The time is 100 seconds to midnight

By Tony Magliano

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist whose column is published in print and/or posted online in various U.S. diocesan papers. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.

Image Courtesy of USAToday

On Jan. 23, 2020 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board, together with 13 Nobel Laureate consultants, moved their famous Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds before midnight – warning how extremely near humanity is to a global catastrophic midnight posed by the increasing threats of nuclear war and climate change.

“We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds – not hours, or even minutes. It is the closest to Doomsday we have ever been in the history of the Doomsday Clock. We now face a true emergency – an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay,” warned Rachel Bronson, Ph.D., president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (see:

Both the United States and Russia each have hundreds of nuclear warheads aimed at each other. And what’s even worse, these weapons of mass destruction are programmed at launch ready alert – otherwise known as hair-trigger alert.

Due to sloppy communications and/or computer errors, Russia and the U.S. have come within minutes of accidental nuclear war more than once.
Further alarming was the U.S.’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal which effectively put a halt to Iran’s movement toward acquiring nuclear weapons (see: And since then the U.S. has come dangerously close to a full-blown war with Iran.

Add to these dangers the Nuclear Posture Review’s statement that the U.S. will continue its policy to be the first to initiate a nuclear attack if it decides that its “vital interests” and those of its “allies and partners” are at risk.
Next, consider the nuclear threats exchanged between the U.S. and South Korea.

Adding to these dangers, just six months ago the U.S. withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which had required Russia (then the Soviet Union) and the U.S. to eliminate all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (see:

Furthermore, the U.S. plans to spend over $1.5 trillion during the next 30 years on modernizing its nuclear war-fighting capabilities (see:

And the most recent addition to this poisonous nuclear soup is that according to the Federation of American Scientists, just a few weeks ago the U.S. Navy deployed a so-called low-yield Trident nuclear warhead on one of its submarines – USS Tennessee. Since this weapon has two-thirds less the explosive power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, it is dangerously considered more “useable” than the more destructive nuclear weapons available (see:

During his historic visit to Hiroshima last year, Pope Francis authoritatively declared: “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral, as I already said two years ago. We will be judged on this” (see:

In light of all this madness, how can faithful Catholics – both clergy and laity – silently go on with business as usual?

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ other global worry is the quickly accelerating dangers posed by climate change. They warn, “Climate change that could devastate the planet is undeniably happening. And for a variety of reasons that include a corrupted and manipulated media environment, democratic governments and other institutions that should be working to address these threats have failed to rise to the challenge” (see:

With these catastrophic dangers facing humanity, how can any reasonable person deny that “The time is 100 seconds to midnight.”

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at

Published in: on February 21, 2020 at 1:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gracias Farm Workers!

Roger Yockey and his wife, Marilyn are active members of FAN and Secular Franciscans from Washington state. They recently attended the board meeting of the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM), a faith-based organization that supports farm workers as they organize for justice and empowerment. The following is a reflection from Roger. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network

Did you eat today? Thank a Farm Worker!

Roger and Marilyn Yockey, Secular Franciscans and members of Poverello Fraternity, attended the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM) board meeting, January 29-February 2, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. Roger is a board member and Yakima/Tri-Cities Cluster Organizer of the Farm Worker Ministry Northwest (FWM-NW). The National Farm Worker Ministry is a faith-based organization that supports farm workers as they organize for justice and empowerment. NFWM has worked nationally for decades through its member organizations, congregations, and individuals. That broad spectrum of support was clearly evident at the meeting in Tampa. Presbyterian, Methodist, United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Disciples of Christ, Church of the Brethren, Sisters of Charity, BVM, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth were participants at the meeting all actively involved in harvesting justice for the workers who harvest food. The NFWM welcomed the Catholic Labor Network (CLN) which links and promotes the cause of workers and Catholic social teaching in labor unions, parishes, and other organizations such as the NFWM. And obviously the CLN has the protection of immigrants as one of its priorities. It was explained to board participants that farm workers need to be protected from a lot. Heat stress, exposure to pesticides, and other toxic chemicals, wage theft and sexual harassment are a reality, a clear and present danger for farm workers.

