Thursday, April 17, 2008

War, Peace, Truth, and the Pope

'Everybody knows' that the Pope is very opposed to the war in Iraq, so American Catholics should be against the war.

Here's a sample of this belief: "Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, appeals to many Catholics because he's pro-life and has a moderate stance on immigration. Yet his willingness to remain in Iraq for '100 years' is at odds with the church's opposition to the war." ("Behind the Scenes: Watch for political fallout from pope's visit" CNN (April 16, 2008))

(A somewhat more fact-based assessment of McCain's statement is in "An Endless War in Iraq: Reality Check" Another War-on-Terror Blog (April 2, 2008).)

Flash! Pope Doesn't Like War, States Moral Principles

My problem has been finding someplace where the Pope actually said "out now," "no blood for oil," or some similar remark.

This, however, came pretty close:

"VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict lamented on Sunday the killing of an Iraqi priest during a drive-by shooting in Baghdad, the latest attack on Iraq's Christian community.

"Adel Yousif of the Syrian Orthodox Church was killed on Saturday near his home in central Baghdad's Karrada district.

" '(The Pope) prays that all people will follow the ways of peace in order to build a just and tolerant society in the beloved land of Iraq," the Vatican said in a telegram, signed by Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone." (Pope laments killing of Iraqi priest" Reuters (April 6, 2008))

Since he arrived in America, the clearest anti-Iraq-war sentiment I've heard from the Pope was in the Holy Father's closing words outside the White House, yesterday.

"Mr. President, dear friends: as I begin my visit to the United States, I express once more my gratitude for your invitation, my joy to be in your midst, and my fervent prayers that Almighty God will confirm this nation and its people in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace. God bless America!" ("Address of Pope Benedict XVI at the White House Welcoming Ceremony" EWTN (April 16, 2008))

Pope Benedict XVI is able to make clear statements, although his style is far from that of an American televangelist: "Among the countersigns to the Gospel of life found in America and elsewhere is one that causes deep shame: the sexual abuse of minors. Many of you have spoken to me of the enormous pain that your communities have suffered when clerics have betrayed their priestly obligations and duties by such gravely immoral behavior." ("Address to the Bishops of the United States" EWTN (April 16, 2008))

I think it's pretty obvious that Pope Benedict XVI doesn't like war. However, that's not quite the same as 'opposing America's involvement it Iraq.' The Pope has, and will continue to, tell national leaders what they must consider when making decisions about war and peace. (See "The Pope Comes to America: A Prediction in a Very Catholic Post" (April 13, 2008).)

All the News We Feel Like Printing

I'm impressed, but not surprised, at American news media concentrating on the Pope's assumed anti-administration stance: while virtually ignoring another aspect of the Catholic Church's teaching, and Congressional reaction. It popped up in "Resolution Welcoming Pope Hits Abortion Snag in Congress Before Passing" FOXNews (April 17 2008):

"... Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., crafted a resolution 'Welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to the United States and recognizing the unique insights his moral and spiritual reflections bring to the world stage.' "

That resolution contained offensive language. California's Barbara Boxer, with the help of colleagues from both parties, delayed the bill for three days, trying to "find a compromise." They were, finally, able to create a Congressionally correct version of the resolution.
  • Original
    "Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out for the weak and vulnerable, witnessing to the value of each and every human life."
  • Congressionally correct version
    "Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out for the weak and vulnerable."
Boxer and company corrected another line in the resolution:
  • Original:
    "Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has spoken approvingly of the vibrance of religious faith in the United States, a faith nourished by a constitutional commitment to religious liberty that neither attempts to strip our public spaces of religious expression nor denies the ultimate source of our rights and liberties."
  • Congressionally correct version:
    "Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has spoken approvingly of the vibrance of religious faith in the United States, a faith nourished by a constitutional commitment to religious liberty."
Much nicer, I'm sure: and certainly less offensive than those life-affirming, freedom- and [G-word]- celebrating statements.

Another case of 'all the news we feel like printing, I'm afraid.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.