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Social Justice: Take Back the Term from the Thieves and Build a New Catholic Action Comments

Some have begun to use the phrase "Social Justice" in a disparaging manner. They want to expose the error committed by some who have stolen the term "Social Justice" to hide a "leftist" political agenda. There are others who use it but reject the existence of objective moral truths meant to govern our life together. However, some words and phrases must be rescued when they are stolen. Social Justice is such a ... Continue Reading

11 - 20 of 198 Comments

  1. Pete Brady
    3 years ago

    Polly: To continue. Who was responsible for 9/11? I think without too much trouble you will be able to find online a list of terrorist attacks over the recent years that identifies the individuals involved as "young Muslim males between the ages of 19 and 40." September 11th was no different; Mohammed Atta was from Egypt, another from Lebanon, two from the United Arab Emirates, and 15 from Saudi Arabia. Why did they? Various reasons are given. A good deal of the answer, I believe, is buried in their view of Islam's history and place in the world. Regardless, on 9/11 they inflicted what I would term as "lasting, grave, and certain" damage upon the citizens, soil, and sovereignty of the United States. That is the first of the criteria for a "just war" under the strict conditions for "legitimate defense by military force." I believe that the third and fourth conditions are met by America's military and technological position in the world. Could America expect that attacks upon its sovereignty would continue? Yes. Who was behind them? In the Barbary Wars the provocateurs had the Ottoman Empire behind them. Today, some "nation" or nations is allowing terrorists to act, in a sense, as their "indirect" combat arms. The second condition to a "just war" is "all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective." Given the nature of the terrorist attacks that I've already mentioned with whom does one deal to cease hostilities? A brigand or criminal you bring to justice. But plunder was not the object; death, their own included, was. Why, for what? A "cause" then? If that, whose? Is it the indistinct "cause" of Islam as a whole, or just those who would use Islam to an end? Is a larger polity just as happy to employ their end to another end? Who is giving the terrorists succor? Do they step forward and admit as much? No terrorist group plans, trains, prepares, provisions, or maneuvers to the "attack" in a vacuum. They do all that from someplace on earth, within the borders of a "nation" or nations. Somebody let's them "act." Who? If "legitimate defense by military force," war, is going to be used against a nation, then what nation? Fifteen of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, our "friend." Mecca and Medina say not a good choice even if it could be pinned down to Saudi Arabia. Iran, Pakistan, Yemen? It's somebody over in the Middle East because the "markers" stay the same, young Muslim men between the ages of 19 and 40. In the wake of 9/11 virtually every Middle East country save one condemned the attack. That country? Iraq. Its immediate statement was, "the American cowboys are reaping the fruit of their crimes against humanity." Even Afghanistan condemned the attack but we undertook force of arms through the Northern Alliance to overthrow their government, feeling secure in the knowledge that we were after al-Qaida. War is conducted against a "nation." The United States was attacked, with "lasting, grave, and certain" damage. It was morally entitled to its defense. All things considered I prefer to keep the "bad guys" busy in "their sandbox" and out of ours. Then as now, I am not able to second guess the strategic considerations that belong to the "prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good, CCC 2309" that went into the decision of the Bush administration to go after Iraq as that "nation" most material as being engaged in war against the U.S. through support of a continuing and "lasting" terrorist threat.

