American politicians are eager to use the Catholic church when it comes to certain topics related to sexuality. But what about when the pope calls upon the whole world to fast and pray for peace in Syria, which is what Francis has asked us to do today? Is it just the impotent, ceremonial gesture that the pundits will make it out to be, since Obama knows that his foreign policy legacy will be “toast” if he doesn’t make good on his promise to blow up a certain quota of Syrian buildings? Or could the worldwide prayer and fast actually exert the same power that an insignificant Galilean carpenter wielded on a Roman cross 2000 years ago to change the course of history? What will you choose to believe? Continue reading
“Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry ‘Peace’ when they have something to eat, but declare war against those who put nothing into their mouths. Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without revelation” (Micah 3:5-6). This is an excerpt from the Daily Office Old Testament reading for October 11th, 2012. It raises a question: what does peace really mean? For those who have enough to eat, peace simply means the absence of physical violence and bloodshed. To them, a peaceful society is one in which the laws are followed and people who break the laws are caught and punished. But this is not the case for those who have nothing to put in their mouths. Their hunger is violence against them and the fact that the responsibility for their hunger is not traceable to a specific person who broke a specific law only exacerbates this violence. We should be called out by these two verses from Micah, because they describe the attitude that many Americans have today. Continue reading
Nothing is more agonizing and emblematic of the nihilistic helplessness of modern diplomacy than the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I can totally understand Mahmoud Abbas going to the United Nations to petition for statehood. It’s obviously going to get vetoed by the US, but I’m perplexed that anyone could criticize him for trying something different than a process which has gone nowhere for as long as I’ve been alive.