Commonweal Magazine

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Commonweal is an independent journal of opinion edited by lay Catholics. It is an indispensable lifeline for Catholics who want to be part of an informed, engaged, independent-minded laity, as well as for readers of every faith seeking an open, tolerant forum for interreligious conversation.

Commonweal is an indispensable lifeline for Catholics who want to be part of an informed, engaged, independent-minded laity, as well as for readers of every faith seeking an open, tolerant forum for interreligious conversation. Commonweal provides a place for civil, reasoned debate on the interaction of faith with contemporary politics and culture. Read by a passionate audience of educated, committed Catholics and readers from many other religious traditions, Commonweal presents well-argued, respectful points of view from across the ideological spectrum. Our lay-run, independent status is inseparable from our role as a community of open conversation. Independence, clarity, charity, and a certain complexity are Commonweal’s watchwords. We believe challenging ideas need breathing room, explained and articulated not in slogans or sound bites but at length when necessary, always striving to be both informed and accessible to the general reader. Our institutional independence allows Commonweal sometimes to raise unsettling questions, consider novel, sometimes suspect ideas, and support the advance of Catholic thought. Rather than an ideology, Commonweal represents a sensibility. We believe that the quality of conversation shapes our shared sense of what is possible—and that this conversation has to embrace the imaginative and the visionary alongside the pragmatic and the empirical. In religious matters, Commonweal has always embodied the Second Vatican Council’s admonition that the church has important things to learn from modernity, especially from liberal democracy, at the same time that our culture is in need of the moral and social vision distilled in the best of religious tradition. Since its founding in 1924 Commonweal has staked a claim for religious principles and perspective in American life, and for laypeople’s voices within the church. The magazine has been credited with helping prepare American Catholics for Vatican II and its aftermath, and Commonweal’s current readers say it has helped them weather the sexual-abuse scandal in the church and work through questions and frustrations related to the role of women, the relationship between religion and politics, and church teachings on sexuality. The magazine has an ongoing interest in social justice, ecumenism, just-war teaching, liturgical renewal, women’s issues, the primacy of conscience, and the interchange between Catholicism and liberal democracy. Today Commonweal publishes many of the leading theologians, writers, and public figures in the United States, including Alice McDermott, Luke Timothy Johnson, Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, Paul Elie, and Sidney Callahan, among many others. Commonweal is published 20 times a year in print as well as in digital formats, including special issues each year dedicated to contemporary theology, interreligious dialogue, books, and fiction. It also operates a continuously updated website at www.commonwealmagazine.org. It is published by the nonprofit Commonweal Foundation, and its governance involves no institutional church affiliation.

Crises like COVID-19 tend to have an effect on popes as human beings, and on the papacy as an institution. We can alread...
04/18/2020
Papacies in Lockdown | Commonweal Magazine

Crises like COVID-19 tend to have an effect on popes as human beings, and on the papacy as an institution. We can already see it beginning to happen.

This COVID-19 crisis is the kind of emergency that in the last two centuries has amplified the advantage the institutional papacy has over local churches.

The culture war skirmish of 'Corpus Christi' was a curious omission from playwright Terrence McNally's obituary, even as...
04/18/2020
Sex & ‘the Human Focus’ | Commonweal Magazine

The culture war skirmish of 'Corpus Christi' was a curious omission from playwright Terrence McNally's obituary, even as the play itself had very little to do with Christian belief.

The late Terrence McNally’s work included one play that stirred considerable controversy among American Catholics. It’s worth revisiting that debate today.

An 11th century hermit has much to teach us on living in community and solitude.
04/17/2020
Freedom in Solitude | Commonweal Magazine

An 11th century hermit has much to teach us on living in community and solitude.

The medieval nobleman-turned-hermit St. Romuald of Ravenna, founder of the Camaldolese Order, viewed confinement not as restriction but as gift.

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly on how pastors can make Mass—even livestreamed services—child friendly.
04/17/2020
Just Five Minutes | Commonweal Magazine

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly on how pastors can make Mass—even livestreamed services—child friendly.

