Tuesday, March 25

Not from the Onion


Moroccan publication accused the government Monday of providing unusual assistance to U.S. troops fighting in Iraq by offering them 2,000 monkeys trained in detonating land mines.The weekly al-Usbu' al-Siyassi reported that Morocco offered the U.S. forces a large number of monkeys, some from Morocco's Atlas Mountains and others imported, to use them for detonating land mines planted by the Iraqis.The publication quoted a highly-informed source as saying, "that is not a scientific illusion but a well-known military tactic."

A commenter asks:

Point of interest. Do people in non-Christian religions, or even atheists, struggle as hard as we do about whether or not any particular war is just? Is there a Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, Islamic etc. theory of just war? Since we are so interested in finding and appreciating the truth in other religions, maybe we could get some enlightenment from them on this subject.

Well, wonderful readers?

More on the Pope's words, from Zenit:

After mentioning the "difficult hour of history, when the world finds itself once again hearing the clash of arms," John Paul II said: "thinking of the victims, the destruction, and the suffering caused by armed conflicts always causes great concern and pain." "It should be clear by now that war used as an instrument of resolution of conflicts between states was rejected, even before the Charter of the United Nations, by the conscience of the majority of humanity, except in the case of defense against an aggressor," the Pope stressed. "The vast contemporary movement in favor of peace -- which, according to Vatican Council II, is not reduced to a 'simple absence of war' -- demonstrated this conviction of men of every continent and culture," he added. In this connection, the Holy Father said that "the strength of different religions in sustaining the search for peace is a reason for comfort and hope." "In our view of faith, peace, even if it is the result of political accords and understanding among individuals and peoples, is a gift from God that we must constantly invoke with prayer and penance," he said. "Without a conversion of heart, there is no peace! Peace is only achieved through love!" "Right now we are all asked to work and pray so that war disappears from the horizon of humanity," he concluded.

And the letter sent by Head Military Chaplain Honcho Archbishop O'Brien

Long after the hostilities cease the debate likely will continue as to the moral justification for the armed force recently initiated by the United States and its allies. It is to be hoped that all factors which have led to our intervention will eventually be made public and that the full picture of the Iraqi regime's weaponry and brutality will shed helpful light upon our President's decision.

Given the complexity of factors involved, many of which understandably remain confidential, it is altogether appropriate for members of our armed forces to presume the integrity of our leadership and its judgments and therefore to carry out their military duties in good conscience. Meanwhile, we encourage our military leadership in its scrupulous efforts to avoid innocent civilian casualties and to use no more force than necessary to attain stated goals. Now, more than ever, our prayers are with our President and all those associated with him in decision-making.

Today from Pope John Paul II:

The vast antiwar movement in the world shows that a "large part of humanity" has repudiated the idea of war as a means of resolving conflicts between nations, Pope John Paul II said in a message released Tuesday. The pope, a staunch opponent of the U.S.-led war in Iraq , sent his message to Roman Catholic military chaplains attending a Vatican-organized course on humanitarian law.

He said the course was being held "at a difficult moment in history, when the world once again is listening to the din of arms" and that thoughts about the victims, the destruction and the suffering produce "deep worry and pain." By now, he said, "it should be clear" that except for self-defense against an aggressor a "large part of humanity" has repudiated war as an instrument of resolving conflicts between nations.

The angel and the girl are met
Earth was the only meeting place.
For the embodied never yet
Travelled beyond the shore of space.
The eternal spirits in freedom go.

See, they have come together, see,
While the destroying minutes flow,
Each reflects the other's face
Till heaven in hers and the earth in his
Shine steady there. He's come to her
From beyond the farthest star,
Feathered through time. Immediacy
Of strangest strangeness is the bliss
That from their limbs all movement takes.
Yet the increasing rapture brings
So great a wonder that it makes
Each feather tremble on his wings.

Outside the window footsteps fall
Into the ordinary day
And with the sun along the wall
Pursue their unreturning way.
Sound's perpetual roundabout
Rolls its numbered octaves out
And hoarsely grinds its battered tune.

But through the endless afternoon
These neither speak nor movement make,
But stare into their deepening trance
As if their grace would never break.

The Annunciation

by Edwin Muir (1887-1958)

Inflammatory Question of the Day:

For those who have decided that the Just War Theory has or should be expanded to included the elimination of repressive regimes as a justification for war (because charity demands that we do what we can to protect the innocent), answer me this question, posed in a spirit of honest inquiry - which means I appreciate serious, rather than flip, responses:

What is the difference between that as a justification of war and James Kopp's justification of his murder of an abortionist?

Kos is wondering why the Iraqis haven't blown up the bridges over the Euphrates

(Be sure to read the comments for more theories)

Priest's words spark walkout

Rev. Gary Mercure told the congregation at four Masses Saturday and Sunday that the war in Iraq was evil, immoral and contradictory to Christian doctrine. According to those who attended any of the services, Mercure called for parishioners to not support President Bush, and said the U.S. should work closer with the rest of the world.
As many as 60 congregants responded by leaving the church at one of the masses, several yelling comments in the priest's direction and heckling him on the way out.

Clem LaPietra, a Troy resident attending a mass for his father, was stunned when Mercure began the homily."Father Gary, I think he went a little bit over the edge," LaPietra said. "He said how morally wrong the U.S. was. He told us to remember the Germans, and the English, and the Roman Empire. A lot of the older gentlemen got up and left. Someone stood up and told him he was out of line. There was some heckling."Rose Romano, a Wynantskill resident, attended the 8 a.m. mass on Sunday, the third time the homily was given. She claimed that Mercure called Americans bullies, and said the people shouldn't support the president.
Romano said the comments were so shocking she had to catch her breath. Three people directly in front of her left the mass immediately. "I was stunned. After a few minutes I was numb," she said. "I'm going to church for my own welfare and a place to pray. That's no place for a political platform."

Mercure said about three people walked out of that service, and said between 50 and 60 walked out of the following mass at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Mercure said he was talking about the Ten Commandments, particularly, "Thou shalt not kill," and knew that some of his parishioners might not be of the same opinion. At that point, Mercure said, he offered everyone a chance to leave. He said he also prefaced the homily by saying that, "we love those serving and want them out of harm's way."
While the war is a political matter, Mercure said it is a moral issue as well. He insists he was not using the pulpit as a platform for his own views, but as a servant of God. "They don't have to think the way I think," he said. "But as a preacher of God, it is my role to enhance life, to bring more life, and God's life, to people."
He also dismissed the idea that he preached anti-American sentiments or judged the morality of the president. He said he used the phrase "our government" several times, but stopped short of making moral judgments on anyone. He said it was also his privilege as a patriot to speak out against the war, and his duty as a priest to do so. Mercure said he received many calls Monday, most of them positive, thanking him for the sermon.

Troy resident John Browne was one of those who thanked him."I'm a veteran of the Philippines and was a prisoner of war for three-and-a-half years in Japan," Browne said. "The reason we fought over there is so people could do what they did in church yesterday."I went up to him afterward and said, 'I'm proud of you father."

(This happened in Troy, NY)


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