Thursday, July 24, 2008

FW: "Bishop says weapons of war must be abolished 'before they abolish us' " Story on CW Gathering from Catholic Explorer, News Paper f

Check out the official 2008 National CW Gathering Web Page Link for

full coverage of the gathering

Catholic Explorer, News Paper for the Diocese of Joliet IL

Published Jul 23, 2008

Bishop says weapons of war must be abolished 'before they abolish us'

By Tanya Connor (Catholic News Service)

WORCESTER, Mass. (CNS) -- War has evolved to mean nothing but

indiscriminate destruction, retired Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J.

Gumbleton of Detroit told the crowd gathered for the Catholic Worker

Movement's 75th anniversary celebration in Worcester .

He said the U.S. government teaches that there are no innocent

civilians and preparations are being made to use conventional or

nuclear weapons even at the hint of threat.

"The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us," he said.

Organizers said the national Catholic Worker gathering, held July

9-12, drew more than 500 Catholic Workers and other interested

individuals from around the United States and Germany and included

morning prayer, talks, workshops, a play, music and dancing.

Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus celebrated Mass for the group July 12.

In his remarks Bishop Gumbleton talked about President John F.

Kennedy's speech to the United Nations in 1961 and how he wanted a

peace race with the Soviet Union .

"John Kennedy would have led us on this waging of peace," the bishop

concluded. "He was not able to do it, but we are."

Frank Cordaro of the Phil Berrigan Catholic Worker community in Des

Moines, Iowa, told of some who have tried to wage peace. He asked how

many listeners had attended peace demonstrations, been arrested for

protesting and done jail time. Many raised their hands.

He told of pacifism becoming activism. The audience applauded at his

mention of Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan and his late brother, Philip,

and late Worcester pacifist Tom Lewis.

All three were part of the Catonsville Nine, who in 1968 burned draft

board files to protest the Vietnam War. They burned 600 files with

homemade napalm at a draft board office in the Baltimore suburb of


It is as natural for the Catholic Worker to protest war as to serve

soup, which is one of its best contributions to the church, Cordaro


"To embrace the outcasts is the first movement toward peace," said

Claire Schaeffer-Duffy, of the SS. Francis & Therese Catholic Worker

community, which sponsored the national gathering with the Mustard

Seed Catholic Worker community.

"Violence requires ... keeping the bad guys out ... reducing the other

to ... less than human," she said, noting that war victims are called

"targets" or "collateral damage."

"Disregard foments the violence ... and we counter that with our

regard," she said.

Schaeffer-Duffy invited listeners to share ideas and lamented the

prospect of war with Iran .

"What if Iran decides to come after us first and we're annihilated?"

asked local Catholic Paula Courtney.

"For me, the question is, 'What would Jesus do?'" someone responded.

"Jesus said, 'Those who live by the sword die by the sword,'" said

another. "The sword can be hostile acts toward the people who acted in

a way that did not please me."

Local Catholic Worker Christine Lavallee said the movement's identity

is "our deep faith that Christ has redeemed the world." She asked

whether members should seek change through the church or government.

Bishop Gumbleton said Blessed Franz Jagerstatter listened to Jesus.

The Austrian farmer was beheaded in 1943 after he refused to fight in

Hitler's army. His refusal to serve was not supported by his priest,

his bishop or most of his Catholic friends. He was beatified by Pope

Benedict XVI last October.

Christians follow Jesus, Bishop Gumbleton said.

"He taught us how to die, not how to kill," he said. "You die loving

your enemy -- the one putting you to death."

Prophets speak the truth through words and actions, he said,

explaining that pouring blood at the Pentagon is an attempt to change

public policy "before our nation leads the world to its destruction."

Speaking of Iran developing nuclear weapons, Bishop Gumbleton said,

"We have violated that treaty; if we want to stop Iran from violating

the treaty, we have to start living it ourselves."


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