Monday, December 03, 2007

"Warrior Shepherd"

Michael Iafrate writes at Vox Nova:
Military archdiocese gets new warrior shepherd

When the news broke that Archbishop Edwin O’Brien was being moved from his position as head of the Archdiocese of United States Military Services to serve the Archdiocese of Baltimore, I was secretly hoping that the Church would use the opportunity to quietly get itself out of the business of serving as chaplain to the American war machine.

No such luck. Meet the new warrior shepherd, Archbishop Timothy Paul Broglio.
My Comments:
LOL! I guess the Vatican decided that the millions of people serving in the armed forces aren't the spiritual pariahs that some appear to believe they are.


UPDATE
Darwin notes that comments have been closed off at that particular post.

Also, check out this exchange on another Iafrate post, which includes an overt attack on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
"... the CDF errs..."

"I, too, thought the CDF's use of the words "preoccupation with the poor" was a pretty twisted variation on the Church's teaching about the preferential option for the poor, and I found it offensive."
(In fairness to Iafrate, he posted an innocuous memorial to the North American Churchwomen murdered in El Salvador in 1980. It's in the comments that things get "interesting".)

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75 Comments:

At 12/03/2007 10:07 AM, Blogger Darwin said...

Heh. "Comments are closed."

Always a good thing to do when you know you're already being an idiot and don't want to be called on it.

 
At 12/03/2007 10:49 AM, Anonymous BillyHW said...

I was secretly hoping that the Church would use the opportunity to quietly get itself out of the business of serving as chaplain to the American war machine.

Vox Nova is a Catholic joke.

 
At 12/03/2007 10:52 AM, Anonymous BillyHW said...

It really exposes the lie of the "we support the troops" left.

 
At 12/03/2007 10:58 AM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

My words regarding the military archdiocese stand.

As for the CDF comments... why don't you stop taking things out of context. Copy the entire comment and don't snip it.

 
At 12/03/2007 11:41 AM, Anonymous paul zummo said...

Vox Nova is a Catholic joke.

I don't think it's fair to cast aspersions on the whole lot. Sure, Iafrate may be a schmuck, but I find almost all of the crew to be pretty good, even where we disagree.

 
At 12/03/2007 12:04 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Michael,

I "snipped" for brevity purposes only, not to distort what you wrote. Besides, I linked to the comments. People can follow the link and read the quote in context.

Not that the context changes anything. Even in context the gist is still that the CDF is in error and that it has "twisted" the Church's teaching re: the poor in an "offensive" manner.

 
At 12/03/2007 12:39 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Jay and Mr. Iafrate;

Today’s (3 Dec 07) readings:

5 As he entered Caper'na-um, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him
6 and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress."
7 And he said to him, "I will come and heal him."
8 But the centurion answered him, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, `Go,' and he goes, and to another, `Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, `Do this,' and he does it."
10 When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.
11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,


The verses say quite a bit to me, but one thing it doesn’t say is that being a soldier is wrong in the eyes of God.

The day you can tell your local police to go home because they are no longer needed is the same day you can tell the same to the military. That day will only come when the Lord returns, but until that day we will still need to carry a sword, and have a police force and military.

 
At 12/03/2007 12:49 PM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Jay, I still don't understand why you spend time reading Vox Nova.

 
At 12/03/2007 12:58 PM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

All I'd add here is what I would have stated at VN if the thread was open:

God bless Archbishop O’Brien, all the military chaplains (but thinking primarily of the Catholic priests for the sake of this discussion) and those who rely on them for the Sacraments and spiritual guidance. And it would seem to me that if someone viewed soldier's souls to be in jeopardy by the nature of their vocation that they would appreciate their having access to the Sacraments and clergy.

 
At 12/03/2007 1:15 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

I read Vox Nova for a couple of reasons:

(1) The subject matter of the posts over there is relevant to the sort of things I write about, even when I disagree with some of what is written.

(2) It's a good and informative blog.

Besides, as Paul Zummo points out, it is unfair to taint the entire blog just because I may disagree with what a couple of the contributors there have to say.

 
At 12/03/2007 3:21 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Jay - Although you may not have "intended" it, your snipping of my comment did in fact distort what I said. And my comment was not long enough that it really required you to snip it at all.

I do find it offensive that the CDF document said Sobrino was "preoccupied" with the poor and it seems self-evident as to why this is offensive considering the Church's emphasis on the preferential option for the poor. If I were to say you were "preoccupied" with abortion and family/sexual issues to the neglect of the "fullness" of the Gospel, I imagine you might have a similar feeling.

Brian, I make a distinction between police and military.

Billyhw - I support the troops leaving the military. I have personally supported one soldier in doing so.

Paul Zummo - A "schmuck?" Are you capable of attacking ideas and not persons? Until you are, your comments are worth nothing.

 
At 12/03/2007 3:43 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

Michael,

What words you found to be offensive and in error does not change the point that loyal sons and daughters of the Church might find it necessary to disagree with: that you called the CDF statement offensive and said that it "errs".

Certainly, Christ told us that we shall be judged on how we treat the poor. That is no light thing, and I do not think the CDF means to suggest (as you seem to think) that this is merely something to be persued in one's spare time. However, it is possible for any area of wordly activism to become a "preoccupation" (one could indeed become "preoccupied" with abortion/family issues.) This is the Mary/Marthy dicotomy that Christ noted.

If the CDF believed that certain people had allowed their advocacy for the poor to lead them from the Christian work of ameloriating suffering into political/revolutionary advocacy that was not necessitated (or even in tune with) the Christian message, it might be quite right to describe someone as "preoccuptied" with the poor.

 
At 12/03/2007 3:52 PM, Blogger Dale P. said...

I can't read VN on any sustained basis. Sure, there's thought provoking stuff. But at least once per week, there's an inevitable eye-gouging post like Mr. Iafrate's hate-the-military bowel-voiding which confuses shrill reflexive leftism with prophetic annointing.

Compared to that Chomskyesque rant, MM's partisanship is welcome sweet reason. And it is.

Making mock of uniforms which guard you when you sleep/
Is cheaper than those uniforms/
And they're starvation-cheap...

Oh, and let me save you the pixels: Yes, yes, Kipling, imperialism, exploitation, British war machine, yadda, etc.

 
At 12/03/2007 3:58 PM, Blogger Dale P. said...

Mr. Iafrate has posted an explanation for his "no comment" decision.

Boiling down the white-gloved disdain, it comes to this:

"You mind-gelded Bushbots who have made an idol out of the false god patriotism are not fit to question my prophetic bona fides, especially during Advent. Go over to Pro Ecclesia and try not to bore me with your unoriginality."

S

 
At 12/03/2007 4:01 PM, Anonymous paul zummo said...

Yeah, Micahel. You are so right. A person who engages in namecalling really merits no response.

 
At 12/03/2007 4:14 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Darwin - One can be loyal to the Church and realize that the Church can indeed err at times.

Dale - That is a good summary. Thanks for translating into language your people can understand.

Paul - Calling names in an of itself is not the problem. Doing so as a substitute for engagement with ideas (what you seem to be into) is what I have a problem with. I was not attacking the "Cranky Con" for his patriotism, but for saying Nate has no appreciation for soldiering without realizing that Nate is himself a soldier. Doing something like that is idiocy, and I will call that like I see it.

