Volume 16, Number 5
Letter to the Editor: Reply to Doering
Letter to the Editor: Doering Responds
Letter to the Editor: untitled
The Politics of Archaeology
Of Briar Roses and the Dead Hand of Orthodoxy
The Catholic Closet: Don't Ask, Don't Exist
US Middle East Policy: Eyes Wide Shut
The Need for Systemic Change
Autumn of the Patriarch
1.6% to 2.4%
Kissinger on the Dock
Crashing the Party
Feel a Draft?
Letter to the Editor: Reply to Doering
In its last edition (February 2002), Common Sense published a very odd piece by Bernard Doering called "Trashing Maritain." It was odd for a number of reasons. For one thing, it was odd--very odd--to see in Common Sense a passionate defense of an orthodox and traditional Catholic (a Thomist, even). It is hard, furthermore, to understand the target audience: one of Doering's objects is to save Maritain's image as a "man of the left," but most of the readership of Common Sense--at least in my limited experience--has no knowledge of or sympathy with Maritain, and certainly would not be overly concerned if one more benighted Thomist turned out to be a conservative. It is odd that a review of a review should be so passionate, especially when the first review is over three years old and only three pages long. It is hard, also, to understand Doering's purpose in first presenting such a rant to the AMA and then publishing it--but I think we can get to the bottom of this and other oddities.
The review that provoked Doering's ire was Ralph McInerny's review of Jean-Luc Barre's Le Petit Troupeau. This review is short and quick, and a bit breezy (as so many reviews are). What angers Doering is its critical tone, and especially the fact that McInerny criticizes Barre by criticizing Maritain. That is, McInerny thinks that Barre is too uncritically accepting of the myth of Maritain. McInerny points out some of Maritain's faults and inconsistencies, as he sees them, and notes that they are not sufficiently addressed by Barre. You would think that such an exercise of debunking hagiography would be welcomed by liberal Catholics, respected at least even by those who disagreed with the particular conclusions.
Not so in Doering's case. He accuses McInerny of "culpable ignorance" and of being "mean-spirited." He cites a number of "experts" (including at least four anonymous ones) who are similarly outraged. What outrages Doering and his comrades most is McInerny's assertion that Maritain's excursions into the practical order were mostly disastrous.
Well, a three-page review is hardly the best place to look to sound the depths of an opponent's knowledge. McInerny has published numerous articles, and at least one book, on Maritain, and has dedicated much of his life to preserving Maritain's memory and disseminating his ideas. There are countless places Doering could have looked to see that McInerny is a devoted Maritainiste. But the interesting thing is that Doering need not have looked any further than the review he was reviewing. McInerny writes there that "Jacques Maritain was one of the greatest figures in the Thomistic Revival. ... He is a model of the Catholic intellectual." (Not only conservatives, it seems, quote out of context.) McInerny is a devoted Maritainiste--just not one that follows the great man blindly. It is friends who are best placed, and most obligated, to criticize.
So why did Doering write such a vicious review? To defend Maritain? Well, to defend his Maritain, the "man of the left." But such a figure is just as fictitious as Novak's Maritain, the "man of the right." McInerny might well have wished that Maritain had been more consistently conservative, but at least he has the integrity to admit that he was not. Accordingly, he criticizes; in doing so, McInerny speaks from his convictions. Whether or not he is right to criticize in this way, he is certainly right to point out the enormous complexity and, perhaps, inconsistencies, of Maritain. If the ideologue is one who is unable to accept that a great man whom he admires might have held opinions with which he disagrees, and who therefore re-writes history, it is not McInerny who comes out as one.
Doering's real reason for writing such a review comes out, I think, at the very end of his review. He writes, in effect, that if liberal Maritainistes do not excommunicate the McInernys and the Novaks of the Catholic right, they "may very well risk being marginalized with respect to European Maritain scholars, just as the Maritain Center has in fact become very marginalized at the University of Notre Dame." To avoid such a marginalization, he does not hesitate to demonize his longtime colleague (this brings us to the final oddity of his piece, its misnaming: it should have been called "Trashing McInerny"). Doering's chief concern, and his chief purpose in writing such a review, seems to be to allay the fear of being left behind by his more fashionable and more progressive peers. If so, then he is indeed a good liberal Catholic. No wonder he decided to publish this piece in Common Sense.
Christopher Toner is a graduate student in the Department of Philosophy. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is difficult to reply Mr. Toner's scattershot screed on my "rant to the AMA." He does not address the mistakes, distortions and injustices that I pointed out in Prof. McInerny's review of Jean-Luc Barr³'s Les Mendiants du Ciel. This is not surprising, since to all appearances he has not read the book that McInerny reviewed. Toner states that McInerny's review was simply "an exercise of debunking hagiography." If Toner had read the book, he would have found that Barr³ was quite critical of Maritain on several points, not the least of which was Maritain's admitted intransigeance in the years after his conversion and for which he publicly expressed regret on many occasions. If the only prize for this biography had been the Grand Prize for Catholic Literature, one might have had suspicions of hagiography. But it also received the Grand Prize for Biography from the Acad³mie Franaise, and they do not crown hagiographies
Toner did refer to one specific objection: McInerny's assertion that the "radical chic" Maritain "should not be taken seriously in his Walter Mitty guise" because "almost all of [his] excursions into the practical order were disastrous." Toner might have asked McInerny which "excursions" were disastrous and which not. What about Maritain's Lettre sur l'Ind³pendence, Freedom in the Modern World, Some Reflections on Culture and Liberty, Integral Humanism, The Mystery of Israel, Scholasticism and Politics, Ransoming the Times, Christianity and Democracy, The Person and the Common Good, Man and the State, Reflections on America?. Are all these excursions into the practical disastrous? These are the source of Maritain's great reputation at Notre Dame, in America and throughout the world and, along with his theoretical works, the reason why at the end of the Vatican II, Pope Paul VI put the Council's message to the intellectuals of the world into Maritain's hands.
Toner claims that I am defending my Maritain. I claim that my Maritain is the Maritain of the the Study Circle and Archives at Kolbsheim, of the French Maritain Association, of the Institut International Jacques Maritain in Rome and of most members of the AMA. Ever since McInerny began the publication of Catholicism in Crisis (now just Crisis) out of the ND Maritain Center, that Center has been an obstacle to cooperation between the European Maritain associations and the AMA because they do not realize that there is a very clear distinction between it and the ND Maritain Center. The early editions of Catholicism in Crisis were sent free to the representatives of the Maritain Associations everywhere. The Europeans saw through the pretense that "our association with the Jacques Maritain Center is [a] symbol of our intent to occupy the broad center of Catholic thought ". When in Vol. I, no. 9 McInerny printed a mean-spirited, petty rant against the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, letters to McInerny and to Father Hesburgh came from everywhere: from the Maritain associations in France and Italy, from members of the AMA and from many others who were disturbed by the misuse of Maritain's good name. Father Hesburgh suggested that McInerny hold a meeting with critics of the Maritain Center's sponsorship to discuss the problem. No meeting was ever held, and things continued on their course, until Msgr. George Higgins, last year's recipient of the ND Laetare medal, wrote to Father Hesburgh on March 12, 1985:
"Two articles in the current issue (March) are, in my opinion, completely irresponsible and simply must be renounced. I am referring to Ralph McInerny's mean-spirited and arrogantly pompous and patronizing attack on Joe....I intend to go public in defense of Bernardin...and would suggest, Ted, that you look for an opportunity to do the same....even though Catholicism in Crisis is not published by but only at Note Dame, McInerny and Company are deliberately trading on the good name of the University and have succeeded in creating the impression that Notre Dame is sponsoring CinC.....As you know, McInerny et al. are also trading on the good name of Jacques Maritain. . ."
