Christian leaders must denounce the US war in Iraq

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Robert Waldrop

Meet Robert Waldrop (left), one of the leading lights of the Catholic Worker movement in the United States. Bob runs the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma, US. His powerful words – more than the way he looks – remind me of a biblical Old Testament prophet speaking truth to power!

The Catholic Worker movement was founded by the late Dorothy Day, who campaigned in defence of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless, and Peter Maurin. On her 75th birthday, Day was described by a Jesuit magazine as the individual who best exemplified “the aspiration and action of the American Catholic community during the past forty years.”

In the best traditions of the Catholic Worker movement, Bob has also been vocal in the anti-war movement within the Catholic Church, in line with Pope John Paul II’s opposition to the war in Iraq. He feels that US Catholic Bishops have not done enough to conscientise Catholics about the evils of war, invasion and occupation.

This is an open letter from Bob to His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago

Dear Cardinal George

I have read the news reports and the Archdiocesan statement concerning the disruption of an Easter mass that you celebrated at your Cathedral. Your official statement says, in part. . . “This is a profoundly disturbing action. . . It is a sacrilege that should be condemned by all people of faith and good will.”

Although I actively oppose the unjust war the United States is waging on the people of Iraq, I agree that the demonstrators action was disturbing and sacrilegious.

However, theirs was not the first sacrilegious act of that day. The sacrilege commenced when you ascended to the Altar of God and began to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with your hands dripping with the blood of the innocent in Iraq whom you and most of the other United States Catholic Bishops have so callously abandoned to their grisly and violent fates. Like the rest of the US Bishops save one, you issued no canonical declaration forbidding Catholics of the Archdiocese of Chicago from participation in the unjust war on the people of Iraq. A review of your website finds no pastoral letter instructing the souls entrusted to your care about the Church’s teachings on unjust war and condemning the war on the people of Iraq as unjust. Like nearly all of your confreres in the US hierarchy, you have preached a gospel of moral relativism and moral laxism that makes a mockery of the Church’s teachings on life. You claim you want “peace”, but you have done nothing to actually support peace other than to offer pious platitudes and hypocritical rhetoric from your position of safety in your palatial Chicago residence.

Your holidays and festivals I detest, they weigh me down, I tire of the load. When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds before my eyes; cease doing evil, learn to do good. Make justice your aim, redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. Isaiah 1

I am obviously just an obscure Catholic Worker. You and all the other bishops have consistently ignored everything I have had to say to you since I started writing bishops on the Feast of the Holy Innocents in 2001. Which is fine with me, I am not interested in collecting letters of denial from bishops and cardinals making excuses for their moral cowardice. The charism of the Catholic Worker movement is faithfulness to the Gospel of Justice and Peace – even when all of the United States bishops save a small handful choose Nationalism over Catholicism. So once more I write again these words of inconvenient faithfulness, to remind you that God is watching every moment of your reign as Archbishop and Cardinal and you will one day be accountable for these actions.

God was watching when you refused to properly catechize your people about unjust war.

God was watching when you refused to forbid Chicago Catholics from participating in an unjust war.

God was watching when you dined with the Tyrant-Emperor George Bush, and you did not condemn him as a murderer and prosecutor of an unjust war.

A reading from the book of the Prophet Micah. . .

And I said, Listen you leaders of Jacob, house of Israel! Is it not your duty to know what is right, you who hate what is good, and love evil? You who tear their skin from them and their flesh from their bones? They eat the flesh of my people and flay their skin from them, and break their bones. They chop them in pieces like flesh in a kettle, and like meat in a caldron. When they cry to the Lord, he shall not answer them, rather shall God hide from them at that time, because of the evil they have done.

Thus says the LORD regarding the prophets who lead my people astray; Who, when their teeth have something to bite, announce peace, But when one fails to put something in their mouth, proclaim war against him.

Therefore you shall have night, not vision, darkness, not divination; The sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be dark for them.

