Archive for Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Nation lost

April 10, 2007


To the editor:

This week, as I sat in the pew of my local Roman Catholic Church, I noticed my son praying fervently at my side. When queried, he allowed that he was praying for the captured British marines and sailors. Subsequently, in the general intercessions came an entreaty to end capital punishment.

Gone is the old Catholic Church where priests thundered out a call for victory in World War II, Korea and even (in the early days) Vietnam. Now we have a pacifist church at odds with its own tradition: Support for capital punishment has always been a staple of Roman Catholic social teaching. Both Aquinas and Augustine, doctors pre-eminent of our faith, supported the imposition of the death penalty as did the Apostle Paul.

As our faith has abandoned its traditional moorings so too has our society abandoned its traditional call to victory. One remembers FDR's demand for total victory in Europe and Asia, his imposition of "unconditional surrender" in the last war we can claim to have won.

Now we have a military cowed by fears of court-martial or being dragged before some international tribune. So it is that a British Man of War stood by while a rouge nation's thugs stole its crew members from under their very gunsights, never firing a shot, abandoning them just as church and country have abandoned their flocks to the peregrinations of modernity.

Our faith, our nation is done.

Matthew M. O'Connell,



just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 2 months ago

If the Man of War had interevened, many of those British sailors would likely be dead right now, not sitting safely at home.

Aileen Dingus 11 years, 2 months ago

I believe you meant "rogue" not "rouge"

Unless you were hinting at Iran being a pinko commie nation, then rouge would be appropriate.

prioress 11 years, 2 months ago

The catholic establishment, while they hide and transfer child rapists to save face, is naturally having a bit of trouble standing up for "what is right."

Bruce Bertsch 11 years, 2 months ago

The writer seems to forget that we are the ones who instituted "war cimes" tribunals after WW2. Of course he also seems to forget that our Commander in Chief declared "Mission Accomplished" long ago. If we won, why are we still there and why are British ships patroling?

At the end of the day how many of the British sailors/marines were killed? Oops, i guess diplomacy does work sometimes.

werekoala 11 years, 2 months ago

Not a catholic, but sometimes attend services w/the girlfriend. And I have to say that in my book, the catholic church is one of the few organizations out there with a consistent and non-hypocritical approach to life. They believe that EVERY SINGLE human life is sacred. The poor, the embryos, the fetuses, the terminally ill, the illegal immigrants, the convicted murderers, and each and every one of us.

Now I don't agree with all the teachings of the catholic church. Heck, I could even be down with the death penalty in extreme cases (if they could ever figure out a way to apply it consistently across lines of race and class).

But attacking the church for moral consistency? It seems that there are too many Christians out there who have forgotten that Jesus was not an American, nor a member of the Republican Party.

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

"The secular world cannot deny us prayer!"

It would be hard to deny you the ability to think internally.

trinity 11 years, 2 months ago

that letter spells out quite nicely why i have forsaken my catholic upbringing. sheesh.

paladin 11 years, 2 months ago

The Pope beginning to sound like a dope? He talks and it seems like he's been eating soap? You seem to be swinging at the end of your rope? Join up with the Baptists and find some new hope.

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

What a long, sad diatribe, evident of someone's complete misunderstanding of. . . .well. . . . everything.

Ahhhh. . . the glory days of traditional Catholic calls for capital punishment! Die, heretic pigs, die! Puts a wistful tear in my eye.

paladin 11 years, 2 months ago

The Church seems on a slippery slope, its not helping at all to help you to cope, unchain your mind and broaden your scope, don't be a mope, get rid of the Pope.

mick 11 years, 2 months ago

How much praying do you do for the innocent people incarcerated in Guantanamo? Why do the British want to provoke Iran in the first place?

Kim Gouge 11 years, 2 months ago

"They believe that EVERY SINGLE human life is sacred. The poor, the embryos, the fetuses, the terminally ill, the illegal immigrants, the convicted murderers, and each and every one of us." werekoala

Really? Talk to one of them about gays.

werekoala 11 years, 2 months ago


easy, son. I'm not saying that the catholic church is perfect, or that I agree with everything they believe. And they certainly don't condone homosexuality, but they also don't condone premarital sex. And I don't see the priest using either issue to froth into a fire & brimstone rage the way they used to at the Baptist church I grew up in.

Another thing I like is the emphasis on social responsibility the catholics put out. I really can't remember much if any semonizing on Christian charity to the poor and unfortunate in the old baptist church -- not near as much as I can remember the preacher going on and on about gays and sex in the media and the immorality all around us.

christy kennedy 11 years, 2 months ago

This letter's author seems quite a bit Roman (100 A.D.) - I'm not even going to comment on Catholic - and NOT a bit Christian. That he was surprised by his son's common sense and compassion is a sad commentary on their relationship. That he was dismayed by it is even sadder.

Kim Gouge 11 years, 2 months ago


So you're saying I misunderstood / misquoted you when you said "They believe that EVERY SINGLE human life is sacred.?"