Is there anything else? If so, please email me at schmuck [at] vox-nova [dot] com.

 
At 12/03/2007 4:16 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Correction: Nate WAS a soldier, and is now a conscientious objector.

 
At 12/03/2007 4:23 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

I agree about the name calling. Given my recent self-assessment over that particular issue, let's try to keep it out of the conversation.

 
At 12/03/2007 4:25 PM, Anonymous Policraticus said...

Vox Nova is a Catholic joke.

See, I just don't understand this sweeping dismissal. First, because there is nothing anti- or contra- Catholic about Michael's post. Second, Michael is but one of about 15 contributors. And third, Michael is the only one of us who commented thus on the new archbishop.

I share Michael's concern over the appointment, though on theological and historical grounds. For example, the understanding of the role of a bishop from the time of the Fathers would seem to be contrary to this appointment. Over the past centuries, the Church changed its understanding of the bishop and of "local church" without a strong theological justification. Can you have a bishop without a concrete locale? Can you have a bishop without a specific place?

I have no problem with military chaplains who are commissioned by local bishops. I am, however, ambivalent over the need for an archbishop, let alone the theological justification for such a position. Appeal to current Canon Law, much of which is subject to change and revision, is not enough in this case. This is an area of needed debate, and potentially a bit of pruning in terms of the Church's understanding of the office of bishop.

 
At 12/03/2007 4:32 PM, Anonymous paul zummo said...

Doing so as a substitute for engagement with ideas (what you seem to be into) is what I have a problem with.

I am willing to admit that I sometime hit post before I have reflected long enough to cool down and be more temperate in my remarks. However, I am pretty certain that I am able to engage in meaningful debate whenever the situation calls for it. Shutting off comments before anyone has even posted on a thread does not reveal that you are similarly inclined.

 
At 12/03/2007 4:39 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Shutting off comments before anyone has even posted on a thread does not reveal that you are similarly inclined.

If that were my standard mode of operation at Vox Nova, then you might have a point. But it's not. So it reveals nothing about my "inclinations" in that regard.

I just don't see the point in keeping comments open in order for you or anyone else to simply write "God bless the troops." Been there, done that. I truly think Vox Nova should be more selective in which posts enable comments and which ones don't. You seem to think that you have a right to comment on everything. You don't. You do have a right to have your own blog with your own rules -- er, "inclinations."

 
At 12/03/2007 4:47 PM, Anonymous paul zummo said...

You seem to think that you have a right to comment on everything. You don't. You do have a right to have your own blog with your own rules -- er, "inclinations."

I believe no such thing. In fact, I agree with the concern over at Vox Nova, and have nothing against a universal blog policy that forbids commenting. Frankly, it would free up more of my own time. In fact, if I ever had a blog that had high readership I'd be more inclined to shut off comments simply because I wouldn't want to devote most of my day to moderating blog comments. It just strikes me as odd that you'd be the only blogger over there to refuse comments, though for once I might actually agree with you, at least as to why you did it.

PS- a little late coming, but my apologies for the schmuck comment. It was uncalled for.

 
At 12/03/2007 4:59 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

It just strikes me as odd that you'd be the only blogger over there to refuse comments, though for once I might actually agree with you, at least as to why you did it.

I'm not the only VN contributor who has closed comments right off the bat. And I have done it once or twice before myself.

PS- a little late coming, but my apologies for the schmuck comment. It was uncalled for.

Apology accepted.

Oh, Darwin, just to be clear and to correct Jay's inaccurate post: I did say that I found the CDF document's use of the word "preoccupation" offensive. I did not say that the CDF document erred. A VN commenter said that and I agreed with his sentiments. I don't expect Jay will be correcting that in his initial post however. It seems to be his thing to chop sentences apart, take things out of context, and attribute the words of commenters to the author of the original post.

 
At 12/03/2007 5:09 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Michael,

In fairness, I did not attribute "... the CDF errs ..." to you. I specified that they were in the comments to your post, and linked to Mr. Conway's comment.

I've already addressed the "chopping" of your comments. I included elipses to indicate that I had done so. It is clear to anyone reading that I had edited down the full comment to include only the language that I believed was critical of the CDF. And, again, I linked back to your comment section so that anyone interested in the full context could read the comment in its entirety.

Just a note, though: when you say that you agree with someone's comments, don't you, in essence, adopt them as your own?

I've got to go right now, but when I have a chance tonight, I'll be happy to go back and include your full comment in the body of my post.

 
At 12/03/2007 5:12 PM, Blogger Dale P. said...

Policraticus:

Except that Mr. Iafrate made no such nuanced ecclesiological argument. Your thoughts (advancing real premises, as opposed to rhetoric, thus rendering them worthy of consideration) "shares" nothing with Mr. Iafrate's, except at a very superficial results-oriented level.

Mr. Iafrate:

Me and my people are glad to help. Happy to give your content-free ideological rant ("warrior bishop") the respect it deserved. Do give us a call when you show some inclination to regard people on the other side with something less than simon-pure contempt.

 
At 12/03/2007 5:15 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

I did not say that the CDF document erred. A VN commenter said that and I agreed with his sentiments.

Which is different... how?

Actually, I rather regret I included the loyalty dig, in that that allowed a neat side-stepping of the question of whether it is possible to be "preoccupied" with the poor.


One can be loyal to the Church and realize that the Church can indeed err at times.

That very much depends on what you mean by "Church" and "err" doesn't it? Members of the Church certainly act wrongly at times, or fail to have a complete understanding of the world. I would personally be highly hesitant, however, to say that a direct statement of the CDF was wrong or offensive. Partly because I think there's a value to obedience even when I don't like it, and partly because I think that the CDF is made up of people much more educated on these topics than I am, who tend to be very careful in their statements.

 
At 12/03/2007 5:40 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Jay and Darwin,

I am critical of the CDF's statement that Sobrino is merely "preoccupied" with the poor. I think that language does damage to the Church's authoritative teaching on the option for the poor. I think the CDF's reading of Sobrino is indeed wrong. They misunderstand him, and even seem to misrepresent him at times.

One commenter chose to express this by saying that the CDF "erred." That isn't the word I would have chosen, because the word is used in fairly precise terms in Catholic theology; nevertheless I agree with the sentiments he expressed. As I said further down in the discussion, insofar as the CDF seems to do damage to an important Catholic teaching (option for the poor) then they have "erred."

Dale - I didn't make a nuanced ecclesiological argument in my post. Fair enough. Was that my concern in the post? No. Have I expressed fairly nuanced ecclesiological objections to military chaplaincy in other contexts? Yes. Repeatedly. Nor is opposition to military chaplaincy among Catholics an unheard of phenomenon (see http://www.catholicpeacefellowship.org). Attentive readers of Vox Nova should be familiar with my "take" on Catholic social teaching and war and peace issues, so I don't the need to rehearse the ecclesiological basis for my positions on each and every post.

Darwin,

I would personally be highly hesitant, however, to say that a direct statement of the CDF was wrong or offensive. Partly because I think there's a value to obedience even when I don't like it, and partly because I think that the CDF is made up of people much more educated on these topics than I am, who tend to be very careful in their statements.