There was a guest at the board meeting, Antonio Tovar, of the Farmworker Association of Florida, that told it like it is for those who work in the fields and orchards of the United States. Immigration is a big issue as many workers are undocumented. Racism is another concern as workers from one country exhibit racist action toward workers from another country. Kidney failure is big problem among sugar cane workers. And another large problem for citrus workers is eye infections. Add the pressure of the piece rate system and lack of water, rest, shade for farm workers and the growing, harvesting–the work of farm workers is difficult and filled with hardships. The Farmworker Association of Florida, founded in 1983 by the Sisters of Notre Dame, “continues to lead and support farm workers as well as other low-income workers in aspects of immigrant rights, worker protections and the promotion of food justice.”

On a rainy, cool Saturday morning, the Yockeys and about twenty other NFWM board and staff members made a two-and-a-half-hour drive to the small Southern Florida town of Immokalee where workers from Haiti, Guatemala, and Mexico pick mainly tomatoes and peppers. A lot of tomatoes and peppers! The workers have joined together to form the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). “The CIW is a worker based human rights organization internationally recognized for its achievements in the fields of corporate social responsibility, community organizing, and sustainable food.” There are three broad and overlapping spheres of CIW work: The Campaign for Fair Food, the Fair Food Program, and the anti-slavery program. Yes, workers have been held against their will.

The NFWM board spent about three hours at the CIW center which houses a meeting room, a radio station, a library, and a cooperative store. “Consciousness + Commitment=Change ” is something CIW has put into practice and it works. The CIW is boycotting Wendy’s because the world’s third largest hamburger chain has refused to to join the Fair Food Program, a very successful and unique program of worker-led monitoring and enforcement which has ended sexual harassment, forced labor and other long-time human rights violations in the fields. McDonalds’s, Burger King, Subway, Taco Bell and Chipotle plus other major food retailers have joined the CIW Fair Food Program. Wendy’s has not gotten on board. March 10-12, farmworkers from Immokalee, their families and consumer allies will march in New York City to carry a message to the wealthy decision makers behind Wendy’s to respect and protect the rights of the farmworkers in the supply chain. Maybe we cannot join the march, but we can pray for the Immokalee Workers.

It was a long day in Immokalee on Saturday, February 1, and we still had a long drive back to Tampa and our hotel. But as we sat down to a Mexican dinner with Immokalee farmworker families and Marilyn Yockey and Antonia from Oaxaca, Mexico showed each other pictures of families in Mexico and the United States; it all came together. Two women, both wives and mothers, not separated. Laughing, talking, sharing. St. Francis of Assisi is smiling!

To learn about Farm Worker Ministry Northwest you can go to And to find out more about the CIW go to and/or about the march in New York City, call 239-692-1482 and Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), and the United Farm Workers (UFW) are active in Washington and Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noreste (PCUN) is active in Oregon. All three work for justice for farm workers.

Published in: on February 21, 2020 at 10:09 am  Comments (1)  

Claim Your Holiness!

Reflection for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Associate Director, Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our February 17th newsletter

If asked to name an adjective describing yourself, I doubt if many of us would say “holy.” The men and women named on the liturgical calendar, THEY are holy. Each of us could identify people we know or have known whom we consider holy. But me? How blind or arrogant to call myself holy; I know myself too well. It’s easier to name my flaws and sins. Yet, this week’s scriptures tell us otherwise.

“Be holy,” the Lord charges Moses to tell the people, “for I, the Lord, your God am holy.” Paul writes to the Corinthians “…the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” The scriptures also make it clear in what holiness consists. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev. 19:18) In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us to go the extra mile, and to “love your enemies.” So, holiness is not about haloes or asceticism or sinlessness; it is about love. Even the capital letter Saints were men and women with human flaws and limitations, not without sin, imperfect human beings. They were lovers of God and of fellow human beings who evidently believed that the Spirit of God dwelled in them, as Paul taught. In different ways, they went the extra mile as Jesus instructed.

