My Letter to William Cardinal Keeler

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“The Church in America is…in near perfect allegiance to the State!”

— The late Phil Berrigan, Apostle of Peace, and Dissenter Emeritus. [1]

February 11, 2007
William Cardinal Keeler
Baltimore, MD

My dear Most Eminent Cardinal:

The Bush-Cheney Gang is evil! It’s like a Vampire preying on its helpless victims. In folklore, a wooden stake was driven into the black heart of the man/devil to finish it off. [2] As a people of the Law, we don’t have that option available. Thanks to its damnable lies, over 655,000 innocent Iraqis are now dead, 3121 of our bravest troops have been killed and another 25,000 seriously wounded. Billions of U.S. tax dollars have been wasted, about $8.4 billion a month, and counting. I’m sure the rising negative feelings in the country against the mega-War Hawks, who are running our Republic into the ground, will lead, eventually, to the U.S. Congress finding the courage to impeach and remove from office both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. [3] Meanwhile, can you, Your Eminence, do anything to stop this war in Iraq? This is the reason why I am writing to you. Also, I’m convinced that Bush-Cheney Gang’s latest insane scheme, a/k/a, “The Surge,” is a pretext for it to launch yet another immoral war–against Iran! [4]

I know that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, is against the war in Iraq, because he has said so. (4) I know that you, and your fellow Bishops, are “on record” as being against it, as well. Somewhere, buried deep down in the archives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, of which you are a leading member, there is a policy statement opposing the Iraqi War. If your brush it off, I’m confident that you will find numerous footnotes to St. Thomas Aquinas, one of Italy’s finest sons and a brilliant theologian. His theorem on what constitutes a “Just War” is still holy dogma. If any RC Bishop is asked, they will quickly confirm that the Church opposes the war in Iraq. But, the Bishops are also against abortion. We know how strongly they feel about it, and the faithful does as well. The faithful gets the Church’s message about abortion. It is burned into their psyches as school children and most of them take it to their grave. Yet, I constantly meet RCs, who are anti-Choice, but condone the Iraqi War. In fact, many of them are rabidly pro-Iraqi War! So, what gives?

Questions: Why hasn’t the antiwar policy of the Bishops, blessed by the Pope himself, informed the conscience of so many of the RC laity in this country, as the abortion issue obviously does? Is the Bishops’ antiwar position just for show? For PR purposes? And, what about the Bishops’ all-too-cozy relationship with the Bush-Cheney Gang, dating back before the 2004 election? We now know that the Iraqi War was launched based on serial lies. [3] Isn’t lying a serious sin, particularly under such lethal circumstances? Iraq, a country of 27 million, has been devastated by the preemptive war scheme of the Bush-Cheney Gang. Isn’t that a sin, too, and a huge one by any theological standards? Yet, the Bishops’ silence about the evildoings of the Bush-Cheney Gang has been deafening. Why? These queries deserve answers.

"Not a few of our more prominent Bishops have even waited upon the Presidency, like court jesters…" — Phil Berrigan [1]

Also, I can’t help but notice how antiabortion Bishops occasionally bark about not giving Holy Communion to an elected RC politico because he doesn’t like his or her pro-Choice position. But, you never hear any Bishop taking that same hard line against a pro-Iraqi War politico, like the insufferable Rep. Peter King (R-NY); or against a media-based warmonger, such as windbag Bill O’Reilly. Let me suggest a reason for this clerical double standard.