The CDF may very well be made up of people who are more educated than you on theological topics. There is certainly much to be said for deferring to their judgment. Of course they are careful in their statements. Of course we need to take them seriously. But the fact is that they are a body of limited human beings who, despite their expertise, have a particular viewpoint and are not immune to bias. Catholic theologians have a duty to engage what they are saying, to understand it, and even to critique it at times. Often the CDF statements do not represent the final word on a topic, but the beginning of an ongoing conversation. Since there are a few theologians who post at Vox Nova, it might be good to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that 1) they have a bit of training themselves and have an ability to comment on these documents intelligently, 2) any critique that they may express is situated within an overall attitude of loyalty to and love for the Church, 3) critique does not mean dismissal of the the CDF as a whole, or of the much needed role that they play in the theological life of the Church.

 
At 12/03/2007 6:07 PM, Anonymous Phillip said...

Michael,
You claim the comments section if off for Advent. Advent is a time for mortifying the self, not others. Perhaps you should do as other bloggers have done during penitential seasons and not blog.

 
At 12/03/2007 6:31 PM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

Blogs are free to allow comments or not to allow comments. I usually find blogs that do not allow comments boring. I often think the comments on blogs, and the debates that ensue between commenters, more interesting and illuminating than I do the initial posting. I enjoy participating in a discussion rather than simply reading a monologue. Of course it all comes down to the intent of the people who run the blog. If they wish to simply have the blog contributors proclaim their views no comments are allowed. If they wish to spark debate and hopefully create some light, as well as heat, on issues of the day, then comments are allowed.

 
At 12/03/2007 6:37 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

You claim the comments section if off for Advent. Advent is a time for mortifying the self, not others.

No, Advent's not really a season for self-mortification. It's a season of waiting and preparation, sure.

Perhaps you should do as other bloggers have done during penitential seasons and not blog.

Nah, there are too many good readings during Advent about the Prince of Peace and stuff like that. Lots of good fodder for bringing out the Church's peace tradition. 'Tis the season to reveal the ugliness and lies involved in war, and to pray that the Church will one day be unambiguous in its opposition to it.

 
At 12/03/2007 6:45 PM, Anonymous Phillip said...

Unfortunately that would cut off comments from others who know that the Church is firm in its teaching that some wars on just. Come on, turn on the comments so the truth can set you free.

 
At 12/03/2007 6:53 PM, Anonymous Phillip said...

Also, since peace is more than the absence of war, the Church has seen rightly that one can follow Christ in the military licitly. Thus the need for pastoral care of those engaged in the true Christian pursuit of peace.

 
At 12/03/2007 9:49 PM, Blogger Dale P. said...

Mr. Iafrate:

Since you are one of a large number of contributors at VN, it is unwise to assume everyone knows who you are and where you're coming from. I'm not familiar with your body of work and it took some memory jogging until I realized you weren't Michael Joseph. "Oh, yeah--the anarchist. The fellow who condemned the Knights of Columbus."

Your precommitments to that idiosyncratic European political tradition aside, it is a particularly odd witness to the peace tradition to condemn a pastor of the Church for the mere fact that he exists. No amount of context helps with that.

"Lots of good fodder for bringing out the Church's peace tradition."

Which, when you try to share it, will be completely obscured by your withering contempt for Catholics who fail to share your viewpoint.

 
At 12/03/2007 11:48 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Mister Dale P.

Since you are one of a large number of contributors at VN, it is unwise to assume everyone knows who you are and where you're coming from. I'm not familiar with your body of work and it took some memory jogging until I realized you weren't Michael Joseph.

It's also unwise to assume that I would have to make a nuanced ecclesiological case every time I make a blog post. It should be clear from the post itself, in a rough way at least, where I am coming from. Surely you're a bright guy -- at least enough to figure me out just a little bit.

Your precommitments to that idiosyncratic European political tradition aside,

My precommitment is to Catholic Christianity. It just so happens that I think when one takes Christianity seriously it should look, in many ways, like anarchism. I have no commitments to the European "tradition" (as if the tradition were even monolithic?) of anarchism. If anything I find non-Western forms of anarchism much more interesting. The most interesting form of anarchism, and the only one worth committing oneself to, is radical Christianity.

...it is a particularly odd witness to the peace tradition to condemn a pastor of the Church for the mere fact that he exists. No amount of context helps with that.

"The fact that he exists?" Work on your reading comprehension. My post was not very long, nor very complicated. No where did I condemn the man for existing.

Which, when you try to share it, will be completely obscured by your withering contempt for Catholics who fail to share your viewpoint.

Sorry you translate my insistence on the matter of violence as "withering contempt." I do happen to think participation in the killing of human beings is a serious issue, not simply one with which to amuse oneself on a blog. The Church should not bless, in any way, the killing of human beings. And military chaplaincy -- especially the formation of whole archdioceses for that purpose -- come mighty close to doing so.

 
At 12/04/2007 3:26 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

Just a little more background on the newly-appointed head Archdiocese for the Military Services, courtesy of the Boston Pilot:

“I am indeed privileged to take the reins from Archbishop O’Brien,” said Archbishop Broglio at a Nov. 19 news conference at the military archdiocese’s headquarters in Washington.
The new archbishop, who has never been in the armed forces, said he has encountered members of the military in countries where he served in the diplomatic corps. He said his primary goal will be to find more chaplains. Currently there are about 300 Catholic military chaplains serving U.S. troops.

“The greatest resource of our [archdiocese] is our priests,” Archbishop Broglio said. “Chaplains are committed to letting the light of Christ shine.”

In the new post, he will be in charge of the spiritual, pastoral and sacramental care of the 375,000 Catholic active-duty U.S. military personnel and their 800,000 family members; 200,000 Catholics in the Reserves and National Guard; 30,000 Catholic patients in 172 Veterans Affairs hospitals; and 66,000 Catholics in government service overseas in 134 countries.
As the statistics indicate the overwhelming responsibility of the archdiocese is for the personnel of the military services, both at home and around the world. As well as those who are in the care of the Veterans Affairs medical facilities. Equally though the archbishop has the pastoral care of some 66,000 Catholics in United States’ government services across the globe, many of them in diplomatic postings for the United States.
Archbishop Broglio is to be installed as head of the military archdiocese Jan. 25, the feast of the Conversion of Paul, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.


Quite a job -- let's keep Archbishop Broglio in our prayers, that he will fulfill his duties to the best of his abilities.

 
At 12/04/2007 8:03 AM, Blogger Catholic Mom said...

Jay,

I am a Catholic and a former Air Force officer. My husband is Catholic and a current Air Force officer. My oldest son is soon to be a Catholic Army officer. Needless to say, Mr. Lafrate's words struck a nerve. Rather than clogging up the com box, I invite you to read my Veterans' Day post on this topic.

 
At 12/04/2007 8:41 AM, Blogger Darwin said...

Since there are a few theologians who post at Vox Nova, it might be good to give them the benefit of the doubt

No, there are a couple of grad students (none of them in theology, to my recollection) who post on Vox Nova.

It is entirely possible that there have been some thoughtful theological posts there, but if so I have not read them.