On Wednesday of next week we will be marked with ashes to remind us that we are human (humus=earth) beings, and we are encouraged to repent. Repentance does not mean wallowing in guilt or demeaning ourselves. Yes, we acknowledge our faults and sins and resolve to follow Jesus more closely, but perhaps this Lent we can also claim our holiness. We are loved by God and we are to be lovers of God, other human beings, and all Creation. In other words, we are called to be holy. We are holy. How about that!

Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF
FAN Associate Director

Published in: on February 18, 2020 at 10:30 am  Comments (2)  

Embracing the Broken by Letting Go

Reflection for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time by Franciscan Postulant and FAN Intern, Kevin Hamzik

This reflection was originally posted in our February 10th newsletter

In this week’s gospel, Matthew gives us an account of Jesus teaching the disciples about some of the commandments of their ancestors. At first glance at the text, the account seems to be one of Jesus just preaching the commandments as a way of not going to hell, but after a second glance and a little reflecting, the text dives much deeper.

At first, Jesus tells the disciples that those who follow the commandments will be called the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, while those who don’t will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. Here, Jesus merely states that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Notice how Jesus never once in the text says that people will be sent to hell for not following the commandments, he just says that you won’t enter the kingdom of heaven, which could be pointing towards the possibility of being sent to purgatory. This is a reminder to us of how great the love is that Jesus has for us. He recognizes that we as humans are not perfect beings, but He still loves us because we were made that way, so as Paul wrote in his letters, Jesus is showing us that nothing can separate us from his love.

Jesus then goes on to talk about some of the commandments, specifically killing, adultery, and lying. Again, Jesus does not condemn those who don’t follow the commandments, but instead gives them lessons on what I believe is embracing imperfections and letting go of things. When talking about killing, Jesus says to be reconciled with whoever has done wrong to you or whoever you have done wrong to before going to the altar. In a way, Jesus is telling us to embrace the imperfections that we have or that someone else has by being reconciled with them. Reconciling with others is about understanding that we all have a little bit of brokenness and imperfection is us, but we still love each other. When Jesus goes on to talk about adultery and lying, he first tells the disciples to get rid of the things that cause us to sin by telling them to rip their eye out or cut their hand off. Jesus then tells them not to swear by anything, for we don’t have the power to make a single hair black or white. These can be seen as messages of letting go of not only the bad things in our lives but also our own thoughts of being better than others. To discover and be who we truly are and meant to be, we must leave behind the things or people in our lives that do us no good. We must let go of the thought that we are or need to be smarter or better than everyone to strive and succeed, when in fact we are all here to help and grow with each other. Again, we are all imperfect and broken beings.

Saint Francis of Assisi was someone that throughout his life realized that the more he let go of things and the image that he and society wanted for him, the more he could embrace the brokenness of the world. Francis recognized that material possessions of the world were what separated him from the love of the world and being able to love all things around him. He saw beauty in the lepers, the outcasts of the world, those who were shunned out of Assisi to live in their own village, while also embracing the beauty of all of creation. He loved animals and sought to make friends with them, because he knew that God existed in them. Francis gives us a perfect example of who we need to be in our world today. Like Francis, we must give up the societal norms and visions of greatness that society has and instead reach out to the outcasts and see the beauty in the broken. Our world is full of outcasts, including those living in poverty and those we don’t call brother or sister because they come from a different place than us. There is brokenness in these people, just as there is brokenness in all of us, and there is beauty in them as well. We should never deny people the opportunity to live a better life. Francis dedicated part of his life to making the lives of the lepers, the outcasts, better as he recognized the beauty in the brokenness of society; we need to as well. Let us all strive to be a lifeline for everyone in our world, loving them, blessing them, and helping them live a life that they deserve to live. Don’t curse or ignore them, rather embrace them and the brokenness that comes with them, knowing we are all broken somehow. Be the person that you needed at some point in your life. You are exactly what someone needs in their life.

Kevin Hamzik
Franciscan Postulant and FAN Intern

Published in: on February 11, 2020 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

“A city set upon a mountain cannot be hidden”

Reflection for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Board Vice President Br. Paul Crawford, OFM Cap.

