I just finished reading the NY Times article with the first reports from the Wikileaks classified Afghan war documents.
Then I went back and read the statement I wrote in December 2001 that was signed by 4 Catholic Worker houses and mailed to all the US bishops. We receuved zero replies from the bishops, and so the questions asked therein remain unanswered.
I really regret that things have turned out even worse than I described in this letter, but those are the facts on the ground.
I wonder if the US Catholic Bishops are satisfied with the results of their vote to judge the war on the people of Afghanistan as just? I think it’s interesting that they don’t put that document on their website, nor do they post the text of Cardinal Law’s infamous speech in Rome calling for “moral realism” regarding the war effort of the US government. In those days, Cardinal Law was un-tainted by the clergy sexual abuse issue, because the latest outbreak of news on that issue, which drove him from his office as Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, had yet to erupt.
I will try to dig up the text of his speech and post it at Justpeace and also the full text of the Bishop’s November 2001 statement on Afghanistan. Some things should not disappear down the memory hole.
It wasn’t long after the vote to join the lynch mob for the War on Afghan People that the latest episode of the clergy sex abuse scandal burst into full public view. Cardinal Law left office in disgrace, and escaped to Rome. I have always suspected that his leaving the US for Rome was a quid pro quo for his not being prosecuted — “leave and never come back or go to jail”. Which is just one more sign of how the US criminal justice system is itself corrupt. We’ll lock up a dime bag crack dealer for decades, but we’ll let an aristocratic criminal like Cardinal Law escape to live in opulence and splendor in Rome. Which is just one more sign of how the Vatican hierarchy failed and abandoned the Catholic people of the US, by giving Law such a welcome in Rome, a cushy job as head of the Basilica of St. Mary Maggiori, one of Rome’s four pilgrimage basilicas, AND he kept his position on the Congregation for Bishops, which lends a whiff of moral taint to all bishops appointed by that body.
The moral fact on this ground remains: the US Catholic bishops are guilty of material cooperation with the objective evil of unjust war. Thus, the US Catholic bishops share in all of the moral consequences of the actions contingent to that war (and the war on the people of Iraq). This is true of those bishops who voted for the proposal in November 2001, and it is true of all those appointed since then who have given their consent by their silence on the subject.
Actions have consequences. Are the US Catholic bishops satisfied with the consequences of their November 2001 decision — their subsequent decision to tacitly endorse the invasion of Iraq, and their general silence on the issues of war and peace during a time when the US government has violently waged war, virtually destroying two countries and causing hundreds of thousands of deaths?