Michael Joseph has written a few well thought out posts on philosophical topics, but in general the material seems to be political.

 
At 12/04/2007 10:29 AM, Blogger Dale P. said...

1. Then try making a nuanced ecclesiological argument. Labelling a pastor of whom you know bupkis isn't adequate. Wringing your spleen out sure is fun, but it's all heat, no light. You are right--your post wasn't complicated. It was nowhere near complicated enough, actually.

2. My reading comprehension is fine. Yes, Mr. Iafrate, the colorful portrayal of Archbishop Broglio as a cut-rate Julius II revividus--which is based entirely on the fact that his office involves sacramental care for Catholics in the American military--bespeaks, at a minimum, resentment for the man's existence. More so when I go through the VN archives for your posts in search of further context. Especially so when there is no other basis for the condemnation, and not the slightest hint of the brotherly love that is supposed to be a hallmark of radical Christianity.

Or do you have other facts which should lead one to concern about this particular pastor? I mean, I have problems with the way the Cardinal-Archbishop of Los Angeles does things on many, many levels. That's a far sight from saying that, as a result, there should be no such archbishop.

3. OK, you read anarchism as the logical position for Catholics to take, and didn't come to Catholicism from an anarchist background. Fair enough--I retract that. I don't remotely buy that anarchism is any such thing--original sin being the insurmountable hurdle--but that's another argument entirely.

4. Speaking of withering contempt and reading comprehension:

"Sorry you translate my insistence on the matter of violence as "withering contempt." I do happen to think participation in the killing of human beings is a serious issue, not simply one with which to amuse oneself on a blog."

The "withering contempt" described your attitude toward Catholics who don't share your interpretations. Which your postings here amply confirm.

 
At 12/04/2007 12:26 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Darwin - Three of us are theology students, two of us at the doctoral level. One of us is doing grad work in philosophy.

Dale - I didn't portray the archbishop as anything other than a shepherd for warriors. That's his new job description. My point wasn't even about the man specifically, but to say that I don't think the Church should be in the business of erecting structures that baptize war, which is what a military archdiocese is. It isn't that I have problems with this archbishop and therefore I think the archdiocese should be disbanded. I simply don't think the Church needs to set up military archdioceses.

Which is not to say that I don't think soldier's "deserve" the sacraments, as some have supposed. Far from it. Going to reasonable lengths to provide the sacraments to soldiers is one thing. Setting up a military archdiocese that deploys priests everywhere that the soldiers go, and in effect supporting the war effort through sacramental means, is something else entirely.

Radical Catholic Mom - I understand why you would take my posts on the military personally, but I am attacking structures, not persons. Indeed, my point in attacking the structures is because I care about the persons involved.

 
At 12/04/2007 12:47 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

Three of us are theology students, two of us at the doctoral level. One of us is doing grad work in philosophy.

Congratulations. Once you earn your PhD, get a tenure track position, publish a few books that are well received, and get a bit older, people will start to call you "theologians".

 
At 12/04/2007 2:20 PM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

Michael,

Which is not to say that I don't think soldier's "deserve" the sacraments, as some have supposed. Far from it. Going to reasonable lengths to provide the sacraments to soldiers is one thing. Setting up a military archdiocese that deploys priests everywhere that the soldiers go, and in effect supporting the war effort through sacramental means, is something else entirely.

Apparently the Vatican for whatever reason considers the archdiocese model the right thing to do, at least at this time and in this circumstance. Presumably, they consider it a reasonable length to go in order fulfill part of the Church's mission which is to sanctify souls. Now you say that you're all for getting the sacraments to soldiers yet you lament that priests are deployed everywhere that soldiers go. A bit inconsistent, is it not? I mean how do you get the sacraments to that 19 year old kid who was deployed to the mountains of Afghanistan if you're not willing to allow a priest go to him? Aren't you essentially saying that the Church should make no real effort for that soul - I mean, if it's within the Church's means to do so (and it apparently is), shouldn't She do it? As far as your comment "in effect supporting the war effort through sacramental means" goes, I think you're thinking is fundamentally flawed. The Church is supporting people (real souls in whom God loves just as He does you and I) sacramentally and spiritually - the policy of whatever state is inconsequential to the needs of that soul.

I get that you have your own notions about the way things should be regarding the Church, state (or lack thereof), military, etc. and that you consider folks like me to be predictable and simple-minded flag wavers, warmongers or some such thing, but maybe there is a little something more to us. Maybe we see the dignity inherent in all men, rich and poor, civilian and military, etc. therefore we find the sort of things you say (and the way you say it) offensive on their face, rather than because we follow some form of corrupted Catholicism.

One more thing, sorry, but a way to articulate something that has bothered me for a while has come to me. You seem to advocate this strict separation between Church ans state (not referring to the catch-phrase that we're so accustomed to, but where you would keep the Church pure from any taint by state or political matters [if that is in fact an accurate reading of you]), but it seems to me that by doing something like that we would end up politicizing the Church nearly as much as by instituting a confessional state. Here's what I mean, the Church has to function in the world, states are a reality, the people whom the Church is to serve are inherently caught up in matters of the state, for the Church to truly serve people it usually must cooperate with the state in matters where it can morally or efficiently do so. That may mean following civil laws, paying property tax for a church building, adhering to certain regulations concerning education and medical care to operate schools and hospitals, etc. If the Church totally separated itself from any interaction or relations with the state (even a state that the Church considers oppressive and unjust), She would be unable to perform Her mission adequately. I see the chaplaincy the same way.

 
At 12/04/2007 2:51 PM, Blogger Tito said...

Jay,

Ditto Paul.

What are you doing reading a Marxist-Catholic blog for? All they are doing is disguising themselves with one or two legit bloggers so they can sell their brand of socialism.

Just like the movie The Golden Compass is disguising themselves as a fantasy flick in order to inocuously sell an anti-God message.

Those guys over at Vox Nova are disingenuous to say the least.

 
At 12/04/2007 2:52 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Darwin - Ah, personal belittlement is your style. "Fit my mold, and then I'll call you a theologian." [Shrug.] Fact is, you were wrong when you said none of us study theology.

Rick - The only three countries which use the archdiocescan model for military services are the United States, Brazil, and Italy.

Now you say that you're all for getting the sacraments to soldiers yet you lament that priests are deployed everywhere that soldiers go. A bit inconsistent, is it not? I mean how do you get the sacraments to that 19 year old kid who was deployed to the mountains of Afghanistan if you're not willing to allow a priest go to him?

If my friends and I were on a backpacking adventure in Afghanistan, I would not expect the Church to set up an archdiocese for me in order to get me the sacraments. If I were in a band that was constantly on tour, I would not expect the Church to offer to follow my tour bus with a bus of her own just so she can get me the sacraments.

As far as your comment "in effect supporting the war effort through sacramental means" goes, I think you're thinking is fundamentally flawed. The Church is supporting people (real souls in whom God loves just as He does you and I) sacramentally and spiritually - the policy of whatever state is inconsequential to the needs of that soul.

I firmly disagree. The policy of the state has everything to do with it. You also clearly have not read the militry archdiocese website, or its affiliate site "Catholics in the Military" and the advice that these people give to soldiers.