MyName 11 years, 2 months ago

I'm so glad idiots like the man who wrote this letter aren't in charge of any battleships, anywhere. Iran and England are not at war! They shouldn't go shooting at each unless they have already started a war! It's retarded math to say that it's completely okay to place the lives of a boat full of sailors ahead of the number of lives that would be lost during a war with Iran. Especially since diplomacy worked, the sailors got home okay, and nobody died on either side.

Jesus was a man of peace so my question is this: how can you call yourself a christian if you are someone so bloodthirsty that you think it's a good idea to start a war at the drop of a hat.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 2 months ago

Among the many misconceptions and ignorant views of this letter, the best is that our military is hamstrung for fear of prosecution for war crimes.


Our military is hamstrung, but not by this. They are hamstrung by the refusal of the political leaders (Bushco) to risk american casualties. Bushco is unwilling to wage total war (such as the draft, tax hikes to pay for the war, and 100,000's more troops) for political reasons.

Bushco fears that total war would be politically damaging, and they are not strong enough leaders to convince the american public of this.

Instead of total war involving our entire country, we have: 1) A war fought by a very few volunteer soldiers. 2) Deficit spending to pay for the war, instead of tax increases. 3) Minimization of american casualties by not staging operations that would be effective but that would result in many american deaths.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 2 months ago

I didn't get that he was saddened by his son's prayer at all...

What I got from the letter is that he is bemoaning the old days of the Catholic church, when the faithful were not only allowed to pray for the deaths of others, but encouraged to do so.

He's annoyed that the Catholic church is now pacifist and he can't remain faithful to the church and still satisfy his need for some kind of bloodlust.

What I believe he's saying is this:

"How dare the Catholic church say that they're against capitol punishment, when there are people out there that I want dead!

How dare the Catholic church say that killing people is wrong, when all those Iranians were just begging for it!

I might have to give up my religion, if they're going to be proponents of things I don't agree with!"

werekoala 11 years, 2 months ago

wwwd -

Let me make it clear that I am not a Catholic, so I'm not sure I'm terribly qualified to speak on their behalf.

The Catholic position, as far as I can tell, is that no human being, at any stage from zygote to terminal illness, should ever be put to death. That goes for homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, criminals as well as victims, brown people as well as white people. And while I personally disagree with this stance, I can recognize that it IS morally consistent, and respect that.

You're looking at it from the stance of gay rights, which I'll be the first to agree with you that the church is not as supportive of as I am, or as I think they should be. But again, from what I've seen, they are also against heterosexuals having sex before marriage. And they don't seem to spend a ton of time harping on either subject. Again, I don't agree with them, but I can see a certain moral consistency to their views.

Instead, they seem to be much more focused on the social responisbilities of charity and lovingkindness than the evangelical/fundamentalist churches. They also seem to be less polictially active than the evangelicals.

Kim Gouge 11 years, 2 months ago


Very well said. Your "EVERY SINGLE life" in all caps threw me at first because I know catholics and I know they are as prejudiced as anyone.

werekoala 11 years, 2 months ago


No problem, I figured there was just a miscommunication, which is why I didn't flame you back.

And what I was discussing was the official position of the church, not the views of individual catholics, which you're right, are as divergent as any other set of religious people.

Me, I tend to think that most people get out of a religion what they put into it. Which is how Fred Phelps can get hatred and intolerance, and Martin Luther King, Jr. can get peaceful love and brotherhood from the same book.

I justs wish that people could stop looking at only the surface forms of eachothers beliefs, and start looking at the deep forms that lie beneath.

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

You could ignore it, you know. I wouldn't see why anyone would let Couranna's vitriol get to them.

coolmarv 11 years, 2 months ago


I am sorry for any abuse you suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church. It must have been terrible. I will pray for you and would suggest that you seek counseling. Catholic's as a hole are not any better or any worse than any other groups or individuals. Some people hatred can be overpowering.

Peace be with you.

oldgoof 11 years, 2 months ago

WOW, a letter writer right out of the times of the Crusades... I wished he was 20 years old again so he could put on a uniform for somebody and get his fill of his doctrine. .. This guy used to write frequent letters to the editor from Topeka. So it looks like he has moved to HIGH TAX Lawrence. eh, posters??

oldgoof 11 years, 2 months ago

"One remembers FDR's demand for total victory in Europe" .. The writer must have forgetten FDR's earlier promise to keep America's sons out of the war in Europe. . . "Mission Accomplished"

drewdun 11 years, 2 months ago

Once again, thanks to the LJW's "Right-wing Nut Alert System," better known as

BUSHIDO 11 years, 2 months ago

This fellow is perhaps the most literate and logical writer in the LJW's history. It seems most of the bloggers are incapable of understanding his position, though that doesn't stop them from commenting (proving that democracy has its drawbacks). His position is clear: the Catholic Church has abandoned its traditional positions in order to curry favor with the K. Sebelius's of the world. He quotes Augustine and Aquinas while several bloggers comment that they "think" they know what the Church has to say. They are either incapable of reading or just too lazy to avail themselves of the several Catholic texts available at the local library. He makes a clear tie between the Church abandoning its moorings and society's abandoning its moorings as well. "The center cannot hold." Which one of these wonderous bloggers knows who said that? I doubt even one. For the record, the Catholic Church's position on capital punishment is in favor: Pope John Paul II issued a "prudential judgement" and thus left it up to the individual conscience whereas with respect to abortion the Catholic must adhere to doctrine. For oldgoof: in previous letters the fellow has indicated an excess of 20 years of military service. I bet he'd go fight right now even at his advance age and maybe he just likes being among his too liberal fellow citizens so he can correct them. Perusing the many comments he illicited, it looks like quite a few need correcting. God Bless this great Catholic man. We need more like him.