This reflection was originally posted in our February 3rd newsletter

The readings for Sunday Feb. 9th, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, are good ones for those of us who try and witness the Gospel Values in the Marketplace. In fact the Gospel is one that has been used by our founding Fathers and Sisters at the establishment of Plymouth Colony. Since I am from the area of that foundation I recognize words that were often repeated by various mayors, governors, and Church Leaders in the Greater Boston area. The words were used time after time to encourage speaking truth to Power and to engagement in political thought and agendas.

It speaks about a different vision that has a foundation on the Word of God and the moving of God’s Spirit among those who have accepted the Gospel.

I think of these words again and again whenever there is a moment for believers to stand and point to the moral foundations that our nation was built from. We see the value of these words when the faith community stands with those who feel they have no voice in the public forum. We also see how at times these words are used by people with different agendas. It is then that we realize how important it is to speak the truth to power and how our involvement in the public forum is so important.

My prayer and hope is that this righteous stand is one that does not exclude, but embraces “the other.” Our countries’ history, especially from that historical fact of a city on a hill, has at times excluded the “other.” The ‘other’ being the natives already living on the land that our ancestors arrived in. The ‘other’ being those who have sought refuge and safety for their families, but do not have documents and are looked at as trying to take something from those who are already here. The ‘other’ as someone of a different race, creed, or belief.

In the first reading from Isaiah, we see that only when we take action can the Glory of God be seen in our midst. Only when we embrace the ‘other’, feed the hungry, give comfort to the affected, can the Light rise from us in the darkness. Only when we think “Yes we can”, will the Spirit of God be free to move and work among us in power.

Let us all pray that we will see the Light of God in what we say and what we do.

Br. Paul Crawford, OFM Cap.
FAN Board Vice President

Published in: on February 4, 2020 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Anticipation and Expectation

Reflection for the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple by FAN Board Member, Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our January 27th newsletter

This weekend’s celebration of the feast of the Presentation of Christ in the temple is an opportunity to once again grasp with wonder, God’s desire to be revealed and known in our lives and in our world. What gifts we have in Simeon and Anna, the prophet and prophetess. They were people of patient prayerful endurance, tremendous insight and vision. They were people of deep and abiding faith, fasting and prayer. They lived with anticipation and the expectation that God’s promise of a Messiah would be revealed. They lived with the hope of encounter.

At that time, many in Israel also awaited the coming of the Messiah. However, many awaited a King, strong and mighty who would bring justice to the land and freedom from the oppression and captivity of the Romans. Simeon and Anna, imbued with the ancient texts and scriptures like the writing of the Prophet Malachi, held a different sense of expectancy. “I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.” Their depth of prayerful insight, opened and widened their imagination and perception to recognize and encounter the holy messenger of God in the infant son presented by the humble and poor parents, Mary and Joseph. This infant, born of our very flesh and blood, would bring salvation and redemption to the people.

In our Eucharistic prayer we proclaim, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” How do we live in anticipation and expectation of the promise of Christ’s coming once again? What is our hope and understanding of encounter?

Pope Francis, in his message on the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on September 29, 2019, warned that when fears and doubts “condition our way of thinking and acting to the point of making us intolerant, closed and perhaps even—racist”—there is a serious problem. For “in this way, fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other, the person different from myself; it deprives me of an opportunity to encounter the Lord.” The pope made it clear that this message is not simply about migrants. Rather, it is a call to build up the city of God and open spaces of welcome, support and community in our own neighborhoods and cities. May we create spaces and places where we encounter our brothers and sisters in the smallest and the least, in the poor and the marginalized. May we live with the anticipation and expectation of recognizing Christ in our midst and be the prophetic witnesses needed in our world today.

Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF
FAN Member of the Board

Published in: on January 28, 2020 at 10:13 am  Leave a Comment  

March for Life 2020

Blog submission by FAN Board Member, Mr. David Seitz, OFS

This year the 47th March for Life will take place in Washington D.C.. It is a time for committed people of all faiths to come together to support the sanctity of life from conception through natural death. The Franciscan Action Network, since it’s inception 10 years ago, has participated each year in this important show of solidarity with our fellow citizens to demand our government make choices and enact legislation that will protect all human life.