I get that you have your own notions about the way things should be regarding the Church, state (or lack thereof), military, etc. and that you consider folks like me to be predictable and simple-minded flag wavers, warmongers or some such thing, but maybe there is a little something more to us.

I don't see you all as a monolithic mass of people, first of all. Some of you are quite intelligent and use that intelligence to support state policies rather than the Gospel. Some of your are simple minded flag wavers. You seem like a good guy yourself. I simply disagree with you.

Maybe we see the dignity inherent in all men, rich and poor, civilian and military, etc. therefore we find the sort of things you say (and the way you say it) offensive on their face, rather than because we follow some form of corrupted Catholicism.

That's great, if that is your position. I too try to see the dignity in all people, including soldiers, which is why I helped a friend get out of the military. I do think there are corrupt tendencies in the Church that see no problem aligning the interests of the state, which are often problematic, with the life of the Church. Catholics have a problem drawing lines on political issues unless it involves a fetus or gay people, and I think that's wrong. War is a matter of life and death.

You seem to advocate this strict separation between Church ans state (not referring to the catch-phrase that we're so accustomed to, but where you would keep the Church pure from any taint by state or political matters [if that is in fact an accurate reading of you]), but it seems to me that by doing something like that we would end up politicizing the Church nearly as much as by instituting a confessional state.

I'm not advocating a non-political Church. Far from it. I'm for a Church that embodies the alternative politics of the Gospel. A Church that does not open itself up to a "legitimate diversity of opinion" on matters of war and torture and the like. I am not against mixing the Church and politics, rather I am against mixing the Church's politics (rooted in the gospel) with war-making politics. The military archdiocese is a clear example of this kind of compromise.

 
At 12/04/2007 3:18 PM, Blogger Catholic Mom said...

Mr. Lafrate,
First of all, I am Catholic Mom--not the least bit radical. Secondly, in spite of your protestations to the contrary, you are attacking people not structures. Catholics in the military are not structures. They are faithful men and women who have chosen to serve both God and their country. I am sorry you believe one excludes the other. I wonder how many Catholic chaplains you have spoken with to form your ideas. I have spoken with many. Perhaps if you came down from the rarefied air of your academic ivory tower and found out what it really means to be a Catholic in the military, you would be less hostile to those in uniform.

 
At 12/04/2007 3:51 PM, Blogger Dale P. said...

Mr. Iafrate:

I thank you for offering an argument for your views in your last response. I got much more out of this than your VN posts.

From what I've read, I think your Appalachia posts are fine work and plan to study them in more detail later.

Ultimately, though, there's no real hope for further discussion on the military issue. There's nowhere to go where one side has already determined that the other is, however unwittingly, an enemy of the Gospel.

 
At 12/04/2007 3:52 PM, Blogger Dale P. said...

Important typo--it should have been "VN post," not "posts."

 
At 12/04/2007 4:01 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

Ah, personal belittlement is your style. "Fit my mold, and then I'll call you a theologian." [Shrug.] Fact is, you were wrong when you said none of us study theology.

Well technically, I said that I was not aware that any of you studied theology, which was the case until you corrected me. But you're right, I didn't know.

Call me a codger, but I think that terms of professional respect are best reserved for those who have fully earned them. I once made the very bad mistake of calling myself a "classicist" and talking about "my area of specialty" when in my last year of undergrad, and while speaking to researchers with Masters and PhDs. It was a foolish and wet-behind-the-ears thing to do, and I certainly wouldn't do that now.

Those who spend the 12+ years of their lives post undergrad degree to establish themselves as professional academics make tremendous sacrifices in order to do so, and it seems to me that they deserved to be singled out in the terms we use for them. There is, thus, a big difference between a theologian and a theology student.

 
At 12/04/2007 6:44 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Catholic Mom - Sorry, I thought you were Radical Catholic Mom who contributes to Vox Nova and who also has family in the military. We'll have to agree to disagree on whether or not I am attacking structures or persons. I have family and friends who have served and who still serve in the military, and yes I have spoken with chaplains. I am very much "on the ground" with this issue and am not in an ivory tower in the least. I do know what it's like to be a Catholic in the military, at least from my proximity to these people. I do not have any desire to know what it's like first hand. There is a huge conflict of interest there, and a compromised discipleship if I may be blunt. But it is not the fault of persons, but of structures, and of U.S. military culture and society in general.

Dale - War is the enemy of the Gospel, not any one person. Thanks for the kind words about my work on Appalachia.

Darwin -

Those who spend the 12+ years of their lives post undergrad degree to establish themselves as professional academics make tremendous sacrifices in order to do so, and it seems to me that they deserved to be singled out in the terms we use for them. There is, thus, a big difference between a theologian and a theology student.

I agree. There is also a difference between a first year undergrad and someone working on a doctorate. I'm in my eighth year studying theology. The point of this whole sub-discussion was that you suggested that CDF documents are not worth discussing if we have no expertise in the area of theology. My point is that we these documents SHOULD be discussed, and that people with some expertise should surely do so.

 
At 12/04/2007 7:08 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

The point of this whole sub-discussion was that you suggested that CDF documents are not worth discussing if we have no expertise in the area of theology. My point is that we these documents SHOULD be discussed, and that people with some expertise should surely do so.

Far be it from me to say they shouldn't be discussed. But saying they're flat wrong, and offensive to boot, does not strike me as the right sort of discussion.

The authors at the CDF probably have 3-5x your eight years of studying theology, and they have the positions to suggest that their writings are held to represent sound Catholic teaching.

In academia and in the Church, respect tends to come with time and track record.

 
At 12/04/2007 7:18 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

My judgment, after reading Sobrino (I doubt you have actually read him), is that the CDF has really missed his point. I think it is a matter of European and Latin American theologies talking past one another.

I stand by my statement that the one line in the document about Sobrino's "preoccupation" with the poor is offensive. They would never speak of Mother Theresa in that way.

I have not said anything to the effect that I find CDF documents offensive as a whole, not even remotely. In fact, the most recent one about the nature of the Church is a very strong document.

 
At 12/04/2007 7:43 PM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

God bless our Catholic chaplains, the bravest of the brave.


http://www.rtcol.com/~oakland/padresmoh.html

 
At 12/04/2007 8:16 PM, Anonymous Policraticus said...


Just like the movie The Golden Compass is disguising themselves as a fantasy flick in order to inocuously sell an anti-God message.

Those guys over at Vox Nova are disingenuous to say the least.


I got a kick out of this! This looks like paranoid McCarthyism in disguise. Nevertheless, no one at Vox Nova is a Marxist (or even a neo-Marxist, for that matter). One can be appreciative of certain aspects of neo-Marxism, as Pope Benedict XVI is, without endorsing or embracing the Marxist beast.

 
At 12/04/2007 9:18 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

God bless our Catholic chaplains, the bravest of the brave.

Er -- except for the ones actually doing the fighting, eh, Donald? Please don't diminish the bravery of our boys by suggesting that a bunch of unarmed priests (who are forbidden by canon law to be soldiers) are braver than they are.

No one at Vox Nova is a Marxist (or even a neo-Marxist, for that matter).

Agreed.