Almost immediately, CinC was not only out of the Maritain Center, but also off campus. Still CinC (now Crisis) is presently displayed everywhere in the Maritain Center and the same atmosphere is maintained there.
Vukan Kuic, a Maritain scholar from the University of South Carolina, wrote: "I am sure that there are many followers of Maritain who wonder about this arrogant and arbitrary use of his name as well as of the prestige of the Center established in his name."
The late Mme. Antoinette Grunelius, a trustee of the Maritain Archives, wrote to McInerny: "I must call your attention to the fact that Jacques Maritain never let himself be put on the rolls of any group, and that it is not possible in my opinion that the Jacques Maritain Center be put to the service of an enterprise that is by its nature partisan." There are many other such remonstrances. Jean-Franois Northomb noted a "pre-conciliar mentality", a "kind of manichean socio-political vision, dividing the world between good. . . and evil. . . [Doesn't that sound familiar?] and "an attitude of intolerance, that is scarcely universal, extremely closed in on itself, yet having the great certitude of being right about questions that should require more modesty."
But nothing has changed. As an evidence that the Notre Dame Maritain Center has little concern for "preserving Maritain's memory and disseminating his ideas" one need only go to the Notre Dame Book Store, to the shelf reserved specifically for "The Maritain Center", to notice that Toner's "devoted Maritainiste" has not placed on that shelf one single book by Maritain or one single book about Maritain.
My advice to Mr. Toner is "Read the book." It is not at all surprising that a minor agent of this ideological empire should become exercised in reading something that makes public the fact that, as far as Maritain is concerned, his Emperor has no clothes.
May I add two words to Sarah Edward's excellent discussion of "Lynn Cheney's War on Freedom of Speech"?
"Defending Civilization" is a disturbing attack on academic freedom in that there is nothing subversive in any of the hundred-plus quotations (two, I report enviously, by my youngest daughter) provided by Cheney et al. But it is more a tactic in the refinement of the co-opting of the public in support of military actions since Vietnam. The mass media's readiness to be a propaganda arm for the Administration could be counted on: 95% of early network interviewees after 9/11 were government folk and none were from the left. Since Grenada and Panama, the Pentagon has carefully controlled press access to the battle zone so that we never learned how many thousands the Panama drug bust or the turkey shoot of Iraqi troops fleeing Kuwait killed so as to make judgments independent of media spin. The only remaining independent voices were the minuscule left press and academe. The university population being far larger than the left press's, Cheney's war was designed to neutralize criticism there.
Second (given the American Council of Trustees and Alumni's claim to association with education) "Defending Civilization's" flawed logic--that reservations about a Lone Ranger attack on Iraq when an international police action was indicated demonstrated, on its face, a disregard for the sacrifices the nation's founders made to establish freedom--rendered the project a ludicrous sophomoric exercise. (No insult to sophomores intended.)
A grace note: Thank you for sustaining my hope in Notre Dame! I passed around numerous copies of Ann Pettifer's piece on american jingoism after 9/11. Until the February number, I wondered if any Catholic publication would ever address head on the brutal Washington-supported repression of Palestinians. And good for Bernard Doering in challenging Ralph McInerny's trashing of Jacques Maritain for having strayed from the revisionist orthodoxy it would claim for him. When I was at ND and occasionally glimpsed Maritain, he was about as progressive a Catholic as one could be, as in advocating pluralism against the triumphalist political philosophy of the text used in Political Science 1. About the time I graduated, a benighted right-wing chaplain at Princeton University was openly attacking Maritain, among others then in the Institute for Advanced Studies there, which led to three Newman chaplains calling on the Apostolic Delegate in protest. Soon, all three were bishops!
William H. Slavick, '49
The Politics of Archaeology
Archaeologists, in Palestine/Israel as elsewhere, like to believe that archaeology and politics donÍt mix. But the fact is that archaeology in the Middle East, inclusive of Palestine/Israel, indeed especially in Palestine/Israel, has been heavily influenced by nationalistic politics from its beginnings with NapoleonÍs invasion of the Ottoman empire in 1798, and subsequently during the struggle between the western European powers seeking to profit by the collapse of the Ottoman empire which included Syria-Palestine. A recent book by Meron Benvenisti, Sacred Landscape. The Buried History of the Holy Land since 1948 (University of California Press 2000), looks at this history from a different perspective. Benvenisti was deputy mayor of Jerusalem in the seventies and is now a senior columnist for HaÍaretz, IsraelÍs largest newspaper. He is also one of the revisionist historians disliked by the extreme right. As a child he accompanied his father, a geographer and cartographer, in his travels around the country zealously engaged in the task of removing Arab names from the map of Palestine and putting Hebrew names in their place. This activity began under the British Mandate and was intensified after independence in 1948. Benvenisti demonstrates in fully documented detail how this cartographical work was the first stage in a process of ethnic cleansing (his term) which led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Arabs, the erasure of Arab villages (400 between 1948 and 1950), the demolition or confiscation of houses, the destruction of crops, and the massive expropriation of land, a process which, under changed but not improved circumstances, is still going on. He recalls with shame and anger witnessing as a boy, in April 1948, the survivors of the massacre by Jewish irregulars of the inhabitants of the Arab village of Deir Yasin being paraded through the streets of Jerusalem.
Since toponymy (the study of place-names) is an essential aspect of archaeology, it is hardly surprising if archaeological work in Israel was and still is influenced by the same political agenda. There are direct lines of continuity between the naming committee to which BenvenistiÍs father belonged and contemporary archaeology. Avraham Biran, the "grand old man" of Israeli archaeology under whom I excavated at Tel Dan in 1977, and who is still going strong in his nineties, was chairman of the Jewish National Fund Naming Committee during the Mandate. Politicians were, or used to be, interested in and sometimes directly involved in archaeological work. To cite a prominent example, Yigael Yadin, who excavated Hazor and Masada (of which more later), was commander of the Haganah before independence, chief of staff of the army following it, and deputy prime minister.