  2. Pete Brady
    3 years ago

    Polly: I apologize for just now being able to get to your question. I'd like to begin to answer your question by stating that this is my viewpoint on not just the Iraq war but the whole "war on terrorism" thing. I am not a political science expert, a spook, a Middle East expert, or anything in that vein. I look to the classical definition of war because the term "war" is overused. Besides "terrorism," we have the "war on drugs, "war on poverty," ad nauseum; all of which tend to cause government to compound upon itself with no end in sight. What concerns me most regarding terrorism's impact is what the federal government does in its name that strangles the tradition of "liberty" in this country, to the point that someday we may have little liberty left to recognize, all in the name of "security." I acknowledge that because this is my viewpoint others will likely disagree with it. War is between nations. Only a head of state may declare war. It is possible for a nation to enter into an "undeclared" war, however, through identifiable "acts of war." 9/11 was an "act of war." Osama bin Laden is either a brigand (criminal) or the "agent of war" for a country or countries. Whether "brigand" or "agent," bin Laden does not represent the first time America has had to come to terms with provocateurs of a Muslim potentate. Early in our nation's history we fought two wars, the Barbary War and the Algerian War, against "pirates" of the Ottoman Empire located along the north coast of Africa to include Morocco. When Tripoli's envoy in London, Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, was asked in 1785 by Thomas Jefferson and John Adams as to the particulars "concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury", he replied as follows: "It was written in their Qu'ran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every Muslim who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise." From the top down America did not know what hit it on 9/11. I would have hoped that America's leadership was going though the "who, what, where, why, etc." exercise almost immediately on 9/11. It did.

  3. Sara Palen
    3 years ago

    yes, we the ignorant, who only take the likes of Glen Beck and Fox News for gospel, (yes, that was a cheap shot) not being able to check anything for ourselves, we believers in natural law, based on right reason and not "feelings" do need to listen to arguments from the likes of Tony and Pete and then check things out in full context of the teachings. Tony, you seem hard on our protestant friends. At least natural law was a commonality between us-Thanks be to God they had the wisdom to state it as such in our Declaration. and thank God Pope Benedict quoted from George Washington's farewell address. (why, that right winger Protestant)! It's a good thing we don't have to rely on our own weak, puny little minds- we can ask for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to help us to understand. I have learned much on this site. Thanks for the many great articles and those who post comments. Here, there are good stories of heroic saints who practiced virtue in their lives, and stories from priests, who explain scripture. (Like the one that just said we are all sinners. I also check out the readings for the day here) We are not perfect in our understanding. In fact, some of my comments have not been as charitable as they should. But keep up the good work, Deacon Fournier-it is a work of social justice. informing inpiring and igniting. We are a country in much need of spiritual food.

  4. vance
    3 years ago

    Pete, your literary skills and intellectual prowess have me beat by a 1,000 miles. I'm glad you showed up because I have learned much from you and your research. No doubt you have taught many us who share our comments here and other articles much about the facts on the issues of discussion. I would not fret about the departure of the hard core Libs who frequent these commentary page sites because there are plenty more where they came from. Whatever it is you do for a living, I have no doubt that you are successful. I still believe that you might have missed your calling to be a teacher. Tony said that he is a Catholic High School Religious Teacher. That is very scary to me. Perhaps you and him can trade jobs. I know, your job pays more. God bless.

  5. Paul
    3 years ago

    Some people who accuse others of being right wing, apparently have not read the CCC 2nd Ed. - It is all covered. A known tactic of the "Left" has been to bring up history rather than discuss the issues of today. It's called blame Bush to take eyes off the critical issues of today. The Dems have been in power (House and Senate) since Jan 2007. They refuse to remember that Hillary, John Kerry etc all voted for the Iraq war, and also that Sadam Hussein used chemicals to gas innocent Kurds including children. The bash Bush liberals need to learn that we will not be fooled into living in the past. The Iraq war is over. And as others have said: The USCCB is NOT the Magesterium of the Church, and has not purged their staff of over 300 to insure complete adherance to the "CCC 2nd Ed". One of the USCCB committees is still discussing fake global warming, while the USCCB's CCHD still gives money to pro-abortion and gay rights groups, and the USCCB's Social Justice group almost always forgets to include "Subsidiarity" in their writings.

  6. Pete Brady
    3 years ago

    Tony and catholicdefender: I am honestly sorry that you have elected to not participate here. I thought that spirited debate was a good thing. That it distilled and clarified opinions, allowed for the light of day to be thrown on an issue. Regretfully, I think that some will probably recall the old adage, 'if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen,' instead, when it comes to your departure. That is sad, as I think 'friction' in a lot of things is needed if things are going to work for the better. I prefer that you stay and continue to make us work at supporting our positions. What do 'ya think, fair enough?