 
At 12/04/2007 9:43 PM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

No Catholic Anarchist, I meant what I said. The reputation that Catholic chaplains have for bravery is long standing. You might try reading Robert Graves Goodbye to all That, his memoir of his service as a British infantry officer in WWI on the Western Front. Graves the skeptic had little use for chaplains except the Catholic chaplains. "For the Roman Catholic chaplains were not only permitted to visit posts of danger, but definitely enjoyed to be wherever the fighting was, so that they could give extreme unction to the dying. And we had never heard of one who failed to do all that was expected of him and more."

As the page I noted in my prior post indicates, this reputation for courage has been carried on fully by American Catholic chaplains.

 
At 12/04/2007 9:58 PM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

I hope to live to see the day when American Catholic chaplains will have one of their ranks declared a saint of the Church, Servant of God, Father Vincent Capodanno.

http://deacontonysplace.blogspot.com/2007/07/fr-vincent-robert-capodanno-semper.html

His story is told in a magnificent biography, The Grunt Padre.

http://www.amazon.com/Grunt-Padre-Father-Daniel-Mode/dp/1891280082

 
At 12/04/2007 11:20 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

[Michael Iafrate] If my friends and I were on a backpacking adventure in Afghanistan, I would not expect the Church to set up an archdiocese for me in order to get me the sacraments. If I were in a band that was constantly on tour, I would not expect the Church to offer to follow my tour bus with a bus of her own just so she can get me the sacraments.

Presumably the "backpacking adventure" is temporary and short-term, no more than a week or two at the most; presumably if you were on a band tour, this would be in cities where you could find a Mass, attend confession, etc.

I fail to see how this even remotely compares to the position of a Catholic soldier serving his country.

[Donald]: The reputation that Catholic chaplains have for bravery is long standing.

Don't forget John Cardinal O'Connor of New York (God rest his soul).

 
At 12/04/2007 11:33 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

I hope to live to see the day when American Catholic chaplains will have one of their ranks declared a saint of the Church...

Donald, it seems as if the pacifists are ahead of the war chaplains in terms of sainthood... but keep dreaming.

Christopher, my examples were partially tongue in cheek, but I stand by my main point, which is how far do we go in order to provide the sacraments?

Additionally, your comment raises other questions:

1) You seem to presume war as a permanent feature of human life and that the Church, despite her insistence that war is wrong, should simply set up camp and, in essence, reinforce the war itself by sacramentalizing it. You seem to be assuming an ontology of violence rather than an ontology of peace, the latter of which is more in line with Christian tradition.

2) What is the Church to do in the case of unjust wars? Deploy their warrior shepherds right along with the Catholic faithful who decide to participate in such wars? In these cases, if the Church DOES offer chaplaincy services, then the Church's message of peace and her judgment on particular wars is undermined, further contributing to the phenomenon that we see in the Church today: that her moral authority becomes an utter joke. On the one hand, the Church denounces a war as unjust (although not promulgating this as an infallible teaching, like 99.9% of the Church's teachings), and on the other hand deploys priests to support the participants in unjust war situations. The Church has no trouble denying communion to those who are theoretically in favor of the unjust killing of persons through abortion, but follows persons who participate in unjust killing around with the ciborium!

 
At 12/05/2007 12:07 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

Christopher, my examples were partially tongue in cheek, but I stand by my main point, which is how far do we go in order to provide the sacraments?

Insofar as the Catechism recognizes the legitimate vocation of the soldier (good grief, how many times have we had this discussion over at Vox Nova? -- Dale's right, it's pointless), I think it perfectly acceptable that the Church should seek to bring the sacraments to those soldiers, especially if they are serving (honorably) and fulfilling the obligations of their profession.

You seem to presume war as a permanent feature of human life ...

Insofar as we live in a fallen world governed by fallen men, yes -- it may very well be a feature of human life. The Pope says as much:

I'd say that we cannot ignore, in the great Christian tradition and in a world marked by sin, any evil aggression that threatens to destroy not only many values, many people, but the image of humanity itself.

In this case, defending oneself and others is a duty. Let's say for example that a father who sees his family attacked is duty-bound to defend them in every way possible -- even if that means using proportional violence.


[Cardinal Ratzinger, November 2001]

and I concur.

... and that the Church, despite her insistence that war is wrong, should simply set up camp and, in essence, reinforce the war itself by sacramentalizing it.

Perhaps you should re-examine the vocation of the Catholic chaplain in a time of war? Here is Pope John Paul II:

3. Military chaplains, inspired by Christ's love, are called by their special vocation to witness that even in the midst of the harshest combats, it is always possible, and only right, to respect the dignity of the military adversary, the dignity of civilian victims, the indelible dignity of every human being involved in armed conflict. In this way, moreover, the reconciliation is fostered that will be necessary for re-establishing peace when the war is over. . . .

Military chaplains, inspired by Christ's love, are called by their special vocation to witness that even in the midst of the harshest combats, it is always possible, and only right, to respect the dignity of the military adversary, the dignity of civilian victims, the indelible dignity of every human being involved in armed conflict. In this way, moreover, the reconciliation is fostered that will be necessary for re-establishing peace when the war is over.


Probably at no time than in war itself is the presence of a Catholic chaplain most needed -- not to "sacramentalize" the war, but to do precisely as the Pope says. To be a voice of conscience in reminding those fighting how to wage war (jus in bello).

Speaking of military chaplains, here's a fresh example in the form of Fr. Jose A. Bautista-Rojas, a Navy chaplain who ministers to the Marines and soldiers at TQ and in the Ramadi area:

. . . The young Marine confided to him, “You know Father, back in the States, I didn’t go to Mass that often, but out here I find myself longing to go to Mass again. But I’ve been here for seven months and you’re the first Catholic chaplain I’ve seen.” Fr. Bautista spent some time listening to his story and asking questions about his family. Then he said Mass for this single Marine, in the presence of countless angels and saints who rejoiced with them.

As Fr. Bautista continued speaking with us, he described the fascinating story of a young Muslim woman who was entering the Church under his guidance through the RCIA process. Her story was moving. While working with Americans, this woman, who must remain anonymous, was touched deeply when she realized that the U.S. medical personnel not only treated wounded Americans and Iraqi civilians, but also treated wounded enemy combatants, including one who was known for having killed U.S. Marines. As she put it, “This cannot happen with us.”

This dramatic extension of mercy even to enemy soldiers caused her to take the next cautious step. She asked Father Bautista to “tell me more about Jesus.” . . .

 
At 12/05/2007 1:06 AM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Christopher - All you have written sidesteps the very contextual question of what the Church should do in the case of a war that it says is unjust. Your method, every single time, is to simply quote the universal moral norms of the Catechism, or to quote popes out of context, which will not do when we are asking the question that I am interested in.

The only thing the Catechism says in the line you quoted is that soldiering can be a legitimate profession under certain circumstances. That's ALL.

Also, the Popes seem to disagree with you when then reiterate, decade after decade, that war is not inevitable, "Never again war," etc. It is always a choice.

Again, quoting the Church's universal moral norms will not do when we are trying to figure out what to do in the real world. The universal has to meet the particular.

 
At 12/05/2007 2:44 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

is to simply quote the universal moral norms of the Catechism, or to quote popes out of context, which will not do when we are asking the question that I am interested in.