My parish welcomes families with kids, but I have a small suggestion: shorter homilies, every Sunday. I’m talking five minutes. Six, if you must.

While COVID-19 raged in China, how did Hong Kong keep infection levels low? The key, writes King-Ho Leung, lies within t...
04/17/2020
Hong Kong & the Coronavirus | Commonweal Magazine

While COVID-19 raged in China, how did Hong Kong keep infection levels low? The key, writes King-Ho Leung, lies within the crucial distinction between the collective good vs. the common good.

Facing the challenges and dangers posed by the pandemic, one cannot simply rely on or blame those in authority. Good government now matters more than ever.

"I haven’t been able to smell or taste for two weeks. Whatever I am in feels like something very different from what ICU...
04/16/2020
Out of My Senses | Commonweal Magazine

"I haven’t been able to smell or taste for two weeks. Whatever I am in feels like something very different from what ICU patients are in."

I haven’t been able to smell or taste for two weeks. Whatever I am in feels like something very different from what ICU patients are in.

As COVID-19 cases rise, Catholic hospitals face an ethical dilemma: how to distribute limited resources in favor of the ...
04/16/2020
Critical Needs | Commonweal Magazine

As COVID-19 cases rise, Catholic hospitals face an ethical dilemma: how to distribute limited resources in favor of the poor.

Catholic hospitals are already underfunded. With COVID-19 cases rising, they face an ethical dilemma: how to distribute limited resources in favor of the poor.

Disponible ahora en nuestras páginas: el texto original en español de la entrevista con Papa Francisco.NEW: An interview...
04/16/2020
Entrevista con Papa Francisco | Commonweal Magazine

Disponible ahora en nuestras páginas: el texto original en español de la entrevista con Papa Francisco.

NEW: An interview with Pope Francis, now available in its original language.

El texto original de la entrevista al Papa Francisco de Austen Ivereigh en Español.

The late John Prine's afterlife isn't one of the Christian Bible, or that of any other major faith. But Prine sang about...
04/15/2020
A Different Kind of Heaven | Commonweal Magazine

The late John Prine's afterlife isn't one of the Christian Bible, or that of any other major faith. But Prine sang about heaven as if he’d already seen it.

The late singer-songwriter John Prine imagined paradise as a place like Earth, only more abundant, and more welcoming for sinners.

To energize the faith, it's time to let more people—including women—preach.
04/15/2020
Teaching & Preaching | Commonweal Magazine

To energize the faith, it's time to let more people—including women—preach.

Preachers should emulate teachers at mass, striving to be adaptable, humble, loving, and willing to learn by inviting participation from the congregation.

Some conservative "defenders" of the faith decry a Muslim prayer at an Irish Mass. But friendly interfaith prayer matter...
04/15/2020
Seeds of Peace | Commonweal Magazine

Some conservative "defenders" of the faith decry a Muslim prayer at an Irish Mass. But friendly interfaith prayer mattered to St. John Paul II.

Some conservative “defenders” of the faith decry a Muslim prayer at an Irish Mass. But friendly interfaith prayer mattered to St. John Paul II.

Community in extremis, communism as poetry, absurdity-unto-death? Anthony Domestico on new books for our times.
04/14/2020
Politics Needs Poetry | Commonweal Magazine

Community in extremis, communism as poetry, absurdity-unto-death? Anthony Domestico on new books for our times.

Many of us are familiar with the absurdity-unto-death that is working remotely. Forget the zoom-and-gloom: put down your devices and pick up these new books.

Sr. Donna Markham shares the greatest hopes and the greatest needs of Catholic Charities USA today in responding to the ...
04/14/2020
‘Without Compassion, I Fear We Are Complicit’ | Commonweal Magazine

Sr. Donna Markham shares the greatest hopes and the greatest needs of
Catholic Charities USA today in responding to the pandemic.

Besides the federal government, Catholic Charities is the country’s largest social-safety-net provider. It’s now facilitating access to food and mental health care.

