6 months ago
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Someone once said that Catholics are people who agree on some things and disagree on most every thing else. Nate Wildermuth of The Catholic Blues and Vox Nova and I pretty much fall into the everything else category, but I have never seen him make an unreasoned comment, and he made me rethink a few times.
In Bending My Stiff Neck he comments on the Popes Visit.
Over the past three days, I've had my 1000% daily recommended dose of 'Pope': waving "hi" and "bye" at the National Shrine, attending the mass at Nationals Stadium, reading his flurry of speeches/addresses/homilies over and over again, and most importantly - praying that the Holy Spirit will open my heart to learning from our Church and its leader. But I wasn't quite prepared for the opening salvo of our Holy Spirit, coming in the Pope's words at the White House:
"Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience — almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad."
These words crushed me.
How could the Pope repeat United States propaganda, and express admiration for US bloodshed? I racked my mind for ways to interpret his words in another way, but I couldn't. ...
I have so much to learn.
After a great deal of reflection and prayer, my heart has moved, my neck has bent.
I have seen something startling: we live in a society where "defense of life" and "nonviolence" are mostly mutually exclusive, and because the defense of life must take priority over a commitment to nonviolence, most Christians are duty-bound to defend life with the least amount of violence possible.
Did I just write that? I did. But only after three days of gut-wrenching prayer!
I am not suggesting that violence is good, or even Christian. I am suggesting, however, that the circumstances of our society require us to choose defense of life over nonviolence. In other words - if the only way I can defend life is to use a gun, then I must use a gun.
Strikes will not stop robbers from breaking into our homes. Nonviolent communication will not stop those who do not wish to communicate. We have no nonviolent alternatives to police forces or militaries. We have no nonviolent alternatives to courts and prisons. Nonviolent means of defending life are mostly confined to idealistic exhortations to "love your enemy and trust in God's grace to work miracles."
Go and read the his whole post.
Now, back to my own wrestling with some of the Popes comments. I to have much to learn.
HT: Against the Grain