Monday, February 24, 2014


 Detroit Abandoned-- Anadolu Agency-Getty Images from 2-22-14 WSJ article 

The state government enforced bankruptcy of Detroit now has its plan to pay down its debt.  Many were its despoilers--most have left town.  But those with the most money want to be paid back the most.  
There is  need for clarification of information in our 2-22-14 Times Herald article, “Detroit files plan to fix debt, exit bankruptcy“ and deficiencies in the similar article in the same day’s Wall St. Journal.

From Wall St Journal article, “Detroit files debt-cutting plan”

Who are these “secured bondholders” who get 100% of their money back, while all the rest, the local pensioners, unions and investors, get only a third or less?     Could these bondholders be Bank of America, and other megabanks, those of favored fiscal status, once again guaranteed not to fail, even a little bit in their profits—off of their primrose path deals with ex-Mayor Kilpatrick, that were part of the fiscal damage to Detroit in the first place?  The identity of the 100 percenters is not reported.

o get some of the history of this latest sad episode in this city and our nation's dominant winner-takes-all politics please read Bill Wylie-Kellermann's article in the Jan-Feb 2014 issue of the Catholic Worker newspaper, "Detroit: Is Your City Next?"  {call 212 677 8627 to be sent a copy--the C.W.'s not online} Local democracy is under attack.  Racism is an underlying theme.  As Bill informs, "at this point every major black city in the state but one is under emergency managers. Over half the African American population of the state of Michigan is under non-elected governments."

And didn't the Governor Snyder imposed Emergency Manager, who will foreclose this bankruptcy plan on Detroit, previously work for the law firm that is now paid to legalize this bankruptcy, and whose major client is also Bank of America?  Shame on the State Government of Michigan.  Bring back public servants of Governor Miliken’s character who exercised some belief in in civility, and fairness.

Also see previous McWeekly articles --

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Monday, February 17, 2014


The hope is still, in need of much saving grace, to become a mighty league
a Catholic Peace Fellowship

4.  Have you ever given expression publicly or privately, written or oral, to the views herein expressed as the basis for your claim?  Give examples.
The response to this last requested item of my 1968 C.O. application [see previous entry for format] was as follows.

4.            I am a member of the Catholic Peace Fellowship and the Fellowship of Reconciliation and have signed their petition to the President stating my position on participating in the military.  I have explained my position to many acquaintances I have had, such as follow students and a businessman of the Jackson Council of Human Relations.

                I avail myself of every opportunity to discuss my position with others.  In a sermon at St. John Student Parish in East Lansing, I mentioned conscientious objection as one of the questions about which Catholics should specifically concerned themselves, and I have shared my ideas with a driver who picked me up once on my way hitchhiking home to Jackson.

                I have tried to make the influence of my religious convictions felt in every area of my life.  Responsible participation in politics is one instance.  I will vote for the first time this year and want to share my ideas with other so that my vote doesn't just reflect a simple concern.  My employment has always been a job in which I've had a chance to be of service to people.  The three summers working with the Mexican-American migrants in the rural parish of St. Nicholas Church in Capac, Mich., gave me the chance to share my knowledge as to how educational and vocational programs can be made available to specific segments of its communities.  The dignity of disadvantaged peoples can be strengthened by showing them how they can act on behalf of themselves.  I am now employed by the Institute of Community Development at M.S.U. to help distribute information which will help the people of different races and subcultures to understand one another better. 

I have also volunteered for many church projects.  I taught the summer bible school at St. John’s high school the summer after graduating from there.  While at St. John’s I was active in a young people’s discussion group (Young Christian Students) and in my first year of college at Sacred Heart I continued to be involved in this organization as a moderator for high school groups at an inner-city parish.  In these sessions our attention was directed at relating the beliefs of our faith to the events of our lives.

One of the most powerful experiences in my recent months was the political campaign and its climax at the Democratic Convention in Chicago.  I went to Chicago having worked hard for Gene McCarthy and with the desire to peaceably express my faith in his stand on the issues.  While I was there I felt a spirit of community with most all of the young people there, but putting aside the question of whose fault, I realized that violence could be the result of the situation.  For this reason I marched only with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference because I knew their policy to be one of passive demonstration and non-provocation.  Sharing the brotherhood offered by these black people and other members of the Poor People’s Campaign has helped me experience the way this belief in non-violence can bring people closer together and aid them in a true expression to others.