For LGBTQ+ Catholics who often feel exiled from their church, groups like Out at St. Paul's are essential for providing ...
04/13/2020
Necessary Affirmation | Commonweal Magazine

For LGBTQ+ Catholics who often feel exiled from their church, groups like Out at St. Paul's are essential for providing affirmation and pastoral care.

The LGBTQ ministry at St. Paul’s in Manhattan has been a balm within a church that continues to wound.

The 1619 Project is more than a correction to history—it is a necessary step toward disenthralling ourselves from an ima...
04/13/2020
Reframing American History | Commonweal Magazine

The 1619 Project is more than a correction to history—it is a necessary step toward disenthralling ourselves from an imagined past.

While flawed, the 1619 Project is a first step toward disenthralling ourselves from an imagined past of America as history’s designated instrument of liberation.

If we can pull together and put the vulnerable first to combat COVID-19, why not also climate change, infant mortality, ...
04/13/2020
The Pope & the Plague | Commonweal Magazine

If we can pull together and put the vulnerable first to combat COVID-19, why not also climate change, infant mortality, or war?

Service, self-abnegation, solidarity, fraternity, courage: in the trial at hand, the grace of conversion is available to the whole of humanity—including the church.

From our new parish issue, Tia Noelle Pratt on how the experience of Black Catholics can and should be celebrated in all...
04/12/2020
Authentically Black, Truly Catholic | Commonweal Magazine

From our new parish issue, Tia Noelle Pratt on how the experience of Black Catholics can and should be celebrated in all parishes.

Black people were practicing Catholicism in North America hundreds of years before the United States was founded.

This Easter—or really, every Easter—Tom Baker invites us to look around for signs of the risen future.
04/12/2020
Already & Not Yet | Commonweal Magazine

This Easter—or really, every Easter—Tom Baker invites us to look around for signs of the risen future.

How do we make our “Easter duty” in a year like this one, when there’s nowhere to go to feel like we have done something?

"Stay home if you can, not in fear but in solidarity." Santiago Ramos on what shutdown skeptics get wrong about the dram...
04/12/2020
Answering the Shutdown Skeptics | Commonweal Magazine

"Stay home if you can, not in fear but in solidarity." Santiago Ramos on what shutdown skeptics get wrong about the dramatic measures to curb COVID-19.

Is the cure really worse than the disease? Now is the time for responsibility and solidarity, not skepticism about public authority.

The work of Chicago-based Coalition for Spiritual and Public Leadership has managed to do something new in our midst. Gr...
04/11/2020
Modeling Change | Commonweal Magazine

The work of Chicago-based Coalition for Spiritual and Public Leadership has managed to do something new in our midst. Griffin Oleynick reports on how their example could help transform a stalled, divided Catholic Church.

Community organizing and activism are happening beyond traditional parish structures, generating vitality and purpose from which many parishes could stand to learn.

From inside the quarantine of a retired priests’ residence, Fr. Imbelli reflects on the Body of Christ—not as some stirr...
04/11/2020
Privileged & Vulnerable | Commonweal Magazine

From inside the quarantine of a retired priests’ residence, Fr. Imbelli reflects on the Body of Christ—not as some stirring theological notion, but as an ever-present reality.

Our residence for retired priests in New York has already experienced two deaths. Even so, Christ is present in routine, natural beauty, and above all, prayer.

In January, Princeton's Firestone Library unsealed the epistolary romance between T. S. Eliot and Emily Hale, revealing ...
04/11/2020
‘My Lady, My Saint’ | Commonweal Magazine

In January, Princeton's Firestone Library unsealed the epistolary romance between T. S. Eliot and Emily Hale, revealing the extent and undeniable influence of their thirty-year long relationship.

T.S. Eliot’s letters to Emily Hale, recently unsealed, reveal the extent of the their thirty-year epistolary romance, and Hale’s undeniable influence on his poetry.