I quoted the Catechism because I often have the impression that you think the only "good" Catholic soldier is one who has gone AWOL or is a conscientious objector -- that it isn't possible to be a soldier and a good Catholic in reality. (Can you blame me?) However, I don't think the Catechism would address the question in the abstract and answer affirmatively if it weren't possible in reality.

On the other hand, I do in fact find John Paul II's March 2003 admonishment to military chaplains from which I quoted to be in context -- he was reminding them of their proper duties, precisely a time when the United States was engaged in a war with Iraq -- as he put it, "Your course is taking place at a difficult moment in history, when the world once again is hearing the clash of arms. The thought of the victims and the destruction and suffering caused by armed conflict brings ever-deeper anxiety and great sorrow."

The only thing the Catechism says in the line you quoted is that soldiering can be a legitimate profession under certain circumstances. That's ALL.

You know, I can only think of A SINGLE Catholic Bishop who has challenged the notion that soldiering in our present day armed forces (of the good ol' U.S. of A.) is illegitimate and an offense against God (Bishop Botean - who declared to Catholics in his diocese "that any direct participation and support of this war against the people of Iraq is objectively grave evil, a matter of mortal sin").

Yet, curiously, not a single Bishop has followed suite, despite numerous opportunities to do so. At the most, Bishop Gregory responded that:

"We understand and respect the difficult moral choices that must be made by our president and others who bear the responsibility of making these grave decisions involving our nation's and the world's security," he said. "We support those who have accepted the call to serve their country in a conscientious way in the armed services and we reiterate our long-standing support for those who pursue conscientious objection and selective conscientious objection," he added.


Why not go further? -- with Bishops charged with the "spiritual, pastoral and sacramental care of the 375,000 Catholic active-duty U.S. military personnel," you would think the USCCB would have been more vocal about the spiritual welfare of Catholic soldiers.

What do you think? -- It's a good question, and I don't really have an answer.

Also, the Popes seem to disagree with you when then reiterate, decade after decade, that war is not inevitable, "Never again war," etc. It is always a choice.

I happen to agree. (Two words: last resort).

 
At 12/05/2007 9:10 AM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

However, I don't think the Catechism would address the question in the abstract and answer affirmatively if it weren't possible in reality.

It does in the case of the death penalty.

You know, I can only think of A SINGLE Catholic Bishop who has challenged the notion that soldiering in our present day armed forces (of the good ol' U.S. of A.) is illegitimate and an offense against God.

Well, he said serving in the war in Iraq was an offense against God, not service in the military. But anyway, I would cite him as a bishop with courage to speak the truth. And as you know from Ratzinger/Benedict, truth is not up for a vote, not subject to a democratic process. The fact that few bishops speak like Botean does not make him wrong.

Also, the Popes seem to disagree with you when then reiterate, decade after decade, that war is not inevitable, "Never again war," etc. It is always a choice.

I happen to agree.


Then you agree that war is NOT a permanent feature of human life.

 
At 12/05/2007 9:54 AM, Blogger Tito said...

Policraticus,

When the bloggers and the commentators put a 'hook' on certain parts of what Karl Marx 'said', 'inferred', or 'implied' and try to connect that with Catholic teaching it is what it is, Norm Chomskyist verbal calisthetics.

Marxism as a political machination is gone. But Marxism as a philosophy is evolving and flourishing at Vox Nova under sweet sounding names such as Democratic-Socialism.

The smoke of satan has certainly infested Vox Nova and is choking everyone.

 
At 12/05/2007 10:31 AM, Blogger Darwin said...

My judgment, after reading Sobrino (I doubt you have actually read him), is that the CDF has really missed his point. I think it is a matter of European and Latin American theologies talking past one another.

I stand by my statement that the one line in the document about Sobrino's "preoccupation" with the poor is offensive. They would never speak of Mother Theresa in that way.


Just to provide context to other readers, the "offensive" sentence is in the context of a letter critiquing Sobrino's statements to the effect that the divinity of Christ is implied but not clearly laid out in the Gospel of John. The CDF statement said in its introduction:

It was determined that, although the author had modified his thought somewhat on several points, the Response did not prove satisfactory since, in substance, the errors already cited in the list of erroneous propositions still remained in this text. Although the preoccupation of the Author for the plight of the poor is admirable, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has the obligation to indicate that the aforementioned works of Father Sobrino contain notable discrepancies with the faith of the Church.

Taken in context it seems pretty clear that what they are trying to do here is separate the authors writing about they poor (which they are not critiquing) from his writing on the divinity of Christ (which they are). How this is offensive I'm sure all readers can attempt to discern for themselves.

All you have written sidesteps the very contextual question of what the Church should do in the case of a war that it says is unjust. Your method, every single time, is to simply quote the universal moral norms of the Catechism, or to quote popes out of context, which will not do when we are asking the question that I am interested in.

In a sense, I should very much thank you for this conversation, as the general drift of it caused me to go do some research last night.

As I suspected, the Chuch does not choose sides in wars, despite the fact that it stands to reason that only one side in a war could be fighting a just war (while the other side would obviously be wrong). However, the Church has historically provided chaplains to all sides that allow them, in order to minister to the spiritual needs of the troops and to provide the sacraments to victims from all sides on the battlefield.

Along these lines, I found this very interesting paper on Catholic chaplains in the Wehrmacht during WW2. It's very much worth a read, I think, in that it shows through the words of several individual chaplains (who hated the Nazi government yet served in the Wehrmacht as chaplains) the value of ministering to all humans, on all sides.

This is the way that the Church treats war not merely in partisan terms, but as a human tragedy in which those on all sides deserve mercy and help.

 
At 12/05/2007 10:48 AM, Blogger Henry Karlson said...

Tito,

You have a problem of being judgmental -- remember when you went out of your way to CONDEMN Hans Urs von Balthasar because of your misunderstanding of who he was and what he stood for? Have you not learned to limit your over-reaction and tendency to attack people for holding different views than your own?

"Smoke of Satan" indeed!

Attacking people who you do not know, on false suppositions, and using such strawmen to demonize them -- that truly falls under all kinds of condemnation (thou shalt not give false witness being one).

You might be upset that VN looks to the thought of Marx and his influence, and does not do a Manichaean dualistic approach to his work; then again, neither does Pope Benedict, who, in his discussion of the "sickness" that can happen to religions (posted on VN), he pointed out Marx's view was not entirely offbase!

 
At 12/05/2007 11:28 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

[Chris]: I don't think the Catechism would address the question in the abstract and answer affirmatively if it weren't possible in reality.

[Michael]: It does in the case of the death penalty.

You're right -- John Paul II has expressed his prudential opinion to that effect. At the same time, the Church has never formally denied (nor could it) that the death penalty may be legitimately used by the state in the administration of justice. As our present pope has said: "While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty."

Consequently, as far as the Church is concerned, soldiering in and of itself (as a profession) is not antithetical to Christianity.

I'm relieved we can agree on this.

[Chris] - I can only think of A SINGLE Catholic Bishop who has challenged the notion that soldiering in our present day armed forces is illegitimate and an offense against God


[Michael] - Well, he said serving in the war in Iraq was an offense against God, not service in the military.