We acknowledge and support the mission and founding principles of the March for Life. This event was conceived with a focus on the issue of abortion and we fully support that initiative. We support those who come to this event to call attention to the abortion issue and we applaud their tireless efforts to protect the unborn. We are one with them.

The Franciscan Action Network, and many Franciscans throughout the United States work and advocate for a consistent ethic of life. Protecting life in the womb is certainly the beginning of this important work. After birth, however, there are other issues that affect the dignity of the human person that require all to act with justice. We advocate for healthcare issues that will ensure those who are sick have a chance to be healed. We advocate for an end to the death penalty, in the spirit of St. Pope John Paul II, who said that in our world today, we have the capability to hold criminals accountable without executions. We advocate for just immigration policies which allow those fleeing from conditions that daily threaten their right to life to come to a more safe and secure place to work and raise their families. We advocate for climate justice so that we can help bring about a sustainable planet to provide healthy and secure living conditions for all people, especially those who are exploited in poor working conditions.

We join our prayer to all who are praying for the sanctity of life.

May the Lord grant you His peace.

David Seitz, OFS holds a concentration in Sacred Scripture from the M.A. Theology Program, Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, MI. He is a Certified Hospice Chaplain, speaker and retreat leader.

Published in: on January 24, 2020 at 12:32 pm  Comments (2)  

Called by Jesus to the Peripheries

Reflection for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Director of Advocacy, Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our January 20th newsletter

As I was preparing to write my reflection for this week’s Gospel, I came across this Angelus (Reflection and Blessing each Sunday at noon in St. Peter’s square) by Pope Francis for the same Sunday in 2017. I liked it and decided to give Pope Francis the space in this week’s Newsletter. The Charism of the Third Order Franciscans is Ongoing Conversion, a call to a daily transformation of our way of thinking and living; the words of Pope Francis invite us to do just that.

“Today’s Gospel passage (Mt 4:12-23) recounts the beginning of Jesus’ preaching in Galilee. He leaves Nazareth, a village in the mountains, and settles in Capernaum, an important center on the lakeshore, inhabited largely by pagans, a crossroads between the Mediterranean and the Mesopotamian inland. This choice indicates that the beneficiaries of his preaching are not only his compatriots, but those who arrive in the cosmopolitan “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Is 9:1): that’s what it was called. Seen from the capital Jerusalem, that land is geographically peripheral and religiously impure because it was full of pagans, having mixed with those who did not belong to Israel. Great things were not expected from Galilee for the history of salvation. Instead, right from there — precisely from there — radiated that “light” on which we meditated in recent Sundays: the light of Christ. It radiated right from the periphery.

Jesus’ message reiterates that of the Baptist, announcing the “kingdom of heaven” (v. 17). This kingdom does not involve the establishment of a new political power, but the fulfillment of the Covenant between God and his people, which inaugurates a season of peace and justice. To secure this covenant pact with God, each one is called to convert, transforming his or her way of thinking and living. This is important: converting is not only changing the way of life but also the way of thinking. It is a transformation of thought. It is not a matter of changing clothing, but habits! What differentiates Jesus from John the Baptist is the way and manner. Jesus chooses to be an itinerant prophet. He doesn’t stay and await people, but goes to encounter them. Jesus is always on the road! His first missionary appearances take place along the lake of Galilee, in contact with the multitude, in particular with the fishermen. There Jesus does not only proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God, but seeks companions to join in his salvific mission. In this very place he meets two pairs of brothers: Simon and Andrew, James and John. He calls them, saying: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (v. 19). The call reaches them in the middle of their daily activity: the Lord reveals himself to us not in an extraordinary or impressive way, but in the everyday circumstances of our life. There we must discover the Lord; and there he reveals himself, makes his love felt in our heart; and there — with this dialogue with him in the everyday circumstances of life — he changes our heart.

The response of the four fishermen is immediate and willing: “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (v. 20). We know, in fact, that they were disciples of the Baptist and that, thanks to his witness, they had already begun to believe in Jesus as the Messiah (Jn 1:35-42).

