Monday, May 27, 2013


Pope John Paul II

Jesus Blesses the Children - by Pacecco De Rosa 1630
On Memorial Day what do we remember?   Do we remember those we’ve known who’ve died on war’s bloody battlefield?  Those of us who were born after 1945 don’t have much recognition.  How many Americans have been in the hellish firefight?   There sure have been those who’ve died for country, in Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan.  We back home are more likely to know those wounded in body and spirit returning—eventually 500,000 of those from Vietnam {50,000 U.S. soldiers killed there} died early stateside, drugs or suicide, as lingering effect of the death they’d been part of.
The vast majority of us don’t know war, only get brief shallow glimpses, patriotic portraits provided by our media.  War is hell.  Certainly soldiers, and some civilians, have courageously given their lives for others.  And this is true on both sides of every war.  Meanwhile modern war kills multitudes of civilians who just get in the way.  The carnage civilian & soldier, since the Civil War all on foreign soil except for 911, has been horrific to the relatively few in our country who’ve witnessed it.

Listen to the words of Chris Hedges Pulitzer prize correspondent who’s been one of the closest to our soldiers in recent wars. {from Murder Is not an Anomaly in War}.
“The fear and stress, the anger and hatred, reduce all Afghans to the enemy, and this includes women, children and the elderly. … Robert Bales, a U.S. Army staff sergeant who {on a personal shooting rampage in Mar. 2012} allegedly killed 16 civilians in two Afghan villages, including nine children, is not an anomaly. To decry the butchery of this case and to defend the wars of occupation we wage is to know nothing about combat.”

What should Christian people, who want to follow Jesus, remember about war, the fight for God and country?   War is a morass of many murders.  We cannot judge the individual acts, but killing in God’s name is not of Jesus, nor is paying for others to do so.  When a country makes a call to war there is a choice to be made, between God and country.  These are hard words in our society, in any society, but this is the Gospel truth.  We need to continually read and pray the Gospels, asking Jesus to inspire in us the truth of His nonviolent merciful love.

o kill in God’s name, as if God desires or wills it, is serious sin, counter to the very nature of God revealed by Jesus the Son of God.  To kill for nation or self-preservation is blasphemy, takes the name of God the all-merciful in vain.  In the service of God and country, for the Christian—God always comes first.  [I wrote this paragraph a couple weeks ago—with great encouragement now received in the paragraph below.]

 Pope Francis, new pope of the Catholic Church, issued thepast week a fundamental challenge to the faithful.
“This ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God,” Francis said Wednesday (May 22) in remarks at the informal morning Mass that he celebrates in the chapel at the Vatican guesthouse where he lives.
“And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”
The pope speaks of a heretical blasphemy, dishonoring God by saying something is God’s nature, that isn’t.

Let’s remember who God is this Memorial Day, the God of Peace Eternal Love and Mercy, and become blessed as peacemakers, God’s son and daughters.

Illumination by Kathy Brahney



Monday, May 13, 2013


I am a member of Pax Christi USA because it means Peace of Christ, not war of Christ, and we as a church must follow this faith in its full gospel, no matter how difficult, in a violent war-dedicated society.  We are given the call and grace to do this by the resurrected Jesus, who breaths on us, “Peace be with you.”
As we look forward as a church to a new evangelization of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the first step is to fully proclaim that Good News.  Every person on the planet, no matter culture or background, churched or un-churched, must answer two primary questions—Is there a God? – And if there is a God, what does that creator and perfect being want me to do with my life?  Christians have been blessed with the answer of Jesus. 

If we believe Jesus is the Son of God, then it’s crucial to follow the advice of his human mother Mary, “Do whatever he tells you.” [Jn 2:5] The account of his life, death, and resurrection is truly Good News—there is life after death for those who trust in his way.  He has shown us how to live and die, and live again.  He never sanctioned taking another’s life as the way to salvation, but taught and did the opposite, giving his own life.
So there is a dilemma for those of us who want to evangelize others to follow the all-merciful all-loving nonviolent Jesus who loved even the enemy.  What are we to do about our support of a “just war theory”—war which kills on a massive scale.  How will they know we are Christian’s by our love?  We reject a just abortion theory, but we maintain the justified violence of war.  This is just a theory, and not an original dogma of our faith, yet it has caused immeasurable havoc and suffering.
Image by Tom Gauld of the Guardian
Who revealed to us the “just war theory”?  It was not Christ, God’s only Son.  Cicero, a B.C. orator and senator of the Roman Empire, was its first formulator.   Be willing to kill for the kingdom, take up your sword—give this a framework of ethical principles.  We find this thinking nowhere in Christ’s Gospel, only in a secularized script—materialism dressed up as religion.  For the first 300 years of Christianity, you could not be a Christian and be a soldier.  For more on this please view Fr. E.C. McCarthy’s presentation Introduction to the History,Theology and Spirituality of Gospel Nonviolence.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and we have words of inspiration from its founder, a more  contemporary Christian, Julia Ward Howe in 1870 – "Our sons [and daughters] shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
to allow our sons [and daughters] to be trained to injure theirs."
Another Mother's Day is celebrated without taking this proclamation seriously.