The political agenda also dictates a more or less fundamentalist reading of biblical texts and the routine contamination of archaeological with biblical data. As William Dever, a leading American archaeologist and by no means a hostile witness put it, Israeli archaeologists tend to read the Bible as a kind of national constitution (Biblical Archaeology Review 21.5, p.52). One of the stated objectives of the Israel Exploration Society, the premier archaeological organization in Israel, was to provide "concrete documentation of the continuity of a historical thread that remained unbroken from the time of Joshua Bin Nun (he of the Book of Joshua) until the days of the conquerors of the Negev in our generation" (S. Yeivin in Eretz Israel 1954 3:210). Wittingly or unwittingly, many North American archaeologists, recruited in the early days mostly from fundamentalist or evangelical Protestant seminaries, reinforced this political agenda by their enthusiasm for archaeology as a way of proving that the Bible was right after all.
Three examples will help to make the point. The first and best known is the claim that archaeology confirms the record in the book of Joshua and related biblical texts of occupation of the land by Israelites and destruction of Canaanite settlements, all carried out with divine warranty. On the Christian side, the leading proponent of this position was William Foxwell Albright, one of the icons of twentieth-century biblical scholarship, with whom several Israeli scholars, including the aforementioned Yigael Yadin, were in more or less complete agreement. This "conquest model" held center-stage from the 1930s to the 1970s and residually thereafter, but is now abandoned by most critical scholars. The reason is simple. Of the fifteen or so identifiable Cisjordanian "cities" captured and destroyed in the course of JoshuaÍs Blitzkrieg, only one, Hazor, has any archaeological evidence for destruction datable to the right period, the end of Late Bronze and beginning of Iron I, and even here no indication as to who were responsible for the destruction. Now archaeologists and historians are exploring different models, but in the absence of contemporary written sources, establishing ethnic identity on the basis of material remains is still an extremely tricky business.
We move on now several centuries to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., the deportations that preceded and followed it, and the prospect of the descendants of the deportees returning to Judah after the Persians displaced the Babylonians about half a century later. This shivat tzion, "return to Zion," is a defining moment in the consciousness of the Jewish people, and it was inevitable that it would be seen as an anticipation of the Zionist settlement in Palestine in modern times. The analogy is rendered more attractive by those biblical texts that represent diaspora Jews returning to a land emptied of inhabitants by the Babylonians, a proposition which, if true, would have the advantage of obviating embarrassing questions of legal ownership of land.
The question then inevitably arose whether this ñmyth of the empty landî could find support in the archaeological record, always incomplete and subject to revision as it is. A very definite answer was forthcoming from Professor Ephraim Stern, one of the leading Israeli specialists in the archaeology of this period. Stern argued, ostensibly on archaeological grounds, that the Babylonians devastated the entire region, all Judean cities were left in ruins, and there was no continuity in material culture. He therefore referred to the period preceding the ñreturn to Zionî as ñthe Babylonian gap,î the title of an article which he contributed to Biblical Archaeology Review for November-December 2000. It is impossible in the space allotted to me to examine the alleged evidence for destructions, case by case. (It will appear inm a summer issue of Biblical Archeology Review). Suffice it to say that, apart from the major fortified cities of Jerusalem and Lachish, where the evidence for destruction is unmistakable (layers of ash, collapsed structures, arrowheads), in most instances either the interpretation of the material remains, or the date assigned by Stern, or the identity of those destroying (Babylonians, Edomites, Egyptians?) is disputed. This is not a matter merely of personal opinion, but can be verified by consulting other archaeologists, including those who actually excavated the sites in question. The ñBabylonian gapî was the subject of a major conference in Tel Aviv last May in which archaeologists, historians, and biblical specialists took part, and which Professor Stern was unfortunately unable to attend. Among those of us who participated, practically all favored continuity and expressed skepticism about the reality of a gap in material culture at that time.
The shrinkage of the database in this instance is reminiscent of what happened to the ñconquest of Canaanî referred to earlier; a case of d³jö vu all over again. Here, too, we can detect an attempt to shape the past in conformity with a particular political program and in the service of a particular ideology.
Our last case history has to do with Masada, the fortress by the Dead Sea which held out against the Romans for three years after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D.70. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, the heroic resistance of the 960 Zealot defenders of Masada ended with their mass suicide following a stirring speech of their leader, Eleazar Ben Yair. The site was excavated in the 1960s by Yadin assisted by specialist units from the army, and the results were published in five large volumes. Yadin claimed to have found the skeletal remains of twenty-five of the defenders in a cave just under the summit of the rock. These remains were given a state funeral at Masada on July 7, 1969, in the course of which Yadin read EleazarÍs last speech.
Even before YadinÍs excavation, Masada had become a symbol of the new state of Israel encapsulated in the slogan ñMasada shall not fall again.î It was also the practice for new army recruits to be sworn in on the rock. However, many Josephus scholars entertain serious doubts as to whether the speech was ever delivered or the mass suicide ever took place. That JosephusÍ histories contain six or seven accounts of group suicides contemplated or carried out - of the ñyou go firstî kind when he himself was involved - suggests that the Masada episode is a literary trope rather than a factual account. Worse still: as a result of research carried out after YadinÍs death in 1984 by Joseph Zias, a physical anthropologist, and James Tabor, a biblical scholar now at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, formerly at the University of Notre Dame, it appears that Yadin knowingly did not publicize the discovery of pig bones in the same location as the human remains. Since the pig is of course non-kosher, this effectively rules out identification with the Zealot defenders, enthusiasts for the Mosaic law as they were. Since the Romans continued to occupy the site for several years after subduing it, and Roman burials often feature the sacrifice of a pig, it looks as if the state funeral was bestowed on MasadaÍs enemies rather than its defenders.
Archaeology is very much part of the ongoing attempt to understand the past, and this is nowhere more in evidence than in the Holy Land. In Israel as elsewhere, false understandings of the past, and dubious claims based on such understandings (E.g. ñGod gave us this landî), can fuel destructive ideologies and exact a terrible toll in human lives. One aspect of the archaeologistÍs role is to help dispel these wilful misunderstandings.
Joseph Blenkinsopp is Professor Emeritus in the Theology Department. He has contributed a number of articles to Common Sense.
Autumn of the Patriarch
Pope John XXIII by Thomas Cahill (Lipper/Viking, 176 pages, $19.95)
Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, later known as Pope John XXIII, discerned the signs of the times with semiotic urgency--and helped initiate, when least expected, a revolution. Looking back on John's Second Vatican Council of the early '60s--and the optimism it unleashed--is a sobering experience: How distant seams the council's attempt to clear the dead weight of the Nazi collaborator Pope Pius XII's legacy, how radical its embrace of modernity, and, well, how alien its promotion of a joyful, ecumenical and socially conscious Catholicism.
Though John only reigned for five years, his effect on ordinary Catholics and non-Catholics alike was extraordinary. As a young lad, l would visit my great grandmother's room at the top of the house and find, among the stagnant smell of bottled Lourdes water she swigged, in pride of place a photograph and letter John XXIII had sent her. I would also hear tales of the jokes Italians told about their Roberto Benigni-esque pontiff. Thomas Cahill recounts in his new biography a typical story of when Roncalli was the papal nuncio in postwar France:
"He was a delightful host with a superb kitchen, and he was not infrequently seen at diplomatic receptions with a glass of champagne in one hand, some- times with a cigarette in the other. At one of these gatherings so the story goes, he was approached by a woman of considerable d³colletage, who wore a large crucifix between her mountainous breasts. "Quelle Golgothe!" (What a Calvary!) exclaimed the nuncio merrily."