Then shall the seers be put to shame, and the diviners confounded; They shall cover their lips, all of them, because there is no answer from God. . . .

Therefore, because of you, Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem reduced to rubble, And the mount of the temple to a forest ridge.

So as it turns out, when you condemn these young people, you condemn yourself.

Which is worse? A prince of the church who by any objective judgment is a moral coward who has preached a false gospel of moral laxism and relativism regarding an unjust war? Or a few young people, who hear the cries of the victims, and in despair act out in such a public manner? Is it not true that your own abject failure as a Cardinal Archbishop provoked these young people to such a rash action? Are you not, then, a “secondary disrupter” of your own Mass, and thus have a significant share in the responsibility for their deeds? Have not your actions — or rather, inactions — violated the inalienable rights of the people of Iraq to life? Who, then, is really at fault in this matter? These young protestors? Or a cowardly Cardinal Archbishop, who shuts his eyes, ears, and heart to the cries of the people of Iraq for justice and peace and is a scandal before the entire world?

I write these words to you, in remembrance of the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and soldiers who have died in this unjust war on the people of Iraq. One day you will meet them and they will tell you of their terror, pain, and fear and they will ask you, “Why, in the name of God, did you not do something serious to stop this from happening?”

I pray that God has mercy on your soul and brings you to an understanding of the grave evil and moral disorders that you and the other United States Catholic Bishops foster and encourage by your moral cowardice in the face of this unjust war on the people of Iraq

Sincerely,

Bob Waldrop
Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House
1524 NW 21st
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73106
www.justpeace.org

A Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows for Those Who Will Die Today in War

Our Lady of Sorrows,
we pray for all those who will die
today because of war and economic chaos,
especially the children.
Prepare them for the agony, despair,
and terror of the violence that is upon them.
Comfort them and
hold them close to the bosom of
thy most Immaculate Heart
as they drink deeply of the bitter cup
which is forced upon them.
Wipe their tears, calm their fears,
welcome them to peace and safety.
Eternal rest grant to them,
and may perpetual light shine upon them.

Our Most Holy Lady of Sorrows,
Overturn the thrones of tyranny, scatter the unjust,
give us your grace and strength to
stand against the demonic powers
which prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

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jeff

Iraqi are enjoying PEACE in their country as roadside bombing and landmines explosion happen daily, they also enjoying a deal of FREEDOM too as they are free to blow themselves up and shoot anyone with their AK47! American defense secretary announced.

Penangpek

“There is finally overall peace in Iraq, that the people are thankful for the US intervention.” Tell that to the Iraqi, you will sure be met with a walking dynamite!!!LOL …..

bow

American’s justice is great justice, no doubt about it – convicted soldier for killing Iraqi civilians received five to ten years of prison sentence.

Jerry Mohan

Religious leaders should not associate themselves with politicians who have the deaths of millions of people on their hands.

Jerry Mohan

George’s Bush war for oil is disgusting.

While he condemns abortion he doesn’t mind killing millions of innocent people from Iraq, US, UK, etc. in his war for oil.

Bush, Blair and Benedict are the axis of evil.

Scott Thong

I really dislike it when someone or other tells Christians what they ‘must’ do. Christians ‘must’ vote for so-and-so political party! Christians ‘must’ accept gay bishops! Well, here’s news for Waldrop – Christ also calls us to fight against injustice and evil. Or was Saddam Hussein the epitome of lovingkindness? The Baathists models of justice? Was the most ‘Christian’ thing to do simply ignore Saddam’s depravities for decades? If a woman is being raped, do we just say “Peace be with you!” and walk away, in the spirit of ‘peace’ and ‘turn the other cheek’? Did the West act in… Read more »

Mohammad Rizal Othman

I suggest the americans leave iraq right now and let the iraqis have a slugfest.

hutchrun

When asked on US television if she [Madeline Albright, US Secretary of State] thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children [from sanctions in Iraq, during the 1990s after the first Gulf War] was a price worth paying, Albright replied: “This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.”