This cartoon, published in the New Zealand Observer in July 1916, satirizes the 'newborn conscientious objector'
The challenge is to eliminate this perception, and replace it with one's personal commitment
to follow Jesus the eternally courageous peacemaker.
“…it is in prayer that we encounter Jesus, who is our peace, and learn from him the way to peace.” #290 from the U.S. Bishops' 1983, "the Challenge of Peace"

There is now no draft--except the 'economic draft' that looms over the poor, and increasingly the middle class.  There is no direct threat of incarceration, except for those who experience the hell of war, after signing up, and then want no part of it.
For those who don't sign up, there still should be a conscious choice.  It should not be just an opt-out, of convenience.  All, rich and poor, believer and nonbeliever, should have a period of service for the common good.
Those who choose the way of Jesus over the military's mission, must enter a lifelong service to work for justice and peace by practicing the works of mercy in their families and communities.  As Martin Luther King said, "Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people."

"We cannot fail to praise those who renounce the use of violence in the vindication of their rights and who resort to methods of defense which are otherwise available to weaker parties." Vatican II, Church in the Modern World (1965) 78

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."  --JFK  

Let’s take the first steps into that distance, with commitments to fund peacemaking that rival the billions spent on the military industrial complex.  

Monday, February 10, 2014


To help follow the statements of this application,  this is the blank of the Selective Service (1968-70) form I filled out.  These four postings, the last coming next week, relate to that format. [click on to enlarge] 
 2. cont.     The basis of my convictions directly concerning the question of conscientious objection was established at the seminary three years ago.  There, in scripture courses I came to have a more mature understanding of my faith and the message of the Gospels.  In lectures and in conversations with fellow students I became acquainted with ideas, such as that of the Catholic theologian, Bernard J. Cooke, which give a greater insight as to how Jesus is both God and man.  From his description of Jesus as having to grow in the understanding of His own nature, just as every man has to, I came to feel closer to Christ.  I began to realize that He had had a very hard time deciding how to bring love into a world filled with violent solutions.  Confronted with violence He offered His love and I have decided to attempt the same. 

                It was about a year and a half ago that a priest friend of mine, Fr. Joseph Melton, asked me what I thought about the morality of war.  I realized that even with the specific situation in Vietnam, I had not, up to that point, given the matter much consideration.  Since that time I have written the Catholic Peace Fellowship, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Clergy and Laymen concerned About Vietnam and talked with people in the American Friends Service Committee, and read many of the publications of each group.  The pamphlet “Catholics and Conscientious Objection” was especially helpful.  These new sources I placed against the background I had received in the message of the Gospels and this lead to the belief I now hold.

3.            The tradition of the Catholic faith is permeated with men of God who had to disengage themselves from the dominant social system when to do otherwise would compromise their faith.  As far back as during the period of the Babylonian Captivity, in the Old Testament Shadrack, Michael [sic.], and Abednego went into the fiery furnace rather than join the cult of Nebuchadnezzar.  At the time of the Roman persecutions many died before they would alter their belief to fit the norms of the Roman state.  St. Thomas More lost his position and his life because he would not assent to the self-imposed church reforms of King Henry VIII.  The movie A Man for All Seasons presents a vivid portrayal of Thomas More’s struggle in affirming his faith.  All of these people would not deny their faith, refused to enter into contract with any system which was counter to their belief.

“The primary duty of medical troops as of all other troops is to contribute their utmost to the success of the command of which the medical service is part.”  (Army Field Manual FM-10, p. 195)  Service in the Armed forces as a non-combatant is still service toward a purpose I believe to be morally wrong.  Christ has said:  “No man can serve two masters.”  (Matt. 6:24)  In this case I cannot serve both God and the military.

              As for any moral sanction on ministering to the sick and injured my religion contains none.  It has always been part of my religious training however, that I should be involved in the work God has best suited me for.  I feel my vocation is in community development work and I would choose this over any other form.

Later I've found out that I wasn't cut out for, and couldn't make a living in, community organizer-development work.  So despite haughty vocational aspirations, I landed right back in the health professions--a physicians assistant for 33 years.