From the depressing vantage of the 23rd year of Pope John Paul ll's reign, John XXIII now seems a fluke. One wonders whether there are any reformers still out there in the reactionary age of the Pop Star Pope, when the dismal institutional shape of the church is belied by its leader's tarmac-kissing global profile. The Greatest Show on Earth! Six hundred and seventy thousand miles traveled on 84 papal trips! Thirteen million people in mass attendance! Fifteen thousand intimate personal encounters!
But as the media fixate on the pope's one-man band, the church itself is, as John Cornwell tells in Breaking Faith, "assailed by a grim accumulation of woes": plummeting attendance at mass, defections to other faiths, a collapsing priesthood, the decline of Catholic marriage and growing divorce rates, battles over academic freedom and Vatican centralism, fraught questions over sexuality, reproduction and the role of women.
Conservative Catholics blame the crisis on a "culture of death''--abortion, sex before marriage, homosexuality--promoted by secular society and its culture industries. They often speak in conspiratorial terms about Catholic-bashing in the media, as if the problem was the media, not the extraordinary level of sexual hypocrisy and abuse in the ranks of the clergy. And so, in an age of political correctness, Catholicism has self-pityingly adopted an embattled posture of ''the faith that dare not speak its name." At a special synod in 1999, the bishops of Europe claimed Europeans lived ''as though God did not exist.''
Cornwell's Breaking Faith, Cahill's Pope John XXIII and Garry Wills' Papal Sin are, by and large, sincere, liberal interventions into the debate on the future of the church, a debate magnified by the pope's frail age and the speculation over who might succeed him. All three authors concede that secular pressures have had a remarkable effect on the Catholic congregation but insist that it is the nature of the papacy--its institutions and its disastrous response to modernity--that bears that ultimate responsibility for the Church's parlous state.
It seems strange now to think that when an alliance of Latin American and German-speaking cardinals secured the election of Karol Wojtyla as the world's first Polish pope, they thought, as Cahill reports, ''they were getting a pragmatic and theological progressive.'' Though John Paul's role in Solidarity is often over-stated, his effect was remarkable, and it's here that his image as a champion of social justice and religious freedom resides.
At Solidarity's height, Daniel Singer reported that the pope was "gathering huge and enthusiastic crowds, dominating the political stage, speaking like the spiritual master of the land. ... His triumph was the certificate of ideological and political bankruptcy for an allegedly communist regime.'' In fact, as Singer slyly noted, the miserable state of Polish communism bestowed on the Polish church--which had a miserable pre-war record of its own--a "new virginity . . . Instead of an institution on the side of exploitation and inequality the pope looked like the redeemer, not just a spiritual shepherd, but the champion of national and social revolt.''
John Paul's intervention now looks like rank opportunism. While he has paid lip-service to the rights of working people and the poor, even uttering sentiments last May Day that could be construed as vaguely anti-globalist, the pope has used all the resources at his disposal to contain and isolate the radical Liberation Theology movements of Latin America. Elsewhere, he has halted the democratic direction of Vatican II, transforming bishop into "branch managers'' resending to his diktat, promoting an oppressive intellectual culture that muzzles religious dissent among the clergy (hounding them out for their views on AIDS, homosexuality and the ordination of women) and issues gag orders to controversial theologians at Catholic institutions.
Cornwell describes this as a "new inquisition'' transmitted through authoritarian ecclesiastical structures and vehemently conservative Catholic media. The late Bernard H¹ring, a moral theologian who had been persecuted by the Nazis, fell victim to John Paul's church because of his dissident views on contraception. "I would prefer Hitler's courts to another papal interrogation,'' he wrote in the British Catholic weekly The Tablet. "Hitler's trials were certainly more dangerous, but they were not an offense to my honor.''
Wojtyla's Catholicism has a cold, metallic embrace, ''morose, even morbid, with little place for laughter or enjoyment'' as Cahill suggests. The baptized faithful are called to chastity, ''whether they are married or single,'' sex being only chaste if performed in a state of marriage and fertility. As Garry Wills blithely notes, John Paul makes the sex act so holy that only monks are worthy of it.''
Then there is the creepy cult of the Virgin Mary so close to John Paul's heart that he claims it was she who saved him from an assassin's bullet in 1981; the Virgin supposedly foretold the attempted assassination in her prophecies in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. For Cornwell, these tales are the "apotheosis of papal narcissism and egotism''--prophecies about communism and atheism that have rallied a "dark, apocalyptic" right-wing cult that John Paul is quite cozy with.
Both Cornwell's and Wills' books are propelled by a deep Catholic faith that complement and overlap each other, but there are differences of emphasis, organization and orientation. Cornwell is a well-traveled and well-connected journalist, cut from the cloth of English liberal Catholicism. Breaking Faith is in many ways a deeply confessional memoir about Cornwell the former seminarian who left and then, many years later, rejoined the Catholic fold, interlaced with a journalist's journey through the nooks and corners of contemporary Catholicism. Like any journey, there are peaks, troughs, wrong turns and detours, and sometimes the blend of memoir and reportage is structurally awkward.
But few writers, as he has shown in his two previous books, A Thief in the Night and Hitler's Pope, know the inner world of official Catholicism as thoroughly as Cornwell. Much of the book, chatty and anecdotal as it is, is fascinating, especially its exploration of the conveyer-belt-like quality of the papal beatification machine (one a week, historically unprecedented) and the miracles industry But Breaking Faith is ultimately motivated by Cornwell's great fear that the church is heading for another great schism if another pope of John Paul's character succeeds him--which is likely, since a majority of new cardinals are his picks.
Cornwell is contemptuous of traditional Catholic conservatives, "some of whom do not care that the Catholic Church might dwindle to a small remnant to achieve authentic integrity.'' But even if he is sympathetic to a radical communitarian vision of the church, he is deeply ambivalent about its effect on the church's health, fearing that progressive calls for radical decentralization are "unrealistic'' and likely to inflame certain centrifugal forces. Cornwell is in a sense a religious Fabian and advocates Catholic regeneration animated by the spirit of agape that flourished under John XXIII--a religious and political pluralism driven by the collective imperative to love unjudgmentally, orchestrated by a benevolent and loving pope. But Cornwell's model closely resembles the state from classic liberal theory, an ideal type that may well be as unrealistic as the progressive model he critiques.
Garry Wills' Papal Sin is a far more focused polemic, a dazzling, relentlessly reasoned account that locates the current crisis in the church's institutional and ideological structures. Why, he asks, is it that though the media are fascinated by church teaching on birth control, abortion, celibacy and women priests, there is (largely) a burning silence about these issues in our everyday Catholic life? Conservatives claim the laity are too resistant to church teaching while priests are too cowardly to transmit it. To the contrary, Wills avers: ''The arguments for much of what passes as current church doctrine are so intellectually contemptible that mere self-respect forbids a man to voice them as his own."