Today the sanctimonious c** moos a different song. She`s on some different grass now.

hutchrun

On the same day Arafat signed the Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn, he explained his actions on Jordanian TV by saying, “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we will do this in stages. We will take every territory we can in Palestine and establish sovereignty there, then use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel”.

bexe

The Iraq war was waged by the American Government led by a President who claimed to be the Christian God’s appointee. He claimed that he went to Iraq and waged this senseless and totally evil acts in the name of his god. The American Christians control the politics in America. They voted for the war, just as they voted to put the Butcher in power. Therefore, not only their Christian leaders must denounce this war, all American Christians must denounce this war. Further they must denounce their god appointed leaders and embrace that neither man nor god has the right… Read more »

hutchrun

Comment no.2 talks of `oppressed Palestinians`. Sounds like another moonbat like the sanctimonius Baptist Jimmy Carter. The phillistines I see on BBC are fatter than the poor I`ves seen on the streets of India. It`s the EU that feeds the phillistine hatred. There`s no such thing as `palestinian arabs` and that`s from the horses` mouth. “The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians, or Lebanese. For political and tactical reasons, we speak… Read more »

raj raman

no offend mean AND APOLOGY IN ADVANCE to anyone who may get offended by my comment.god is everywhere,but human will use god name for the sake of power to kill human.i read history many2 moons ago.part of this world war,hunger and unfair judgement is use in the name of god.I STILL WONDER WHY THE MIDDLE EAST IS STILL SHOWER WITH BLOOD WITH ALL THE BIBLES OF JEWS,CHRISTIAN AND ISLAM STARTED THERE….thanks.raj raman.RELIGION;my problem to anwser to god when the time come,meanwhile i dont use the name of god to earn any power or extra money.

Mohammad Rizal Othman

Though Bush was wrong in interfering in the affairs of Iraq by driving the murderous genociadal dictator Saddam Hussien out of power, he is doing the right thing now in battling al-Qaeda who has long declared war on Western and Christian nations. They started targetting Americans long ago even before Sept 11. Remember Lebanon embassy bombing in 1980s, hijacking of planes and ships in 1970s, Bombing of USS Cole in Port Aden , Bombing of US embassies in african nations etc.

Steve Oh

It is not the Americans who are causing the deaths in Iraq but sectarian Iraqis themselves. How can anyone be so blind as to blame the Americans for the deaths? Whatever wrongdoings have been committed by the Americans have been dealt with by American justice, which no one presumes is perfect. If we must point a finger let’s do it accurately. Whether it was right or wrong for the Americans to invade Iraq the fact remains that the Allied forces are trying to bring Iraq to a state of peace and democracy. Australia is already planning to pull out its… Read more »

Kopi_O

What crap are you talking man. People like these are the few in every religion. As a whole, the human race would do better & be better without religious, especially the middle eastern based religions. The more secular people are, the more reasonable they would be & so the less prone to violence, double standards, hate, etc. Oh yeah, “heathens” is it, what you call non christians! Going to hell are they? This is the many of you christians One example to illustrate, the gay community is nearly 100% anti Christianity & Islam. Some, even the white man, follow other… Read more »

maryb

Good for Bob for speaking out. A group of us in the UK have been discussing the Anglican church here for avoiding the issue of the oppressed Palestinians. They never comment on their situation nor about the Iraqi people either.

cpwaterman

War on Iraq was a big mistake.

I thought we only pray to God. Curious to know who this most Holy Lady of Sorrows is. Is she God?

I have a question:-
http://cpwaterman.blogspot.com/2008/03/question-for-you.html

Taufiq

What a cartload of cattle manure all these comments are. I say we call in the Martians now and ask them to rule the world. So what if we become human batteries for giant spider-like robots? Oh wait… Incoming message from Xprotykgu (the capital of Mars, you imbeciles.) The Martians have replied. They are not interested at all. So I guess we gotta solve our mess all on our own. Sigh.