On Good Friday, we are asked to recall Jesus's Way of the Cross. Patrick Henry reflects on a time with Fr. Daniel Berrig...
04/10/2020
Bread Arrives | Commonweal Magazine

On Good Friday, we are asked to recall Jesus's Way of the Cross. Patrick Henry reflects on a time with Fr. Daniel Berrigan, SJ where the via dolorosa became a “school of mercy.”

On Good Friday, we are asked to recall Jesus's Way of the Cross, and to walk with the destitute, the dying, and the outcasts.

Who were the 'thieves' crucified with Jesus? A look at how the slippage of translation might expand our traditional unde...
04/10/2020
The Revolution of the Passion | Commonweal Magazine

Who were the 'thieves' crucified with Jesus? A look at how the slippage of translation might expand our traditional understanding of Dismas and Gestas.
https://buff.ly/2x6J85t

Thieves, bandits, terrorists, freedom fighters, or revolutionaries: who were the ‘thieves’ crucified with Jesus? It depends on who’s labeled, and doing the labeling.

To quarantine is Christian: "Few would ask for this cup, but we must drink it—to serve God by serving our neighbors."
04/10/2020
An Act of Service | Commonweal Magazine

To quarantine is Christian: "Few would ask for this cup, but we must drink it—to serve God by serving our neighbors."

Quarantine during a pandemic is not demonic. Few Christians would ask for this cup, but we must drink it—to serve God by serving our neighbors.

This year, there are many accessible seats in the congregation at home. But it remains a problem at the core of our iden...
04/09/2020
Are All Welcome? | Commonweal Magazine

This year, there are many accessible seats in the congregation at home. But it remains a problem at the core of our identity as the Body of Christ when only some bodies can access our sacred spaces & liturgies.

Churches are spaces for every part of the body of Christ. By not making them accessible to disabled Catholics, we fail in our commitment to universal inclusion.

The papacy has endured "lockdowns" before, but how will today's highly visible pontificate, Pope Francis, endure a rigor...
04/09/2020
Papacies in Lockdown | Commonweal Magazine

The papacy has endured "lockdowns" before, but how will today's highly visible pontificate, Pope Francis, endure a rigorous regime of self-isolation?

This COVID-19 crisis is the kind of emergency that in the last two centuries has amplified the advantage the institutional papacy has over local churches.

In the fight against the virus, Hong Kong has shown that getting everyone to play their part in the common effort is not...
04/09/2020
Hong Kong & the Coronavirus | Commonweal Magazine

In the fight against the virus, Hong Kong has shown that getting everyone to play their part in the common effort is not only crucial, but also possible.

Facing the challenges and dangers posed by the pandemic, one cannot simply rely on or blame those in authority. Good government now matters more than ever.

The late Terrence McNally’s work included one play that stirred considerable controversy among American Catholics. It’s ...
04/08/2020
Sex & ‘the Human Focus’ | Commonweal Magazine

The late Terrence McNally’s work included one play that stirred considerable controversy among American Catholics. It’s worth revisiting that debate today.

The late Terrence McNally’s work included one play that stirred considerable controversy among American Catholics. It’s worth revisiting that debate today.

With Bernie Sanders out of the presidential race, a look back at why the left should resist the comforts of defeat.
04/08/2020
Beautiful Losers | Commonweal Magazine

With Bernie Sanders out of the presidential race, a look back at why the left should resist the comforts of defeat.

Melancholy is a familiar feeling for the left, but there is danger in preemptively settling for "virtuous defeat."

As the Democratic primary continues, would Biden do enough to push for big structural change?
04/07/2020
Good, but Not Good Enough | Commonweal Magazine

As the Democratic primary continues, would Biden do enough to push for big structural change?

Joe Biden has adopted Elizabeth Warren’s bankruptcy plan, reversing his 2005 position. But even with it, will he be able to address the underlying causes of debt?

This #WorldHealthDay, Catholic hospitals face a unique challenge on the frontlines of COVID-19 trying to "balance the di...
04/07/2020
Critical Needs | Commonweal Magazine

This #WorldHealthDay, Catholic hospitals face a unique challenge on the frontlines of COVID-19 trying to "balance the dignity of the person with the common good."

