, on this same day, 68 years ago.  The first atomic bomb blast was blasphemously named, “Trinity.”  Nothing holy about it.  Persistent prayer and great grace are required to conquer radical evil, the megadeath destructive power of nuclear weapons.  We alone in this country still possess at least 50 times the nuclear firepower to end all life on earth.  No to nukes in Iran, Iraq … no to nukes in the USA.  Do as I do, not just as I say.

he prayer vigil effort has been going on for 30 years lead by Fr. Charles Emmanuel McCarthy, and the Mexican American community of Socorro {translates help, aid,  assistance}, N.M.  It begins on July 15 and ends in the evening of July 16, the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  Asking the Lord, through intercession of the Blessed Mother to help heal the wound of weapons of mass destruction, which we inflict upon ourselves and continues contagious, is the faithful group’s prayer.  These are not radical demonstrators but visionary Christians who see clearly the implication of the Gospel--put away the atomic sword, put away all swords.  Beat them into tools that give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty and heal the sick.

 brown scapula was given to the Catholic community of Carmelites, by Our Lady of Mount Carmel, some 500 years ago.   When worn it is to give one protection from physical and spiritual harm.   In this same way, the small prayer community in the desert from whence nuclear weapons come, wants to cover each and every one with the protective garment of Christ’s love.  Renouncing these ultimate death star weapons is a first step in converting--from choosing death, to choosing life.   Let’s continue to join with these desert pilgrims in work and prayer, and perhaps join them in the New Mexico desert next year.



From the Albuquerque Journal -- July 17, 2005
Illuminations by Kathy Brahney

Monday, July 9, 2012


George Weigel, writer and Catholic spokesperson for conservative think tank

Fr. Thomas Merton, writer and prophetic progressive voice of the Catholic church

Right and left, red and blue, by the grace of God we worship in the same pew.
From a column published in many Catholic newspapers to support the U.S. Bishops Fortnight for Freedom campaign that concluded July 4, 2012 we are told, “At this critical moment in history, there are two social justice priorities  {my underline} for the Catholic Church in the U.S.:  the defense of life at all stages and in all conditions, and the defense of religious freedom for all.”
 --George Weigel, senior fellow of the non-denominational Ethics and Public Policy Center in Wash. D.C.    --A strong proponent of the Iraq war, that was strongly opposed by Pope John Paul II.

Potshot politics 1

The emphasis is to be against healthcare mandates, and to be pro-life.  Mr. Weigel defines life to be defended and respected as innocent life, apparently as opposed to a designated enemy’s life.  This is a reasoned attitude that bases itself on natural law, and moral order [as he well outlines in the article], but it is only partial Gospel.  It avoids Jesus’ total rejection of violence, and love of enemy to point of death on the cross.  Along with Weigel’s social justice focused on our government’s challenge to conscience on matters of personal morality/religious freedom, we must also seek freedom from governments's pursuit of war at all costs, and its promotion of the overwhelming rights of the rich over the rights of the poor—which causes more violence & war.
Potshot politics 2

There are priorities to be considered.  Those urged below by another author, we neglect at great peril.  The countries of the world, ours the foremost, continue to have more than sufficient destructive firepower to abort the planet.

"Christians must become active in every possible way, mobilizing all their resources for the fight against war. Peace is to be preached, nonviolence is to be explained as a practical method, and not left to be mocked as an outlet for crackpots who want to make a show of themselves. Prayer and sacrifice must be used as the most effective spiritual weapons in the war against war, and like all weapons, they must be used with deliberate aim: not just with a vague aspiration for peace and security, but against violence and war. We may never succeed in this campaign, but whether we succeed or not, the duty is evident. It is the great Christian task of our time. Everything else is secondary."
-- Thomas Merton, Trappist monk who wrote from Kentucky ‘s Gethsemane Abbey in his 1962 essay, “The Root of War is Fear.”
The works of war have to be replaced by the works of mercy.  There is no other way to truly respect life, and to live the life of faith taught by Our Savior.