o do so, and to follow Christ, we must stop sending our children off to war, mortgaging their future by funding war instead of their education.  We must send them into service as peacemakers, to battle the triple evils-- racism, poverty, and war itself-- that plague our world.  Then on that judgment day we’ll hear God say, -- Blessed are you peacemakers, My sons and daughters.  All of us Catholics, Christians, young and old, are called to be active witnesses, risking everything for this truth.  Violence is never the way.  God is unconditional love.  There is no place for violence in the Holy of Holies, God’s heart of hearts.
A conservative's belief
Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Monday, May 6, 2013


 Let's follow the better medical instincts of this southern state representative & physician -- expand Medicaid to more of those in need of healthcare.  Someday soon,in this world's richest most blest country, a fully funded Medicare sysem should be available to all.
This week our local paper gave its editorial support to Medicaid Expansion-- health coverage for more low income Michigan citizens. On the same opinion page, the CEO’s of our three county hospitals wrote an op-ed arguing also that our Michigan legislature should pass a budget that will accept the federal funds for this expansion. The problem is, as State Rep. Paul Muxlow wrote me in recent correspondence,
“Unfortunately, Medicaid Expansion was not contained in the House of Representatives Omnibus budget for this year. However, there is still a possibility that Medicaid Expansion could find its way in the budget.  Unfortunately, Medicaid Expansion was not contained in the House of Representatives Omnibus budget for this year. However, there is still a possibility that Medicaid Expansion could find its way in the budget, following a conference committee, which will form to address differences contained in both the Senate's budget bill, and the House of Representatives' bill.   Doesn’t sound too hopeful.
Why wouldn’t our representatives want this federal money, to help in our state’s healthcare needs? They cite the eventual obligation that the state pay for 10% of the increased coverage [the feds still to pay the remaining 90%].  Let’s hope aversion to federal ObamaCare by our state’s Republican controlled legislature doesn’t cut off this access to healthcare for our less fortunate.

’ve worked twenty years as a healthcare provider in our Port Huron community, and have seen both doctors and patients struggle with cost of healthcare and ability to pay issues. We need to give low income people better access, and physicians more consistent reimbursement for care given {Medicaid routinely pays only about 50% of what the other insurers do}. My email response to Rep. Muxlow, who has been one who can put aside partisanship, is as follows.
Do you have any conference committee influence to put Medicaid expansion back in the MI budget? It would be good to see some Republican support for the common good--this increased access to Medicaid. It’s also consistent with the Right to Life we both support. Our Medicaid does not pay for abortion, and does pay for the pregnancy needs of the low income people we see in our Blue Water Pregnancy Care Center where I volunteer as a male advocate. I feel the budget should not pass until this Medicaid expansion is included. How will you vote?
I hope you, and your colleagues Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, Dan Lauwers, and Sen. Phil Pavlov also, along with all legislators, will find a way to vote positive for healthcare in St. Clair County, and Michigan as a whole.  As a scriptural incentive, it would be a good time for us all to read the Gospel account [Lk 16: 19-31] of the rich man and Lazarus at the Gate {whose sores never received care in his lifetime, except by licking dogs}.  The consequences for the the rich man never taking notice, were eternal.
Yours truly,
Michael McCarthy PA-C
Lazarus and the Rich Man ---        Before 

and After

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” -- Dr. Martin Luther King
"The truth is that it is impossible to interpret Jesus as violent. Violence is contrary to the Kingdom of God. It is an instrument of the Antichrist. Violence never serves man, but dehumanizes him.”
--Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Apathy, in the face of relievable human misery, is radical evil."
        -- Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Illumination by Kathy Brahney