Catholic hospitals are already underfunded. With COVID-19 cases rising, they face an ethical dilemma: how to distribute limited resources in favor of the poor.

How do we bring different communities together in one parish? Fr. Hector Madrigal in Amarillo, Texas shares best practic...
04/07/2020
The ‘Heart Work’ | Commonweal Magazine

How do we bring different communities together in one parish? Fr. Hector Madrigal in Amarillo, Texas shares best practices of the "heart work" to welcome, accompany, and empower different cultural communities.

An interview with Fr. Hector Madrigal, pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Amarillo, Texas.

In an interview with John Gehring, Sr. Donna Markham shares how Catholic Charities USA is responding to the crisis of CO...
04/06/2020
‘Without Compassion, I Fear We Are Complicit’ | Commonweal Magazine

In an interview with John Gehring, Sr. Donna Markham shares how Catholic Charities USA is responding to the crisis of COVID-19 and what you can do to help.

Besides the federal government, Catholic Charities is the country’s largest social-safety-net provider. It’s now facilitating access to food and mental health care.

When every day seems like another tipping point, what does it mean to face this pandemic together?
04/06/2020
In the Time of Pandemic | Commonweal Magazine

When every day seems like another tipping point, what does it mean to face this pandemic together?

The coronavirus crisis will likely demand the kind of collective sacrifice not seen since World War II. It will also challenge how we live together in society.

Like livestream masses, shared parishes were almost never the result of a pastoral plan. Yet these ad hoc responses can ...
04/06/2020
Joy and Strain in Shared Parishes | Commonweal Magazine

Like livestream masses, shared parishes were almost never the result of a pastoral plan. Yet these ad hoc responses can be sources of growth, learning, and celebration.

Linguistic and cultural differences can create tension in shared parishes, but they are also sources of growth, learning, and celebration.

As theaters go dark, independent films are falling through the cracks. Thankfully, a special program featuring films abo...
04/05/2020
The Art-House at Home | Commonweal Magazine

As theaters go dark, independent films are falling through the cracks. Thankfully, a special program featuring films about nuns is now available online.

COVID-19 restrictions have had a devastating impact on independent cinemas. But thankfully, a special program of films about nuns is now available online.

This Palm Sunday, suffering and human frailty is not just Jesus’ story, but our story. Publisher Tom Baker on how we can...
04/05/2020
The World at Its Worst | Commonweal Magazine

This Palm Sunday, suffering and human frailty is not just Jesus’ story, but our story. Publisher Tom Baker on how we can bring ourselves closer to Christ this Holy Week.

It will be hard this week to be without our parishes, our friends, and the Holy Week liturgies. But maybe even in solitude, we can be given new life.

Timothy Radcliffe on this time of isolation: "However lonely I feel, I am not alone, for at the core of my very being is...
04/05/2020
Living in Isolation | Commonweal Magazine

Timothy Radcliffe on this time of isolation: "However lonely I feel, I am not alone, for at the core of my very being is Another."

Even if we cannot get to the Eucharist, we can still enact symbols of communion to fight the destructive effects of isolation.

Resist the narrative of doom and gloom for the parish today—our new collection is a portrait of community and hope in a ...
04/04/2020
The American Parish Today | Commonweal Magazine

Resist the narrative of doom and gloom for the parish today—our new collection is a portrait of community and hope in a changing U.S. Church.

The U.S. church is not so much in decline as undergoing a profound transition, a reality we can and should joyfully embrace.

Social distancing, lockdowns, masks in public? Roberto J. De La Noval on what makes us resist these life-saving measures...
04/04/2020
Common Sense Isn’t Enough | Commonweal Magazine

Social distancing, lockdowns, masks in public? Roberto J. De La Noval on what makes us resist these life-saving measures.

Why do we resist hard truths about social distancing? Group and general biases, and difficulty recognizing our own fragility, help explain it.

