A group Catholics Against Militarism that their focus in 2013 “is on discouraging donations to the first-ever nationwide collection for the Archdiocese of Military Services in November (in most churches on Nov. 10), and moreover encouraging Catholics to voice their objection to this collection by placing statements of protest in the collection plate on that day.” I was surprised there was a Catholic Military Archdiocese and doubly surprised that the Catholic Bishops conference authorized a special collection for the Military Archdiocese. I had questions about a military chaplaincy until I read another article by Father McCarthy called The Christian Military Cahalaincy. Here is Father McCarthy’s take on this military collection in Catholic Churches.
Then What is a Military Diocese?
A Mafia Chaplaincy?
(No hyperbole intended)
by Emmanuel Charles McCarthy www.centerforchristiannonviolence.org
War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses. I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers.
There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
It may seem odd for me, a military man (with two Medals of Honor) to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
The flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.
-Major-General Smedly Butler, U.S.M.C. (Ret.)
Air Force Lt. Col. Douglas Cunningham, a Roman Catholic priest, has a security clearance that allows him to be in the control room during active bombing missions by drone operators killing human beings on the other side of the earth from a clean, well lighted, climate-controlled room about five miles from the Walmart in Syracuse, NY. Since his arrival, Cunningham has tried to gain the trust of the pilots of the Predator drones so he can see if the stress of switching between dropping bombs and helping their children with homework is starting to wear on them. Cunningham tries to offer some comfort. “I let them know,” Cunningham said, “They are protecting life.” (Brian Bennet, Tribune Washington staff, 7/30/12)
So, if as General Butler says “War is a racket,” then what should the special national collection that is to be taken up this autumn during the Sunday Masses in the Catholic Churches of the United States for the Military Archdiocese be called? The son of a racket? Conscripting Jesus as a fundraiser in order to put more loot at the disposal of a racketeering operation?
When a combo of two of the wealthiest institutions—the U.S. Military and the U.S. Catholic Church—on the planet comes hat-in-hand, looking for “spare change” in the name of the Lord during the supreme act of worship of the Church, from people trapped and daily being crushed by a usurious and rigged economic/political system, and does it in order to bestow Christ’s seal of approval on the “muscle men” for a long running racket, what name should be put on such a national Sunday Mass collection?
Now every group should have a Christian chaplain if it wants one, including the Mafia. But the Mafia should have no say on what its Christian chaplain can and cannot preach. But, what kind of chaplaincy would it be that taught everything Jesus and the Church taught, except those matters that related to the activities of the Mafia’s “finger men, muscle-men,hit men, brain men and Big Bosses?” And, what if the Mafia would not hire them and let them into their ranks unless they agreed to publicly remain silent on these matters? What kind of Christian chaplaincy would that be? It would be a sugar daddy Christian chaplaincy.
But, for a “kept” chaplaincy to then go hat-in-hand to put the bite on ordinary, good willed people coming to the Sunday Eucharist, who are themselves having a very difficult time making ends meet, so that this chaplaincy can continue to effectively preach the Gospel of its uber-wealthy Sugar Daddy Godfather instead of the Gospel of the Father of Jesus Christ, the Father of all (Eph 4:6), requires a level of impudence and gall that few other than desensitized power mongers could muster.
St. Augustine on the state being a Mafia-esque racket writes,
“Kingdoms without justice are similar to a gang of robbers. And so if justice is left out, what are kingdoms except great robber bands? For what are robber bands except little kingdoms? For the robber band also is, like the kingdom, a group of men governed by the orders of a leader, bound by social compact, and its booty is divided according to a laws agreed upon. If by repeatedly adding desperate men to its number this plague grows to the point where it holds territory and establishes a fixed seat, seizes cites and subdues peoples, then it more conspicuously assumes the name of kingdom, and this name is now openly granted to it, not for any subtraction of cupidity, but by addition of impunity.”
The root issue behind all of this is that every racket has its victims, victimizers and those who profit from victimization. Every racket, whether legal or illegal, romantic or sordid, degrades its racketeers, causes pain to others and is evil. The bigger the racket the greater the pain that is brought down on other human beings and the more horrid the evil that is let loose in the human condition.
The obligations of a Christian chaplaincy in such an operation would be what? To spiritually comfort the robber band’s hit-men in their murderous violence and its Big Bosses in their insatiable cupidity?
And the role of a Christian in relation to a Military Diocese that is part of such a racket should be what?