I suspect that the Bishops are “only” against the Iraqi War “on paper!” The faithful, for the most part, seem to know that to be the truth. Let me also speculate why this is so. The Bishops, I believe, (but I can’t prove), made an unholy bargain, “a devil’s pact,” in the summer of 2004, with the Bush-Cheney Gang. In exchange for their electoral support of Bush and Cheney, the Bishops got two anti-Choice seats on the U.S. Supreme Court–Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito! What do you think of that possible scenario? For my detailed script on how all of that could have gone down, check out this footnote, that refers to Bush speaking at a K. of C. national convention in Dallas, TX. [6]

I can only surmise about what I suppose to be the Bishops’ “covert” relationship with the Bush-Cheney Gang. I think that Bush’s brain, Karl Rove, knows the full truth about that association. He was, and still is, the key wire puller in the White House for Bush and Cheney. Absent the power to torture the information out of Rove, (like the Bush-Cheney Gang’s operatives have regularly done to unfortunate detainees at Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and rendition hell holes around the globe), I’m stuck with what is on the public record, along with a lot of unproven assumptions. If it smells like a deal was made between the RC Bishops and the White House, then the chances are–a deal was made. What do you think? If there was no deal brokered, as I have fancied, then how do you explain the mousey reaction of the Bishops towards the outrageous conduct of the Bush-Cheney Gang going back to March 20, 2003?

“We want to express our fidelity to the Church and the Chair of St. Peter, even as we sorrow over Christian myopia, hardness of heart, and even cowardice.” — Phil Berrigan [1]

Finally, shifting gears, I want to congratulate you on the ceremony, on Nov. 4, 2006, surrounding the splendid restoration and the honoring of the 200th anniversary of Baltimore’s Basilica of the Assumption, a National Historic Shrine. [7] It was a first rate affair. What was missing from the festivities, however, was the “Spirit” itself. It’s kind of hard to define, but when I was in the presence of late Phil Berrigan, I knew it was there. The antiwar messenger par excellence spent 11 of his 79 years behind bars in the service of Peace and Justice. As befitting such a humble servant of God, when the Lord called him home, he was buried in a simple wooden box. [8] His essence was truly indestructible! [9] If only more in the R.C. Church could follow Berrigan’s Spirit-driven path–a high road instructed by Jesus’ own words as taken from his “Sermon on the Mount.” [10] What would our America look like, Your Eminence, if the RC Bishops said “No” to the Iraqi War, and really meant it? Must Iran be “Iraqized” by the U.S. military before the Bishops, finally, condemn, on moral grounds, the quintessentially evil Bush-Cheney Gang?

Notes:

[1]. Phil Berrigan in a letter to Bishop William Baum of Washington, DC, dated, September, 1971, found at: http://www.thesocialedge.com/archives/tedschmidt/
columns-dec2002.htm. Check out a video of Berrigan, March 19, 2002, found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyHabFrICz4 It was his last public appearance, where he warned, "The times are ominous!" See, too, a video on Berrigan’s “Funeral Procession,” Dec. 9, 2002, held at St. Peter Claver’s RC Church, in Baltimore, which is located at this site:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmbeTXV
nckI&mode=related&search=

[2]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire

[3]. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/
http://impeachpac.org/ and
http://www.democracyrising.us/
http://www.worldcantwait.net/
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/16656258.htm
?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp

[4]. “Next Stop: Tehran,” Philip Giraldi, TAC, 02/12/07 issue. The author, an ex-CIA officer, quotes an Israeli Brigadier General, one Oded Tira, as saying: “An American [military] strike in Iran is essential to our existence.”

[5]. http://www.cjd.org/paper/benedict.html

[6]. http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/
display/10734/index.php

[7]. http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/
voices.php/2006/11/05/p11960#more11960

[8]. http://www.counterpunch.org/hughes1209.html See also,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmbeTXVnckI

[9]. “Only to the extent that man exposes himself over and over again to annihilation, can that which is ‘indestructible’ arise within him…and can our contact with ‘Divine Being,’ which is beyond annihilation, become firm and stable.” From “By Way of Transformation,” by Karlfried Graf Von Durckheim, at pp. 81-82. See also: http://www.thesocialedge.com/archives/
gerrymccarthy/3commentary-dec2002.htm

[10]. http://www.answers.com/topic/
sermon-on-the-mount and http://www.jonahhouse.org/

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