  7. Pete Brady
    3 years ago

    To Catholic Online: I would like to suggest that an article on the concept of the "just war" be considered in your forum given the intensity of the comments on it made here. I was prepared to make a comment here to the effect that if "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" then maybe there was a corollary of similar flavor for those Catholics who retreat into the Catechism unwilling to see any interpretation of Catholic teaching other than their own. But..... I did do an internet search for what both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have said about the Iraq War. After viewing just a representative sample of what is probably out there I must say that they did object strenuously to the Iraq War. In my comments I was also going to make sure that we were talking about the war of George Jr, and not George Sr., but I also found out that Pope John Paul II actually spoke out somewhere around 56 times against the first Iraq War. Interesting. His message back then was also not widely reported in the media, particularly in America. Considering that Pope Benedict is apparently looking at some refinements to the Catechism on "just war," and that he took the name Benedict because he wanted to continue what Benedict XV desired when he proclaimed at the time of WWI, "War never again!," it would seem that the topic is very likely forthcoming at some point in the future. I also found a little historical insight of interest that took place at the time of Benedict XV. Apparently, the Vatican (Benedict XV) sent a message to James Cardinal Gibbons in 1917 asking him to intercede with President Wilson to get Wilson's endorsement of Benedict's peace plan to end WWI. Apparently Gibbons never went to Wilson. Two weeks after the Vatican request to Gibbons, Wilson formally rejected Benedict's plan. But there was more. It appears, also, that Gibbons and other U.S. Catholic bishops were in accord with Wilson's war plans and even went so far as to promise him "truest patriotic fervor and zeal" and the manpower to go with it: "our people, as ever, will rise as one man to serve the nation," pitching their ecclesiastical weight to America's youth to "be Americans always." But back to the future, our present time. It has been said that to disagree with the Pope on "just war" and the "death penalty" makes one less of a Catholic to the point of being a "Protestant." In refutation of that postulation the following statement of then Cardinal Ratzinger found during my internet search is offered: "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion - General Principles" L'espresso, June 2004 --- Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

  8. vance
    3 years ago

    Tony, You are a Catholic High School Religious teacher? This is scary. Tony, I read your posts and concluded that you are an individual who is so steeped in Liberal Establishment ideology that you have no ability to intellectually challenge yourself. I know this well because I have worked for years with individuals like yourself. What defines you amd them is 'Sociopath'. You are in an intellectual vortex that brings you in a downward spiral. Pete Brady answered your questions succinctly and intellectually. I read where you were impressed with his answers BUT your sociopathic nature will not allow yourself to think, "yes, he might be correct". Anything that remotely challenges your ideology will automatically be rejected. You, like the Liberal ideologues with whom I worked, do not grow or progress as individuals. You are in a continuous defensive mode warding off anything that challenges your ideology that you hold sacred. It is sacred to you because you have such a heavy emotion invested in your ideology. You become stagnant and hardened in your Liberalism. You had no answer for me or Pete Brady that is based on fact and outcome. Your answers are strictly on an EMOTIONAL level that left you talking in circles. The tragedy here is that you have a captive audience in your classroom and they are being pulled down with you.

  9. catholicdefender
    3 years ago

    i guess there is going to be a huge series of posts coming from the rightwingers on this board, making failed attempts to justify their ridiculous positions. well i'm not going to bother to check back, and hopefully no one else will pay attention either. catholicism makes no room for such silly positions. see ya.

  10. catholicdefender
    3 years ago

    oh, and as for the church's condemnation of pure capitalism, why don't we just take a look at the good deacon's comments on this topic right in this very article above? "The Catholic Church does not take a position on which economic theory is the "best" among many. She properly stood against the materialism of the atheistic Marxist system. She properly cautions Nations which have adopted a form of liberal capitalism that there are dangers in any form of "economism" or materialism which promotes the use of persons as products and fails to recognize the value of being over acquiring." there you have it. the church does not endorse capitalism as the 'best' economic theory as some of you on this board seem to be brainwashed into thinking, but the church cautions against pure capitalism just as much as she cautions against marxism.


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