Forget the Zoom-and-gloom: put down your devices and pick up these new books.
04/04/2020
Politics Needs Poetry | Commonweal Magazine

Forget the Zoom-and-gloom: put down your devices and pick up these new books.

Many of us are familiar with the absurdity-unto-death that is working remotely. Forget the zoom-and-gloom: put down your devices and pick up these new books.

"Never had leadership looked so lonely. Never had it been so essential." Austen Ivereigh on last Friday's extraordinary ...
04/03/2020
The Pope & the Plague | Commonweal Magazine

"Never had leadership looked so lonely. Never had it been so essential." Austen Ivereigh on last Friday's extraordinary Urbi et Orbi.

Service, self-abnegation, solidarity, fraternity, courage: in the trial at hand, the grace of conversion is available to the whole of humanity—including the church.

Is the cure really worse than the disease? For Santiago Ramos, all this theorizing from shutdown skeptics lacks a robust...
04/03/2020
Answering the Shutdown Skeptics | Commonweal Magazine

Is the cure really worse than the disease? For Santiago Ramos, all this theorizing from shutdown skeptics lacks a robust sense of responsibility.

Is the cure really worse than the disease? Now is the time for responsibility and solidarity, not skepticism about public authority.

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If I recall correctly, universal salvation was a theme in Origen and the idea of eternal damnation is totally rejected in Judaism, the religion Jesus practiced. I remember the bad old days when reading a book proscribed by the church, going to a "dirty" movie or eating meat on Friday could earn you a very long stretch in a very nasty neighborhood. I'm glad someone has come out against eternal damnation. It's about time we stopped having a servile fear of God and started being careful of our ethics because of love of God and one another.
Just read Andrew Bacevich’s article and wonder what he thinks now
The Editors' comments about Spiritual Communion in their piece "In the Time of Pandemic" miss the point: Spiritual Communion is in and with the Body of Jesus Christ, and the Eucharist and as a Church, not just among individual "distanced" believers.
Imbelli's just posted opinion piece - initial reaction is that he criticizes Faggioli for lack of documentation to support his case.....and yet, Imbelli provides no documentation to refute or even indicate that his *interpretation* is more balanced or solid? He makes the point that Faggioli did not provide actual events, statements, etc. that show Benedict *retreating* from Vatican II. Just a partial list from an admittedly knee jerk reaction position: no mention of the canon law revision that most experts find failed to take into account or reflect the documents of VII; the suppression of hundreds of theologians which contradicts VII documents; multiple events and decisions that *turned back* liturgy e.g. rejecting VII liturgy document in terms of translations, inculturation, much less advancing VII liturgy directions; failure to advance or complete the VII desire for synods vs. preplanned papal events; celibacy (what Imbelli defends is not exactly what VII said or desired - it is only his opinion); and one could go on and actually link each cited issue above to VII documented statements. Finally, we get the *usual* Imbelli link to *Christology* - geez, if Benedict can underline Christology, then it follows VII (his example of Benedict's scripture works - please, scripture scholars describe these not as works of theology but personal reflections).
Massimo Faggioli's Feb 14th article: "Francis Sidesteps the Synod's Recommendations" concludes with the final comment: "the sense of many Catholics is that this might be the last best chance for institutional reform—and that this also might be the last generation of Catholics willing to believe it’s possible. The moment is a crossroads for the Francis pontificate" -- and for the "modern" church as well.
For those who wanted the changes proposed by the Synod on the Amazon and now are disappointed that the Pope did not go far enough, in their eyes, what if the Pope had agreed with them and Bishops in the Amazon were given permission to ordain Married Deacons to the Priesthood. How long would it have been before other Bishops did likewise ? And would you have told those who sought to retain the discipline of unmarried Priest, that their views were outdated and demanded that all Bishops conform to these new teachings of the Church ? By having the Synod, the door has been opened wider to the changes proposed by the Synod. Change takes time and may take a new Pope or two.
I am not sure who invited me to read this outstanding article on Mayor Pete, but I encourage you to read it as well. It is long but well worth your time if only in that it gives a wonderful synopsis of the Democratic party's struggle for its soul. I remain undecided about Mayor Pete as our Party's candidate for the Presidency, but I am convinced that he is and will remain a viable candidate in the wings for future national leadership.