"Even a bright and devout man like Pope Paul VI," Wills writes, ''could endorse (in 1968) a truly perverse teaching on contraception--one rejected by his own picked panel of loyal and intelligent Catholics, priestly and lay persons--because advisers [including our present pope] convinced him that it would shakes people's faith in the church for the papacy to reverse course.''
Truth therefore is subordinated to ecclesiastical tactic, "a structure of deceit,'' where the imperative is to maintain a pristine papal record. Even though theoretically the pope is infallible only on "doctrines of faith,'' the assumption of infallibility colors all areas of papal conduct.
This tactic was especially evident upon the recent, disgraceful publi- cation of We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, a commemorative papal document on the Holocaust that devoted most of its energy to absolving the church. We Remember cleverly separates the exterminatory logic of Nazi anti-Semitism from an older, defunct anti-Judaism characterized by a mistrust toward the Jewish religion per se that portrayed Jews as Christ-killers, which ''some Christians'' had erroneously used to justify scapegoating and discrimination: ''The Shoah was the work of a thoroughly modern neo-pagan regime. Its anti-Semitism had its roots outside of Christianity.''
One of the virtues of David Kertzer's new book The Popes against the Jews is that it demolishes this phony division erected between ''our anti-Semitism and theirs.'' For Kertzer, the devils are in the details of the Vatican archives and the Catholic media of the past 200 years. Barred from property ownership, the professions, the university and travel, confined to the ghetto, made to wear yellow badges on their clothes, forbidden nominal social intercourse with their Christian neighbors ... doesn't that sound familiar? Those were the rules of the Papal States, when the Jews were hounded as mere deicides, before "modern'' anti-Semitism arrived.
Church anti-Semitism was remarkably supple, however, relaying and ultimately dovetailing with the modern, pseudo-scientific brand when, after Italy's unification (and the church's loss of its Papal States) in 1871, Pope Pius IX declared jihad against modern, secular and democratic life--which he conflated with Jewry and freemasonry. Leading Jesuit journals, cleared by the Holy See, would devote thousands upon thousands of words ranting about Jews being a parisitic "race, people and nation.'' Such imagery and conspiracy theory inspired the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which would later resonate with leading church members. The church ultimately took aim at communism--which it conflated again with a masonic Jewish conspiracy--and as Kertzer duly notes, ''fascism had much to recommend itself" to the Catholic hierarchy.
Vatican apologists tend to prize a few rare, repentant, pro-Jewish remarks Pius XI made late in his reign, including a secret encyclical he was having prepared on the subject in 1938. But the damage had been done a decade and a half earlier, when he, with indecent haste, recognized Mussolini, thereby neutralizing any anti-Fascist resistance from the Catholic Popular Party, which was allied with the Socialists. In 1932, Pius Xl's papal nuncio in Berlin--the future Pius XII--concluded a similar deal with the ascendant Nazis, killing any opposition from the faith-based, anti-Nazi Central Party.
Much is also made of the fact that both Piuses protested Nazi and Fascist policy. But the terms of protest were limited to complaints about the breaking of concordats the Vatican had entered into with Hitler and Mtlsrytplini--no word about the persecution of the Jews. And when the Vatican protested the racial laws of both regimes, it was because the Holy See didn't like the laws concerning Jews who had converted to Catholicism.
The church claims, retrospectively, that it would have been too dangerous to confront the Holocaust publically, even though the Danish Lutheran State Church, the French Catholic Bishops, the Orthodox Bulgarian synod of bishops and the Greek Orthodox archbishop of Athens' public denunciation of the Nazi onslaught against the Jews had a remarkable effect on saving Jewish lives..
And finally, as the controversial Holocaust historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen asks in a recent issue of The New Republic: ''Why, as a moral or practical matter, did [Pius XII] excommunicate all Communists in the world in 1949, including millions who never shed blood, but did not excommunicate a single German or non-German who served Hitler?"
Of this the church is silent. Wills contends that because of the structures of deceit embedded in the church, We Remember's official take on the Shoah "not only ignored the past centuries of persecution . . . but it denied that Christians had any role in inflicting the Holocaust. ... Its memory, far from being useful to the cause of true understanding that would prevent another Holocaust, is useful only to the fiction that the Vatican wants to maintain abut itself."
To add insult to injury, the church embellishes such fiction in its recent attempts to '"Catholicize" the Holocaust by beatifying Nazi victims who happened to be Catholic as religious martyrs, even they were killed either for their anti-Nazism or because they were Jewish converts.
By contrast, even as scathing a critic of Catholic anti-Semitism as Goldhagen reserves these words for John XXIII: ña progressive and humble man ... a genuine friend of the Jews, having himself, as papal legate in Turkey, saved the lives to many Jews during the war by providing them with counterfeit baptismal documents.î Though Cahill's biography is brief and impressionistic, the spirit of John XXIII leaps from every page and embraces the reader. A Roman chambermaid once asked Hannah Arendt, ''Madam, this pope was a real Christian. How could that be?"
It could be because John was schooled in a social Catholicism that often had been suppressed by the official church. Its soil was working-class and peasant Italy, with its socialist, anarchist, trade unionist and anti-clerical but Christian traditions: a tradition, we might say, that despite Pius XII, saved more than 80 percent of ItalyÍs Jews from Holocaust. Wills recalls such a tradition at the end of Papal Sin when he invokes the anti-authoritarian models of Sister Helen Prejean ñtelling people that capital punishment is revenge and not a Christian action,î Daniel Berrigan ñcaring for those stricken with AIDS," and his brother Philip "telling us that no one has the right to build weapons that can destroy the world.î
You don't have to be a believer to believe that this is a tradition worth fighting for.
© In These Times, March 4, 2002. Carl Bromley has written on culture and politics in The Nation, Cineaste and Croonenbergh's Fly. He is currently working on a novel.
Toxic Presidential Rhetoric: Bush's Global-Warming Smog
Welcome to Political Jeopardy. The category is "How Dumb Do They Think We Are?" The first answer: "The biggest insult to the intelligence of American citizens in recent days." It's only a fifty-dollar question, for the reply is too damn obvious: George W. Bush's new global warming plan. And, no, that shouldn't read "anti"-global warming plan, for his proposal will literally add fuel to the fire.
Before continuing with this rant, some background. During the 2000 campaign, Bush declared that were he to win he would reduce America's emissions of carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas. This statement was surprising, given that Bush seemed to be the love-slave of Corporate America, and much of this community has opposed mandatory reductions of global-warming gases, which is the centerpiece of the 1997 Kyoto accord on climate change. These days, business-oriented conservatives in Washington, who were shocked by Bush's pronouncement on carbon dioxide, believe they know how such apostasy made it through the doors of his campaign headquarters. They blame Ken Lay, for Enron had been one firm hot for Kyoto. Its natural gas division would benefit greatly, if the United States and other industrialized nations had to cut back their consumption of fossil fuels, and Enron's wheeling-dealing pirates were all set to take advantage of any Kyoto-encouraged system to trade emissions credits.
But that was then. After Bush slipped into the White House, a policy dispute broke out. Silly ol' Christine Todd Whitman, Bush's EPA administrator, actually believed Bush had meant what he said, and so did Colin Powell, the new secretary of state. They argued that the United States, which produces about 25 percent of the planet's human-source greenhouse gases, should stick with the Kyoto process, which was endorsed by every other major industrial nation. Most everyone else in Bush country said, take a hike. And that's what Bush did, shooting the rest of the world the finger and essentially telling countries like England, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Micronesia, "who cares if rising sea levels threaten your people, there's not going to be any sacrifice in the U.S. of A. to help you, sayonara, baby." (It's not clear, though, how much sacrifice would be required; in the past 30 years the United States has cut much pollution without derailing the economy.) After an uproar ensued, Bush grudgingly conceded that scientific research does indicate global warming is under way and poses a genuine threat, and he promised to devise an alternative to the Kyoto process.
At that point, it was hard to figure what Bush would do. His fundamental objection to the Kyoto accord was that it established mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that compel the industrialized countries to cut these pollutants below 1990 levels by 2010. (And these reductions did not go as far as many climate scientists advocated.) If the problem is that human endeavors are spewing too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, how could Bush design a solution that was not based on reducing emissions? No shocker here: he couldn't.
On February 14, Bush unveiled his plan. Speaking at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bush said, "I reaffirm America's commitment... to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate." Nothing wrong with that. But his next sentence was the give-away: "Our immediate goal is to reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions relative to the size of our economy."
See the sleight of hand? "Relative to the size of our economy." Since the U.S. economy is growing, even if it's a bit sluggish of late, this means emissions can continue to rise, as long as the rate of emissions increase is below the rate of economic growth. Bush is not calling for real reductions, he is pushing for slower increases. Talk about accounting tricks. It's as if he hired Arthur Andersen to craft his global warming plan. And Bush intends to achieve his "goal" through voluntary action -- meaning tax credits to encourage companies and individuals to decrease emissions. His plan would grant companies that produce greenhouse gases credits for merely monitoring and reporting their emissions, not reducing their output, and these firms could then sell their pollution credits to other companies, which could use the credits to increase their emissions.
Bush won't force a single greenhouse gas polluter to do a thing. As Democratic Senator John Kerry -- who is pondering running for president as a pro-environment candidate -- puts it, "The notion that an entire industry will volunteer to significantly cut their pollution is pure fantasy. As we have in almost every aspect of environmental law, we need to set firm and achievable targets, to create markets for new technologies and innovation, and enforce those targets. The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Act have worked not because they were well-intentioned but because they are mandatory."
Back to Bush's speech: "My administration is committed to cutting our nation's greenhouse gas intensity -- how much we emit per unit of economic activity -- by 18 percent over the next 10 years. This will set America on a path to slow the growth of our greenhouse gas emissions and, as science justifies, to stop and then reverse the growth of emissions." Note the artful (as in dodger) use of the phrase "cutting our nation's greenhouse gas intensity." To the casual listener, it may sound as if Bush is demanding a decrease in global warming emissions. But he is endorsing an increase. Some policy wonk well earned his paycheck by composing this Orwellian malarkey. Bush even hints that there may not be a scientific basis for halting the "growth" in U.S. emissions -- a proposition that most climate scientists would find laughable. The National Academy of Sciences has said global warming could lead to "large, abrupt and unwelcome" changes in the climate, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- which is made up of 2,500 scientists -- warns human-induced global warming could cause average temperatures to rise by up to 10 degrees this century.
In a way, Bush is selling out his own father. Ten years ago, President Bush the Elder signed on to the Rio Agreement, which committed the United States to cutting back to 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, U.S. emissions have gone up 14 percent. Bush's proposal would add to that. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, which based its calculations on the White House's own data, emissions will increase another 14 percent in the coming decade under the Bush plan. (In his speech, Bush also called for mandatory restrictions on three power-plant pollutants that don't cause climate change -- mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides -- but his plan would delay by ten years cuts now required by the Clean Air Act.)
At NOAA, Bush said that if "by 2012 our progress [on global warming emissions] is not sufficient and sound science justifies further action, the United States will respond with additional measures," such as more "voluntary measures." 2012? That is a convenient date for him. By then -- if he is lucky and the atmosphere is unlucky -- he will be preparing to depart Washington, leaving the next guy (or gal) holding an ever-expanding large bag of hot air.
"Addressing global climate change will require a sustained effort over many generations," Bush noted. That's misleading, suggesting there's plenty of time. The scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say that dramatic effort must begin with this generation and that if strong steps are not taken soon, the opportunity to redress global warming may be lost. Climate science is an incredibly complex field, but think of human-induced atmospheric change hitting a critical mass point at which various chain reactions are triggered that cannot be undone.
Bush is pulling a flim-flam, acting like he's for reducing greenhouse gases, but providing cover for further emissions. He is hiding behind the smog of toxic rhetoric.
Copyright: TomPaine.com, Feb 15 2002. David Corn is the Washington editor of The Nation. His first novel, Deep Background, a political thriller, was published recently by St. Martin's Press.
The American Jihad: The Entanglement of Religion and the War on Terrorism
It was with no small amount of surprise that I learned God--who hasn't made an official statement since the Ten Commandments--is on the side of America in the war on terrorism. As one can well imagine, I was relieved to hear this because only months earlier, in fact two days after the terrorist attacks, the nation had been informed by Pat Robertson that God "allowed the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve." But he evidently was mistaken because Attorney General John Ashcroft and President George W. Bush have confidently contradicted his claims on many occasions.
In a speech loaded with biblical quotes and religious references, Ashcroft made this very claim to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. "It is a conflict between those between those who believe that God grants us choice and those who seek to impose their choices on us," Ashcroft said."It is a conflict between inspiration and imposition; the way of peace and the way of destruction and chaos. It is a conflict between good and evil. God is not neutral between the two." This hauntingly echoes the sentiments of President Bush, who, nine days after the September eleventh attacks, in an address to Congress said, "The course of this conflict is not yet known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty have always been at war. And we know that God is not neutral between them."
Good and evil seem to be recurrent themes in this war on terrorism. Not only is America united; church and state are also starting to forge together. A recent example of this was the State of the Union Address. President George W. Bush made headlines--and waves--by referring to Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as an "axis of evil", making a not so subtle comparison to the Axis Powers of World War Two (who incidentally are now our allies) and alluding to parallels between the two. And after it was announced that Osama bin Ladin was likely behind the attacks, Bush immediately dubbed him "the evil one", a term commonly used to refer to Satan. When Bush refers to the terrorists it is usually with the term "evildoers".
Bush's skewed black-and-white perception of good and evil has been rightfully criticized by many and gives cause to worry. David Talbot of Salon.com states that the President "utters the world 'evil' the way a child does when it first dawns onhim that there is darkness and danger in the world, and only his goodness and courage stand in its way." President Bush sees himself as waging a holy war, America firmly united behind him, standing up for all that is good by bombing an impoverished nation and killing or injuring innocent civilians in the pursuit of stateless terrorists.
The religious rhetoric employed by George Bush, John Ashcroft, and many others is seen as alarming by those who belong to minority religions, especially Islam, and advocates for church and state separation. In the wake of the attacks, many Americans turned to religion for solace and comfort and now religion has become intertwined with government in the sudden surge of patriotism. Conservative pro-family groups have advocated the placement in public schools of a poster of the motto "In God We Trust". Not only does this cause discomfort to those who may not believe in God or any higher power, but it also violates the separation of church and state. Mississippi has passed a law that would allow eleven by fourteen-inch "In God We Trust" posters to be displayed in and supplied for public schools. Michigan has included this measure as part of homeland security legislation. As of now, South Carolina, Utah, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, New
Jersey, Virginia, and Indiana are also considering a homeland security bill that includes the display of this motto in public schools. Larry Spalding of the American Civil Liberties Union has denounced this as "a means to get religion in the schools through the back door." John Ashcroft and George Bush have spoken out against using the war on terrorism as a reason to attack Muslims but Ashcroft told a columnist that "Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you."
James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute observed that Ashcroft "seems to be projecting himself as a religious leader," forgetting that as Attorney General it is his job to defend the Constitution, not promote a religious agenda. Ashcroft leads credence to this claim by his daily prayer meetings in his office in the Justice Department and his now infamous declaration that "we [America] have no king but Jesus." I assume that this is the same Jesus who exhorted his followers to love their enemies and do good to those who hate, if I remember correctly. Quotes from the Bible regularly appear in his speeches and Ashcroft is apparently well versed in the Bible but he has all but ignored Romans 12:19 which plainly states, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord".
The unity of America is purportedly the most vital weapon in this war on terrorism but the union of church and state is nothing short of unholy. The boundary between church and state is being slowly eroded and what were formerly affairs of state have risen into the realm of religion. Free speech is a vital, if not indispensable, facet of America. The separation of church and state is another, equally indispensable facet. We have seen the horrifying evidence of the merging of church and state with the Taliban of Afghanistan and other theocracies. Now, the lines between church and state are blurred and John Ashcroft and George W. Bush have become the authority on God and God's will. Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, these two men, in their cries for war, have ignored a key four-word term in God's last known statement: Thou shalt not kill. Unless God has gone back on his previous official statement and lifted the ban on killing in the interests of John Ashcroft and George Bush. In that case, heaven help us.
Sarah Edwards is a Saint Marys freshman and a member of Common Sense.
The Catholic Closet: Don't Ask, Don't Exist
"Saint Mary's is like a dysfunctional family. It is an all women's college that is afraid to say the word 'feminist'." Jennifer Warner, a 1998 graduate of Saint Mary's College said at the alumnae panel that concluded SMC Sisterhood Week. The week, themed "Sisterhood Beyond Boundaries: Lesbian, Bisexual, and Straight Women in Community" kicked off with a keynote address by Reverend Jennifer Walters, an Episcopalian minister and Dean of Religious Life at Smith College, who came out as a lesbian twenty two years ago. Walters spoke out for solidarity among women regardless of race or sexual orientation and stressed that the spiritual side of sexuality must be addressed. "Avoiding looking at spirituality silences wholeness," she said as she spoke about the problems of denying the spiritual aspects of sexuality. She said that college campuses need to create a dialogue about religion and sexuality and bring these issues out into the open.
Other Sisterhood Week events included screenings of the films If These Walls Could Talk 2, which depicted the lives and experiences of three lesbian women from different eras and The Celluloid Closet, a documentary about the various portrayals of gays, bisexuals, and lesbians in films throughout the decades. Each film was followed by a discussion period in which students and faculty addressed such issues as the lack of legal rights that gays had to deal with, and still deal with today, stereotypes, media portrayals, and the silence and secrecy that surrounded, and still surrounds, gay and lesbian relationships.
But the last event of the week, "Boundaries Past and Present: Sharing Experiences with Alumnae", in which alumnae from different decades shared their experiences of being gay and lesbian at Saint Mary's College, proved to be the most moving and thought provoking. The panelists Ann Dromino '01, Jennifer Warner '98, Kelly Harrison '98, Vivien Strasky '85, and Claudia Traudt '73 told compelling stories of how they came to terms with their sexual orientation while living in a Catholic community, a community that all too often ignored them and tried to silence them. They spoke about the giggles and stares they endured, the whispers, the rampant homophobia, the loneliness, the isolation, and the climate of secrecy that sadly exists even today. Claudia Traudt eloquently declared "I cannot live a lie and hide what I am," feeling that denying who she was would be a sin against God and everyone else and that she had a vocation to be her personal self. She spoke about how her art had helped her at times and said that it was necessary to "heal fear by our witness."
Jennifer Warner and Kelly Harrison talked about their experience as a lesbian couple at Saint Mary's. Harrison described it as a "strange dynamic," being the only out couple on campus and being labeled "the lesbian" or "the other half of 'the couple.'" She also noted that The Courier, Saint Mary's alumnae magazine, was not present even though they had been invited. Warner described Saint Mary's as being "dysfunctional" and felt that it derived too much of its identity from Notre Dame. She asked, "Are we living up to what this community should be?" Ann Dromino, a participant in last year's forbidden production of The Vagina Monologues acknowledged that many of the problems that had plagued the other alumnae still existed. She described the climate as "conservative" and "reactionary" but she and the other women had made the best of it. They had created their space but what they wanted now was a sanctioned voice.
The desire for space and a sanctioned voice was a recurrent theme of the discussion. Vivien Strasky knew what it felt like to have no such space. During her years at Saint Mary's, she only opened up about her sexuality to two people. She spoke about the sadness that chronicled her years at Saint Mary's and said that she had no experience of "owning the campus". She shared a list with the audience, a continuum of the views that Saint Mary's has held of their lesbian students over the years. The continuum ranged from "You're the problem. Go talk to a priest" to "We could not exist without you," the latter level being one that she feels Saint Mary's has not reached yet. She called out for the College to create scholarships for lesbian students who have lost support from their parents, to hire and support out lesbians on counseling staff, and to explicitly include lesbians and gays in the curriculum. All the panelists agreed that the curriculum was lacking in that area, lamenting the fact that at Saint Mary's it is all to easy to avoid exposure to gay and lesbian issues and also to women's issues. If students desire to learn more about these issues, they must actively search out the courses and even then, the issues are underrepresented. There was a general consensus among the panelists that if students leave with the exact beliefs they came with, the curriculum is lacking. If they leave without ever having expanded their minds, being open to new ideas, questioning their beliefs, or confronting their prejudices, then what have they learned?