Until the day that our church bulletins have many more names in the column of prayer intentions, listed for those doing dedicated nonviolent service, than those in the armed services, we have not even begun to evangelize the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I invite you all to join in some way with Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy's Annual Forty Day Fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence.  It started on July 1st and lasts till August 9th.  An explanation of the fast is availabe by emailing me at  To receive daily meditations as below, please sign up in the "Keep informed" box, middle right of Fr. McCarthy's webpage.

"War is mass murder...Do you really believe that Christianity will perish unless it be defended by war? If we do believe that, then we have deliberately passed a vote of no confidence in Christianity. If Christianity needs this kind of defense then there is little that is really divine about it. We must conclude that a faith which needs the defense of warfare is not a faith which even deserves to survive.”     —Rev. William Barclay (1907-1978)    Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism,        University of Glasgow
It is terrible to see how Jesus, with open eyes, let himself be impaled on the drawn knife--and yet could do no other without betraying the thing he had finally, finally brought into human history: the refusal to use violence…Jesus was nonviolent to the core.
—Norbert Lohfink, SJ
                       Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at the Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule    Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

"Jesus told His disciples to love their enemies; He did not tell them to be good citizens."
                   —Rev. John L. McKenzie,  Scripture scholar, Claremont, CA.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Those in this country who are shouting out against the small healthcare reforms of Obamacare {and any tax policies which favor public needs, over personal corporate gains of the 1% wealthy} need to take a soul-searching look at the Gospel.  It is those who serve their neighbors who will find the kingdom of God.  Christians especially, moral majority or minority, must focus on measures that feed the hungry, heal the sick etc., not those that maximize profits.  God helps them who help themselves, but not others, is not found in the Gospel. {See Mt 25}  God is not mandating serving the common good, but he will expect it.

Obamacare at its heart takes small steps to make healthcare available to more people and charges the whole community with making this possible.  Insurance companies and their shareholders will now be made to re-distribute back to their policy-holders {and many who never had policies} some of the more than seven-fold profit gains of the past 20 plus years.  The obverse coin percent of their total policy incomes they can pocket as profit and administrative, went from 3% to over 20%.  This compares to the remaining percent of healthcare services delivered that they have cryptically named a medical loss ratio.  See Moyers Report at .  
The area in blue is what health insurance companies and their stockholders term their medical "loss"

The recent Supreme Court decision just makes it legal to impose more order and responsibilities on the private medical insurance companies.  True believer Christian conservatives are supposed to be outraged about this slight turn towards “visiting the sick”—healing more of the sick?  Fortunately most true believers  won’t buy the hype.

Liberals as well as conservatives share in the charades.  Also in this week’s past news was some liberal praise for preserving a lower interest rate on college student loans.  In fact the legislation recently passed is part of a year-long program that will cost students over 18 billion in clever claw-backs of government sponsored loan availability and benefit provisions.  This legislation is actually part of the budget cuts that Congress has been increasingly imposing—not the government coming to the rescue of students as advertized.  There has been not a real savings to student loans costs—but only the prevention of a doubling back to previous loan interest rates, while new loan measures have been imposed that overwhelm these savings.  This is well documented in a 6-30-12 NPR report .

Both parties in the same game

The problem here is that the powerful government and corporate interests are engaged in a giant shell game with the American people.  As far as vital public services such as health, education, security, and democracy itself are concerned, it’s now you see it, now you don’t.  The right hand is not to know what the left hand is doing.  There has been, an organized effort by both sides {but better leveraged by the corporate sponsors of the nominal conservatives} to win at all costs, by any means necessary. 

Jesus is not kidding when He says “Woe to you rich…” LK 6:24   In this most wealthy country in the world, it’s not just the 1%, but many others, all of us, that must take to heart the admonition.  We’re not really talking about balancing the budget, but about balancing the most powerful people’s lifestyle--upon the backs of whom?  Look in our ghettos, in lines of unemployed.  Look at the ravaged citizens of the world’s oil & resource wars.  You’ll not often see their images.  Rarer still will be your really meeting them face to face.   Then how will we recognize Jesus at the last judgment?


May she rest in peace, close to God,

Ande's mom, Olive Gaines O'Shea, 7/18/1924 -- 6/29/2012