When I was a grad student at Fordham, a Jew in a Catholic theology department, we had a student who didn't leave me in peace. His Catholicism was that of Chaput--rigid traditionalism. I was very uncomfortable and went to my graduate advisor, a diocesan priest and biblical scholar --to ask what I could do. "Tell him to screw off," he said "and if he tries to harrass you when I'm around,I'll tell him to screw off." I realized then that I was in a safe place. A new Catholic church will be comfortable with non-Catholics and allow them to feel comfortable with Catholicism. The late Lubavicher Debbie said of secular Jews that you can't bully them into observance; you show them what it is and then love them into being Orthodox. You welcome them! Maybe the way to get people into church is to make it welcoming and nourishing with articulate homilies and priests with open arms--and minds. I finished my degree with great respect for the church.
This should be read by all pastors, bishops and permanent deacons. Proclamation of the gospel and preaching are primary. Service leadership is secondary.
Thank you for the article, Vatican Diplomacy & the Iraq War: Unheeded Warnings. One comment: when asked, at the time, by a reporter what he had to say to the average soldier about their role in pending unjust attack against Iraq, the Pope’s emissary Cardinal Pio Laghii said something to the effect that his remarks were intended for the authorities not the average soldier. In saying this, he, and the Vatican and US church, abdicated their responsibility to offer guidance to the soldiers about what was clearly an immoral war. Had they done so, the utter destruction of Iraq and the loss of so many lives might never have occurred. In contrast, here is what Bishop John Michael Boeten of the Romanian Catholic Diocese of Canton, OH said about the pending invasion of Iraq in his Lenten Message of March 7, 2003: “Since war is about the mass infliction of death and suffering on children of God, Christians can enter into it and fight in it only if the war in question strictly meets all the criteria of the just war theory, and only if these same standards are likewise meticulously observed in the course of fighting the war. Vague, loose, freewheeling, conniving, relaxed interpretations of Catholic just war theory and its application are morally illegitimate [as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says] because of ‘the gravity of such a decision.’ [The Catechism continues,] ‘The evaluation of these conditions of the just war theory for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good,’.... (2309) However, [the Bishop continues] the nation-state is never the final arbiter or authority for the Catholic of what is moral or for what is good for the salvation of his or her soul. What is legal can be evil and often has been. Jesus Christ and his Church, not the state, are the ultimate informers of conscience for the Catholic.” Finally, Bishop Boeten draws this conclusion: “According to this theory, if all of the conditions it specifies are adhered to, the killing that is done in fighting a war may be justifiable and therefore morally allowable. This theory also teaches that if any one of the standards is not met, then the killing that occurs is unjust and therefore morally impermissible. Unjust killing is by definition murder. Murder is intrinsically evil and therefore absolutely forbidden, no matter what good may seem to come of it.” Bishop Boeten concluded his message with this instruction to his people: “any direct participation [in] and support of this war against the people of Iraq is objectively grave evil, a matter of mortal sin. Beyond a reasonable doubt this war is morally incompatible with the Person and Way of Jesus Christ. With moral certainty I say to you it does not meet even the minimal standards of the Catholic just war theory.”
We live in a promiscuous world. From the dawn of mankind's creation, they have fought against right and wrong. So many don't believe in either, doing what they want. That's the easy way out. Man's truly selfish nature runs rampant with indifference for self gratification. The Catholic Church teaches as Christ. It doesn't tell one what to do and not do. It teaches as Christ. What morality is and what it is not. One's conscience is one's judge. The Church has one big answer. We work at following Christ. The way He lived. The way He taught and the way He gave up His life to bring us to Our Father. If one can't take the heart of Christ's truth, That's between that person and our God. Not between that person and a representative of Christ, doing Christ's work. To mock a leader of good representing Christ, is no doubt, unknowingly, mocking God, perfect good.