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

I was hoping you could go back and point out to us illiterate masses where he "quoted" Aquinas and Augustine.

By the way, that was Yates. Or did Yates quote from someone else.

By the by the way: the letter fits the definition of literate, but more than assumptions and inferences are required to make it rational. His points don't connect to each other in any meaningful way. Nor do they rely on objective facts. These things are required to make a rational argument. Not to mention a coherent one. This is neither. I'm sure he could come up with one, should his obvious bias and contempt for opposing views subside somewhat, but not yet.

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

Oh, and the important question. Did you actually read Yates, or did you just read The Stand? I read both, but I read The Stand first, and enjoyed it much more.

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

Hahahaha. Evidenced by my spelling of Yeats, I suppose!

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

"As to why he hasn't written his Bishop, perhaps he encountered the same response I did when I wrote dilineating the traditional position: no response with respect to the arguments advanced by Augustine and Aquinas but some nonsensical blather about loving one's neighbor"

sigh. . . .

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

Does calling someone evil or sinful count as an insult? Just curious.

denak 11 years, 2 months ago

Why is this man writing to the editor of a paper and not to his local priest or archdiocese?

Wouldn't that be more effective?

All he has accomplished is to open up the Church to a bunch of anti-Catholic insults from individuals who have a bias against orgnaized religion in general and Roman Catholicism specifically.

Perhaps had he written to the archdiocese he would have been told that 1) the Vatican considers the war in Iraq to be an "unjust war" and therefore, there would not be any "battle cries" coming from the pulpit and 2) when, in recent memory, has the Catholic Church supported the death penalty. The Church has been against the death penalty for at least 30 years. Pope John Paul the Second and the current Pope has reinterated time and time again that the Church is not pro-death penalty. The Church believes that capital punishment is arbitrary and against God's Will and that only God has the right to end a person's life. And last but not least, I think the author needs to review what the Doctrine of Social Justice means.


BUSHIDO 11 years, 2 months ago

Dena is 100% incorrect and serves only to illustrate the paucity of knowledge vis a vis the laity. As I pointed out previously, Pope John Paul II issued a prudential judgement on the issue of the death penalty. A prudential judgement does not have to be followed if the individual Catholic's conscience prevents him from giving willing assent. Consequently, this fellow does not have to agree with the very flawed logic employed by PJII. "The Church," is not opposed to the death penalty. John Paul knew he was bound by tradition, the rulings of his predecessors, Holy Scripture, canon law and the strictures of natural law so he issued the prudential judgement which means "in his opinion." He knew he could not, just as old Benedict knows he cannot overule 2000 years plus of Catholic tradition and logic. The fact that so many Catholics do not know this is an example of poor communication of doctrine from our local Bishop Naumann on down to the parish level. Let me reiterate in closing that the Church does not believe capital punishment is wrong, only two popes have thought it imprudent. This is a crucial distinction. As to why he hasn't written his Bishop, perhaps he encountered the same response I did when I wrote dilineating the traditional position: no response with respect to the arguments advanced by Augustine and Aquinas but some nonsensical blather about loving one's neighbor. Note: Jesus endorsed capital punishment implicitly in scripture, a position elaborated upon by Paul in Romans. I don't believe these last two Popes and these corrupt Bishops are more intelligent than my quartet. Last time I checked Jesus knew just a bit more than Bishop Naumann.

denak 11 years, 2 months ago

No Bushido,

You are wrong. Prudential judgement refers to the individual and whether or not he or she,in good concious, can or should serve on a jury knowing that the outcome might be that the person can get the death penalty.

Predential judgement is the "out" if you will, when a Catholic finds themself in a situation where their obligations to the state are in direct opposition to what the Vatican says. (ie a soldier fighting in a war that is considered unjust) The Chuch recognizes that there are times when a citizen must fulfill their obligations to the state and their actions are therefore not considered a sin.

As for the Chuch's stance on the dealth penalty, the Church has made it very clear that it does not approve of the death penalty and that the dealth penalty should only be used when there is no other recourse availible. Since there are other recources availible (life in prison with no chance of parole) the death penalty as far as Pope John Paul 2 was concerned is "no longer neccessary."

Last but not least, you seem really hung up on St. Augustine and St. Aquainas. Yes, there are Doctors of the Church but they lived centuries ago.

Everything that they believed or preached is not relevant to today's society or today's Church.

The reason you have a beef with all this is because you insist on wanting to believe something and when you were clearly told differently, instead of accepting that you are wrong as far as the Church's teachings are concerned, you just have decided to dismiss what you were told.


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