Yes, but you were the one who berated me for citing "the Church's universal moral norms will not do when we are trying to figure out what to do in the real world."

But anyway, I would cite him as a bishop with courage to speak the truth. And as you know from Ratzinger/Benedict, truth is not up for a vote, not subject to a democratic process. The fact that few bishops speak like Botean does not make him wrong.

I figured you'd back Botean -- I'm curious what's your personal opinion on the USCCB's handling of the question of the war?

[Michael] Also, the Popes seem to disagree with you when then reiterate, decade after decade, that war is not inevitable, "Never again war," etc. It is always a choice.

[Chris] I happen to agree.

[Michael] Then you agree that war is NOT a permanent feature of human life.

When John Paul II or Benedict XVI urges "never again war!" and that war is not inevitable, I take it in the manner that Cardinal Ratzinger spoke of war in an interview with Zenit:

1) Everything must be conscientiously considered, and every alternative explored if there is even just one possibility to save human life and values;

2) Only the most necessary means of defense should be used and human rights must always be respected; in such a war the enemy must be respected as a human being and all fundamental rights must be respected.

I think that the Christian tradition on this point has provided answers that must be updated on the basis of new methods of destruction and of new dangers. For example, there may be no way for a population to defend itself from an atomic bomb. So, these must be updated.

But I'd say that we cannot totally exclude the need, the moral need, to suitably defend people and values against unjust aggressors.


War is not inevitable -- and we as Christians, as human beings, should seek every means possible to avoid it.

But no, I don't express the utopian hope that we can explicitly rule out the use of armed force as a moral necessity. (Nor, apparently, does our present Pope),

 
At 12/05/2007 12:48 PM, Blogger Tito said...

Henry K.,

The differenc between me and you is that I know I'm a sinner and make mistakes.

Remember pride comes before the fall.

Thanks for the critique.

Don't forget to mention that priest pedophile scandals while you're at it. All good liberals love doing that, attacking their opponent not the argument.

 
At 12/05/2007 1:55 PM, Blogger Henry Karlson said...

Tito

If you are liable to make mistakes, perhaps you would do well to overcome your own pride by judging others beyond your capability of knowing who they are or what they believe.

Saying "I am a sinner and I make mistakes" does not justify judging others and continuing to make the same category of mistakes time and again. I am a sinner! I make mistakes! Sometimes the same one more than ever -- and when I do, there is no justification for it, no excuse! It is a sin and a mistake, that's that, I won't defend it when I do so - I go to confession weekly for the grace of God.

Pride comes before the fall -- ok, Tito, what level of pride does it take for someone to go around constantly lambasting people, accusing them of things which are not true, claiming theologians are "heretics" without even READING their works? I would suspect a very great egoism is in effect here -- someone who thinks so much of themselves and what they think they know they are quick to condemn others. THAT IS PRIDE.

Now -- you also claim I am a liberal. What does it mean to be liberal and how am I a liberal? Please clarify. I suspect very few people you know constantly reference Bossuet, de Maistre and Pobedonostsev in their political discussions... and those who do so in a positive approach would not fall under the traditional definition for liberal.

 
At 12/05/2007 2:42 PM, Blogger Tito said...

Henry K.,

Your straw man arguments are insincere if they were true.

I have read the articles, especially the comments section which for an unusual reason continue to attract liberal and social-engineering Catholics.

You are judging yourself by merely commenting.

I've provided my opinion and so did you.

This will continue to devolve into a circular argument until you get upset and say things you don't mean.

So spare me your 'judge not, lest you be judged' diatribe for your future children.

If you really want me to change my mind, then pray for me if you are certain of your reasons about me.

Why don't you read today's readings and maybe you'll understand what I'm saying.

Go in peace. (that's a hint)

Tito

 
At 12/05/2007 3:12 PM, Blogger Henry Karlson said...

Tito

You made accusations -- without backing them up. To call you out on that is not a strawman at all.

I see you continue to judge - without justification for what you say. When asked, you sidestep away from it.

If you want to call me liberal, back it up.

And what "readings" are these?

Is this what you mean?

"And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

Probably not -- but those are the readings of my church. Of course, if you knew enough about me, you would know I am Byzantine Catholic. This isn't a big secret to anyone. So, to discuss and debate and make snide remarks and tell me to "go to the readings" without knowing who I am says enough.

You keep making claims -- without backing them up. Yapping away and just giving out labels if they question you doesn't do anyone any good.

 
At 12/05/2007 3:20 PM, Blogger Tito said...

Henry K,

I said you were a good liberal, not a bad liberal.

You take things waaay to personally.

I said I stated an opinion.

If you want evidence, it's called Vox Nova.

Hope you're ok, don't want you to get all hot and bothered over being a good liberal.

 
At 12/05/2007 4:03 PM, Blogger Henry Karlson said...

Tito

Define liberal and show how I am one. You keep making a label without actually defining what it means nor how it applies.

Once again, anyone who has read my writings will note, I am constantly referencing people like Cardinal Pell, Pobedonostseve, the Pope, etc. If this is your evidence of my liberalism, I guess it is ok, just let me know what this liberalism is and how we are liberal.

 
At 12/05/2007 4:59 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

You're right -- John Paul II has expressed his prudential opinion to that effect.

And didn't this "opinion" make it into the Catechism? And haven't the US bishops officially adopted it and called for the end of the death penalty in the United States, not in some utopian future, but right now?

Yes. Yes, they have.

Consequently, as far as the Church is concerned, soldiering in and of itself (as a profession) is not antithetical to Christianity.

Yes, you are right. And I don't suspect the Church will ever do so. But my concern is with the concrete world... if soldiering can EVER be antithetical to Christianity. And I would argue that, yes, there are times when serving in the military is contrary to Christianity. Do you think this is a possibility, in concrete circumstances? If so, when? Obviously not when the Church judges a war to be unjust!

I also find individual Christians serving in the military quite a different question than whether to organize an entire archdiocese to serve as "spiritual support" for war. Two completely different things.

I figured you'd back Botean -- I'm curious what's your personal opinion on the USCCB's handling of the question of the war?

Of course I back him. He had the balls to give pastoral weight to the Holy See's judgment on the war, something that the USCCB was not willing to do. The USCCB merely parroted the Pope's opinion, couched in language much less offensive to American ears. Pastoral guidance on this particular issue of life and death? Not from these shepherds. none whatsoever. Botean, on the other hand, took the war and the souls of those participating in it seriously.

 
At 12/06/2007 6:13 AM, Anonymous Ut videam said...

The only three countries which use the archdiocescan model for military services are the United States, Brazil, and Italy.

But many more use the Military Ordinariate (diocesan) model, headed by a bishop (not a titular bishop, like an auxiliary). I suspect that in the aforementioned three cases, the military ordinariates were designated as Archdioceses due to the sheer number of faithful who fall under their care.

 
At 12/08/2007 9:33 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

DarwinCatholic" continues the conversation with a very good post.

 
At 1/27/2008 10:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have know Archbishop Broglio for over 30 years. His heart is in the right place. He loves our beloved Lord. He is the first to admit he is not perfect but like every Christian he is striving each day for holiness even in the midst of great trials. Pray for him!

 

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