1996 Jan 7 – Epiphany Sunday (Bulletin Letters)
Next Three Weekends- Guest Priest
The next three weeks we will have guest priest for all of the weekend masses.
Next weekend, Jan. 13 & 14, Fr. Raphael Masabakhwa will be with us. Fr. Raphael is the associate pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Council Bluffs. I asked Fr. Raphael to exchange places with me this weekend to give me a chance to return to St. Patrick in Council Bluffs, my previous assignment. Fr. Raphael is a newly ordained priest, who is from Kenya Africa. Fr. Raphael will share with you about the Church in Africa.
The following weekend, Jan. 20 & 21, Fr. Gordon Gittins from St. Clare’s Parish in Clarinda will be with us and I will be at Sts. John and Paul Church in Altoona. This exchange is part of the diocesan wide pulpit exchange sponsored by the Vacations Office. The priest participating in the exchange are to talk about their own journeys to the priesthood. Enjoy!
The following weekend, Jan. 27 & 28, I will be in Black Earth Wi. for the Winter Lakes and Prairie Life Community (LAPLC) gathering. LAPLC is the regional anti-nuclear & anti-militarism network of people and communities in which I belong. We try to met at least twice a year for support, networking and planning of future efforts. I have not attended this gathering in over a year. It will be good to see some old friends and seek support for future efforts. Fr. Dave Fleming, our Vocation’s Director will be covering the weekend Masses.
I will be home during the week days through out this period.
96 01 07
Feast of the Holy Innocents Witness
This years Feast of the Holy Innocents Retreat and Line Crossing at Offutt Air Force Base was a success. About 40 people in all, showed up for the two day retreat and witness, representing six Midwest states. We also had five young adults from Sweden with us. The Swedish delegation is in the U.S. studying nonviolence and visiting different peace and justice communities through out the country. They helped to add an international flavor to our gathering.
The witness received a good measure of media coverage. The Omaha World Herald even ran a photo (see back) along with a good size article. In the WH article, a StratCom spokeswomen was quoted as saying that we made some inaccurate allegations in our prepared statement. The StratCom Officer was referring to the line in our statement, “Despite the end of the Cold War, the United States still aims its strategic forces at 2,500 targets in the former Soviet Union.” Since May of 1994, the U.S. remove the targeting information from guidance systems in all of its nuclear missiles. Technically, our statement is inaccurate. The U.S. military is not currently targeting any sites, any where in the world.
However, our entire nuclear arsenal can be activated and locked on to thousands of targets in the former Soviet Union or anywhere else in the world, in a matter of minutes. So, instead of being prepared to release weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction upon the human family “at any moment”, we are prepared to do so within a few minutes. The way I see it, when it comes to Nuclear Armageddon, there is not much difference between a moments notice and a few minutes….
The StratCom spokeswomen went on to say that, “The primary purpose (of nuclear weapons) is to provide a deterrent against the use of weapons of mass destruction. That’s what the weapons are used for.” This is a great example of the half truths and Pentagon ‘Double Speak’ that has clouded our moral understanding about our nations Nuclear Weapons Policies for years.
Any true nuclear weapons deterrent rest on our ability and willingness to use our nuclear weapons. The primary purpose and mission of StratCom Headquarters is to be prepared and be willing to use our nations massive nuclear arsenal when called upon. Deterrent therefore is the ‘hoped for’ by product of our willingness to really use our nuclear weapons.
Here in lies the real difference between a Faith in Christ, the Prince of Peace and our nation’s faith in a peace, maintained through nuclear deterrent. The peace that Jesus offers comes from our following Jesus’s example of the nonviolence, unconditional love and unlimited forgiveness found in the New Testament. Christ’s peace there fore is maintained by our willingness to lay our lives down for an other, by loving our enemies, not by destroying them.The peace maintained by our nuclear arsenal depends our our willingness to kill, out right, tens of thousands, if not millions of innocent people.
There is a big difference between the two types of peace. One of the reason I keep going back to Offutt is to challenge fellow Christians to choose between these two kinds of peace. We can’t honestly do both. Our Faith in Jesus and the nuclear crisis we find ourselves demands a choose be made.
Ten people ended up crossing the line at Offutt on Dec. 28th. More a prayer service and good liturgy than a protest. Its hard to believe that years of jail time have been served by people who participate in this sort of public witness. Yet, at this very moment, Mark Kenney is serving a six month prison sentence for crossing the line at Offutt last Aug.
Of the ten line crossers this time, Norman Searah of the Des Moines Catholic Worker community is the only one who violated an active ban and bar letter. We should know in the next 90 days weather or not Norman will be indicted. I will keep you posted.