We, today’s Christians, have the joy of proclaiming and witnessing to our faith because there was that first announcement, because there were those humble and courageous men who responded generously to Jesus’ call. On the shores of the lake, in an inconceivable land, the first community of disciples of Christ was born. May the knowledge of these beginnings give rise in us to the desire to bear Jesus’ word, love and tenderness in every context, even the most difficult and resistant. To carry the Word to all the peripheries! All the spaces of human living are soil on which to cast the seeds of the Gospel, so they may bear the fruit of salvation.”

May God open our hearts to hear daily: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”

Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF
FAN Director of Advocacy

Published in: on January 21, 2020 at 10:33 am  Comments (1)  

The Measure of Being Pro-Life

Reflection for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN friend and former board member, Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF

This reflection was originally posted in our January 13th newsletter

During this week when we mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling which legalized abortion in all 50 states, our readings remind us that the Lord has formed each human being “to be his servant from the womb.” (Is. 49:5) Like St. Paul, every child, woman, and man “is called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” (1 Cor. 1:1)

We believe that each human being is made in the image and likeness of God. In The Violence of Love, Saint Oscar Romero writes, we “believe that in each person is the Creator’s image and that everyone who tramples it offends God.” How we treat the child in the womb, the new immigrant to our country, the lonely and the lost, the homeless on the street, people suffering from addictions, the handicapped, the elderly, the vulnerable, is how we treat our God. Recently, a woman, who each time I am blessed to spend time with her teaches me how to live the Gospel, cried “I know I am not smart. I know I am slow. But I am a human being and I have feelings. I hurt when someone bullies me. I hurt when someone takes advantage of me. I hurt when someone hates me and does not even try, or want, to know me.” The way anyone treats this beautiful “apostle of Christ Jesus” is how they treat our God; our God who came to live among us on earth as a vulnerable child and who died as a vulnerable adult. The way anyone treats this beautiful person of God is a gauge to how they value the sanctity of any life.

In Laudato Si, Pope Francis addresses the importance of concern for all vulnerable beings however “different”, “troublesome” or “inconvenient” they may be. The measure for being pro-life is what we do each day to respect the dignity of each human being we encounter. The measure for being pro-life is also what we do each day to systematically and tirelessly oppose anything that will destroy or diminish the life of any person. The Franciscan Action Network is a good example of working tirelessly and consistently to support a consistent ethic of life.

Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
FAN Friend and Former Board Member

Published in: on January 14, 2020 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Just Peace…

By FAN Executive Director, Stephen Schneck, PhD

This morning, National Catholic Reporter, published my assessment of the Trump administration assassination of Qassem Suliemani, along with similar assessments by noted Catholic theologians. For reasons of space, the focus of analysis in the piece was whether military action could be called “just” according the church’s so-called just war teachings. My conclusion was that not only was the assassination unjustifiable, it was immoral.

Focusing on just war teachings, though, can lead us to overlook something much more important – peace.

Since St. John XXIII’s papacy, just war teachings have been de-emphasized in Church teachings. Emerging is a Christlike emphasis on peace, replacing the casuistry justifying any military actions. St. Paul VI at the United Nations in 1965 cried “No more war, war never again.” St. John Paul II not only repeated Paul VI’s cry for peace many times, he admonished President George W. Bush in a message ahead of that administration’s pre-emptive attack on Iraq, advising that God was not on the side of the United States. Pope Benedict XVI, even questioned if it was “still licit to admit the very existence of a ‘just war?'” Pope Francis at Hiroshima in November, 2019, argued that “Violence is not the cure for our broken world” and, just this week warned after the Suleimani assassination that “War brings only death and destruction.”

As these recent pontiffs signal, the Catholic Church is increasingly a peace church – a church which never justifies war. This should give us pause. If peace is the only justification, then surely we must look at military forces in a different way.

If you’ve not had a chance to see the recent movie A Hidden Life, I recommend it. The movie traces the heroic martyrdom of Bl. Franz Jägerstätter. An Austrian and a Secular Franciscan, Jägerstätter refused military service when called up to serve in a war he thought was unjust. For that conscientious objection he was guillotined by the Nazis in 1943. In 2007, he was declared a martyr for his faith by Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified. His feast day is May 21st.

Published in: on January 13, 2020 at 11:41 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,