And blessed beyond all possible hopes, by my valentine of 35 + years, Ande Marie Gaines McCarthy


Pamphlet by Thomas Merton in 1967 I read then to help make up my mind -- still so much to learn.  How to put into practice what we more fully begin to believe?  The text is reprinted in a Casa Juan Diego Catholic Worker article found here, and we hope to look at this in our final Spirituality of Nonviolence course this Thursday.
{Cover art by Sr. Mary Corita, I.H.M.}

Illumination above by Kathy Brahney

Monday, February 3, 2014


St. Martin of Tours, who resigned his military commission--"I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight." 

In 1968 I signed the statement required for I-O draft status:
  “I am, by reason of my religious training and belief, conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form and I am further conscientiously opposed to participation in noncombatant training and service in the Armed Forces.”
My draft board had only seen Quakers and other peace church members, before my Catholic application.

             Here continues from last week, further answer to  Selective Service form, Series II, section 1:
 “Describe the nature of your belief which is the basis of your claim and state why you consider it to be based on religious training and belief.”

Conscientious Objector Application – Michael McCarthy – November, 1968 -- Cont.

Christ lived on the earth to explain trust and love. 

God gave His Son to the people of the world with the most important message of love to teach them.  When many would not listen to His words, He didn't attempt to institutionalize His movement and enforce an unenforceable code.  Like Barabus, and many of the revolutionaries of the times opposed to Roman domination He must have felt compassion for His people in their distraught conditions.  The crowds many times had tried to make Him their King.  Their Messiah was supposed to establish and vindicate a new political freedom.  Yet, unlike other revolutionaries, Jesus would not parochialize His commitments.  The poor man and Zacchaeus were both His brothers.  He could do no violence to one to further the cause of the other. 

Christ’s revolution is a change of heart.

Christ commands Peter upon his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.  “Put back thy sword in to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matt. 26:52)  Christ calls us to change our defensive reactionary responses to violence.  We are to love our enemy.  We must put away the sword.  He may destroy us but as long as the battle continues there is no chance for understanding.  Jesus was crucified so that we might better understand.  Complete trust in God transcends all human concerns, containing them, and is the only means to man’s full sharing in God’s life. 
                I must follow Christ in His refusal to compromise out of existence His message of Man’s reconciliation, by using violent means.  As the armed forces has for its express purpose defense employing violence, I cannot in conscience participate in such an organization.

[ This part responds to next section: "Explain how, when and from whom or from what source you received the religious training and acquired the religious belief which is the basis of your claim."]

2.            My parents are Roman Catholics and have raised my two sisters, three brother and myself as practicing Catholics.  My religious education began, and continues to grow with their influence.  They have given me those qualities which are fundamental to religious life.  The strength of conviction expressed by my father and the sensitivity and compassion expressed by my mother have both become parts of my faith.  As regards the particular issue of conscientious objection, neither of my parents profess the same attitude as I do, but both sympathize with my believing this way.

                I went to Catholic school for all of the twelve years of elementary and high school education.  In all these years of religious instruction, war was never advocated.  It was viewed as an existing evil that a man might participate in if he felt in conscience that this was his duty.  At the same time, many examples were praised of those who had rejected violence and war.  St. Francis of Assisi was always one of the most revered saints.  He left the army to form an order of friars, contemplating God’s love and bringing peace into the world.  All the saints were described as persons who had made love of God more important than any other worldly concern.

More to follow next week.


ow decades along from having professed these statements, I’ve still much to do to live them out.  Our parish is giving a Spirituality of Nonviolence course that closes at four sessions next week--the final one titled, “Jesus’ Call to Nonviolence, our Response.”  These are some of my thoughts as that approaches.

Pacifism is not passivism.  What to do to stand up for your rights when you’re being mowed down?  Noncooperation and nonviolent action and prayerfulness.  Be mercifully inspired, wherever that leads. The ultimate answer is belief in the Resurrection.  Our temporal life “success” is maybe a 70 year blip in a promised eternity of happiness—so we should live this brief moment in the way of Jesus who made this promise.  The problem is remembering this biggest of promises, within our smallness and strife, from moment to moment in our lives.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy