Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pope Francis,'..That Nuclear Weapons are Banned Once and For All' Dec. 7, 2014


   Winter 2014-15  Newsletter of The Lamb Catholic Worker

  By Monica Siemer
    We at The Lamb Catholic Worker (Columbus, Ohio) are giving top priority of our winter newsletter to the peace message of Pope Francis on December 7, 2014 to the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.  The text in its entirety is below, the transcript from Vatican Radio (search: "" and look for the Vatican seal to view what our beloved Pope has to teach- you sometimes will not find the "harder lessons" in some of the national or local Catholic papers).  This message would be fitting to publish across the land on January 1st, World Peace Day in the Catholic Church as well as Queenship of Mary, (Queen of Peace).
       "Nuclear weapons are a global problem affecting all nations and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home. A global ethic is needed if we are to reduce the threat and work towards nuclear disarmament. Now, more than ever, technological, social and political interdependence urgently calls for ethic of solidarity (cf John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 38), which encourages people to work together for a more secure world, and a future that is increasingly rooted in moral values and responsibility on a global scale."

        "The humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons are predictable and planetary. While the focus is often placed on nuclear weapons' potential for mass killing, more attention must be given to the “unnecessary suffering” brought on by their use Military codes and international law, among others, have long banned peoples from inflicting unnecessary suffering. If such suffering is banned in the waging of conventional war, then it should all the more be banned in nuclear conflict. There are those among us who are victims of these weapons [Hibakusha – Japanese survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII], as well as other victims of nuclear weapons testing who are present at this meeting. I encourage them all to be prophetic voices, calling the human family to a deeper appreciation of beauty, love, cooperation and fraternity, while reminding the world of the risks of nuclear weapons which have the potential to destroy us and civilization."
        "Nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethic of fr aternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states. Then youth of today and tomorrow deserve far more. They deserve a peaceful world order based on the unity of the human family, grounded in respect, cooperation, solidarity and compassion. Now is the time to counter the logic of fear with the ethics of responsibility, and so foster climate of trust and sincere dialogue."
        "Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of the nations. To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty. When these resources are squandered, the poor and the weak living on the margins of society pay the price."
        "The desire for peace, security and stability is one of the deepest longings of the human heart. It is rooted in the Creator who makes all people members of the one human family. This desire can never be satisfied by military means alone, much less the possession of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Peace cannot 'be reduced solely to maintain a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship' (Gaudium et Spes, 78). Peace must be built on justice, socio-economic development, freedom, respect for fundamental human rights, the participation of all in public affairs and the building of trust between peoples. Pope Paul VI stated this succinctly in his encyclical, Populorum Progressio: 'Development is the new name for peace' (76). It is incumbent on us to adopt concrete actions which promote peace and security, while remaining always aware of the limitation of short-sighted approaches to problems of national and international security. We must be profoundly committed to strengthening mutual trust, for only through such trust can true and lasting peace among nations be established (cf John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, 113)."
        "In the context of this conference, I wish to encourage sincere and open dialogue between parties internal to each nuclear state, between various nuclear states, and between nuclear states and non-nuclear states. This dialogue must be inclusive, involving international organizations, religious communities and civil society, and oriented towards the common good and not the protection of vested interests. 'A world without nuclear weapons' is a goal shared by all nationals and echoed by world leaders, as well as the aspiration of millions of men and women. The future and the survival of the human family hinges on moving beyond this ideal and ensuring that it becomes a reality."
        "I am convinced that the desire for peace and for paternity deep in the human heart will bear fruit in concrete ways to ensure that nuclear weapons are banned once and for all, to the benefit of our common home. The security of our own future depends on guaranteeing the peaceful security of others, for if peace, security and stability are not established globally, they will not be enjoyed at all. Individually and collectively, we are responsible for the present and future well-being of our brothers and sisters. It is my great hope that this responsibility will inform our efforts in favor of nuclear disarmament, for a world without nuclear weapons is truly possible."
"From the Vatican December 7, 2014
       It has been said that the greatest act of God is not in suffering so horrific and torturous a death for our sins and salvation, but the most profound act of all was in coming down from His glorious throne to become a human.  It is like one of us choosing to become a stinkbug, living among the others, attacking each other at times, and going off to live solitary lives alone in our aimless instinctive ways, ruled by our emotions and wants. In this great season commemorating our sweet Savior in His infancy, may we appreciate the great act this was, of our tender amazing Creator taking on our human form and becoming one with us!
"Incarnation"  by Fritz Eichenberg, Catholic Worker Artist
       Many of our advent daily mass readings involve expectant waiting and being alert, being awake to His surprise coming at any moment of any day.  Fr. Sylvester said that in this period of expectant waiting we love ourselves, we love our neighbor, and we love our God. To do this we have to forgive ourselves, our neighbor, and even our God at times, when we are perplexed about the happenings in our lives and our relationship with Him. We then begin to be reconciled with ourselves, our neighbor, and our God.  How do we do this and allow God to work on our hearts - through prayer!  Saint Padre Pio said that "Prayer is oxygen to the soul!" Keep searching, experimenting, and being open in ways you never have been, and giving different forms of prayer a good shot.  So many of our saints prayed in such an array of differing ways with different devotions that fed them!  That is the dazzling beauty of the Catholic Church!  "Catholic" means universal and there are so many multi-faceted approaches to the same Catholic faith, different spiritualities contributing to this most exquisite Bride of Christ (as He called her).
        I was able to see this most clearly at the Thomas Merton conference October 24 and 25 called, "Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest - 1964-2014."  It was in commemoration of Merton's famous retreat at Gethsemani that he organized many spiritual giants from several religions to help address the growing violence in the country and at the hands of our country (Vietnam War).  Merton himself was quite a conglomerate and paradox of maintaining the roots of the traditional and opening up to the Holy Spirit's new movings - as Christ had modeled in His time on Earth. There were people from all over the United States from several different religions who knew "truth" when they were beaconed toward it (in coming).  Fr. Robert Barron, in his 10 CD "Catholicism" series builds one CD around who Thomas Merton was, or Brother Louis, and then which saint impacted him the most, and so on.
       Here was Merton's spirit on entering the Trappist monastery at Gethsemani: " soon as Merton stepped into the halls of the monastery it was clear where he had arrived. 'I felt the deep, deep silence of the night,' he wrote, 'and of peace, and of holiness enfold me like love, like safety."  "... the embrace of it, the silence!  I had entered into a solitude that was an impregnable fortress.  And the silence that enfolded me, spoke to me, and spoke louder and more eloquently than any voice, the middle of the quiet, clean-smelling room, with the noon pouring its peacefulness in through the open window, with the warm night air, I realized truly whose house that was, O glorious Mother of God!"  Yes, Merton had an extremely close relationship with Mary, or who he called "Lady" many times.
Fr. Daniel Berrigan and Thomas Merton (Brother Louis) 
        One person at that retreat 50 years ago, Fr. Daniel Berrigan, was recently asked what one thing he is most proud of in His life, over which he has no regrets.  His answer to the interviewer without skipping a beat was, "My Jesuit priesthood."  As many people associate pacifist peace activists with lawlessness and rebellion, these two pillars of the Catholic peace movement, in addition to another Jesuit, Richard T. McSorley, have more than shown and proven their love and dedication to Christ and to His most beloved Bride, the Roman Catholic Church, unbroken in its chain of direction from Christ to St. Peter's all the way to Pope Francis. On that note, here are two last gifts to you, for this Christmas season.  The first is my favorite prayer that Thomas Merton wrote, and the second is one from St. Nicholas Flue.
Grounds of the Abbey at Gethsemani on my silent retreat

At the grave site of Thomas Merton, Brother Louis

Merton and the Dalai Lama

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going. 
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will
end.  Nor do I really know myself, and
the fact that I think that I am following
your will does not mean that I am actually
doing so.  But I believe that the desire 
please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I
am doing.  I hope that I will never do any-
thing apart from that desire.  And I know 
that if I do this you will lead me by the
right road, though I may know nothing
about it.  Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and
in the shadow of death.  I will not fear,
for you are ever with me, and you will
never leave me to face my perils alone."
                                       -Thomas Merton

"My Lord and My God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and My God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and My God, detach me from myself to give my all to you. Amen."                  - St. Nicholas of Flue
      We have no news to tell at The Lamb Catholic Worker in terms of our mission and service to the poor, besides being at around 25,000 views online, which is a very good thing.  The word is getting out and the interest is definitely there, especially among people I see.  I have had priests want me to come and give a talk, but I say that I have nothing to talk about yet - it is coming though!  We are in dire need of workers, of funds, and of support - especially becoming a "Sick and Suffering Co-Catholic Worker" willing to offer your suffering up for those of us trying hard to begin this Catholic Worker.  We do wait though in joyful, expectant hope, the central message of Advent season!  Our spirits are not daunted even if this will take longer. We wait in expectant, eager hope for this mission and vision to begin.  We will wait on the Lord.  He "does not delay."  His timing is perfect. Please pray for us.  Mother Mary, St. Joseph, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, please pray for us.
       One last note is that we want to show you another Catholic Worker and writings of a few Catholic Worker priests in this "Little Way" Durham N.C. Catholic Worker newsletter:

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