It is evident that the dialogue students engaged in at the alumnae panel should be an ongoing reality at the College. The prevailing student attitudes are that gay and lesbian issues don't affect them and that they shouldn't have to care about them because they are not gay or lesbian. This is unacceptable at a Catholic college which professes to "challenge students to promote human dignity throughout their lives" and to be "dedicated to the personal and social growth of its students." My challenge to Saint Mary's College is this: Come out of the Catholic closet and work toward eradicating the unspoken policy of don't tell, don't exist. The College has made many commendable advances over the years and owes much of the credit for this to the amazing alumnae who have contributed greatly to the community in many ways. But it isn't enough. More changes must take place before gays and lesbians can feel truly welcome on this campus. Gay and lesbian issues should be more represented in the curriculum and it should be mandatory for all students to learn about these issues and why they should be concerned with them. Diversity involves more than just race. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people should be protected under the anti-discrimination policy and have an officially recognized organization where they can go for support. Saint Mary's College must go beyond kindness and tolerance to genuine acceptance, recognition, and appreciation.
Sarah Edwards is a Saint Mary's freshman and a member of Common Sense.
The second month of the second year of the new century began with the two ways open to us set, as it were, side by side. In New York the World Economic Forum met privately and secretly, an elite collection of big business leaders, government officials, and their intellectual bodyguards--surrounded by a real bodyguard of thousands of police. Meanwhile, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, thousands of representatives of popular organizations from more than 110 countries convened publicly in the second annual World Social Forum. In New York, the Bill of Rights was suspended in the ways that have become typical for US and other police forces at these businessmen's meetings; in Brazil, something of the spirit of carnival pervaded the sessions.
The World Economic Forum brought together those whom the financial press have called--half in jest, all in earnest--"the Masters of the Universe." There were roughly four cops for every participant, and attempts to demonstrate against them were harshly controlled. In contrast, the World Social Forum opened with a colorful parade under the banner "Another World Is Possible"; thousands of people marched through the center of Porto Alegre, a Brazilian city that has had a labor-based social democratic government for a dozen years, to open a discussion of practical alternatives to the "neoliberal" privatization being cried up in New York.
There were a thousand "masters" in New York and perhaps 70,000 attendees in Porto Alegre, but the disproportion between the world economic elite and the rest of us is much greater. Those who control the disposition of the world's wealth--and hence the possibilities for the rest of us to employ the talents of our heads and hands--are a tiny group. Try as they might (and as the media demonstrate, they do try hard--there was little coverage of the Brazilian meeting in the US press), they cannot keep up the fiction that their interests coincide with those of the rest of us.
More than a hundred and fifty years ago, a now largely forgotten German student of the Greek and Latin classics described the "globalization" that had already come upon the world: "The masters of the universe [not his phrase, but a reasonable translation of it] have, through their exploitation of the world market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of reactionaries, they have drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it had stood ... They compel all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt their mode of production; they compel them to introduce what they call 'liberalization' into their midst, i.e., to become like themselves. In one word, the masters of the universe create a world after their own image."
And that world is one of sharp and increasing inequality. Noam Chomsky, one of the principal speakers at the World Social Forum, points to US government studies (from the Clinton years) showing that neoliberal economic integration will continue and enlarge the gap between "haves" and "have-nots." The Pentagon stated their simple conclusion: this gap will produce "turmoil among growing numbers of impoverished people throughout the world, who will have to be controlled by force." As Chomsky comments, "Apart from the horrendous consequences for the victims, that is also a prescription for global disaster."
The German student of a century and a half ago was of course Karl Marx, and he concluded his description of actually-existing globalization with a call for more, but of a different sort: "The working people of the world have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of all countries, unite!"
The question is not whether there will be globalization--as Marx noted, it has been around for centuries--but what form it will take. Will world-wide economic integration be under the control of those who met in New York and the people they work for--and therefore continue the subjection of the world's majority to the authoritarian institutions in which we carry on our working lives--or will it take the forms pioneered in thought and action by the popular organizations meeting in Porto Alegre?
The former are adamant that, in Margaret Thatcher's favorite phrase, "There is no alternative"--because they own all the important productive property, so decisions about how the world's wealth is to be invested are in their hands. The latter insist that another world--a human and humane world--is possible. These are "sharply different programs of globalization," Chomsky concludes. "Apart from whatever else one might think about it, the [New York] version really does threaten the survival of the species. One reason is that the underlying principles, if taken seriously, lead to the conclusion that it is quite rational to destroy the environment for our grandchildren...."
The Hebrew bible--the basis for all modern Christianity, Judaism, and Islam--includes the following exhortation: "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live." Life was on display in Brazil last week; in New York, death.
Questioning 'Non-Violent' Approaches in The Pro-Life Movement
The 'Abortion is Genocide' motif, coined by The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform in its 'Genocide Awareness Project' has gained a great deal of popularity as a pro-life method of demonstration in recent years. Every year, this group attends the annual March for Life in Washington D.C. with their gigantic billboards featuring photographs of mangled aborted fetuses positioned strategically over United States coins. They proclaim loudly that they simply intend to show the 'reality of abortion' and deny that the coins have propaganda value; instead, they are 'size references'. A friend and I joined other pro-life activists at the March for Life this year with the intention of challenging the GAP's approach to peaceful pro-life demonstration. As a Catholic pacifist, I encourage members on both sides of the abortion debate to challenge the notion that violence is embodied solely in physical interactions. To overlook emotional or intellectual forms of violence is to disregard its most insidious forms.
The aim of the GAP is to address abortion as a form of genocide, and that approach is at the very least, an imaginative one. The enormous photos of aborted fetuses are intended as imagery for protesting abortion in the same way that photos of lynched blacks were used to protest racism during the Civil Rights Movement. The director of the GAP is a former two-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by the name of Gregg Cunningham. He was not happy to learn that my friend and I were from the University of Notre Dame--the GAP approached the Notre Dame/Saint Mary's Right to Life group several years ago and asked whether they would sponsor a GAP visit (billboards and all) to the Notre Dame campus. ND/SMC Right to Life refused.
Despite the fact that many pro-life activists dislike the approach of the GAP, Father Frank Pavone, President of Priests for Life (an organization of clergy active in the pro-life movement) is an avid supporter of the project. As a result, Catholics may be led to believe that the GAP's methods of protesting abortion are within the bounds of Catholic social teaching. After all, both Father Pavone and the GAP claim that their approach is wholly non-violent.
These assertions are puzzling in light of the phenomenon known as Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome. Typically, the pro-life movement acknowledges PASS as a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They often criticize the pro-choice movement for de-legitimizing the illness; they feel that it is a move meant to deny the detrimental effects of abortion on women's health. Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome is aggravated by 'stressors'--stimuli that exacerbate the symptoms of PASS and further trauma. According to a study by Mika Gissler, a member of the Editorial Committee for Health Statistics "the suicide rate after an abortion [is] three times the general suicide rate and six times that associated with birthƒthe rate for women following a live birth [is] 5.9 per 100,000; following miscarriage 18.1; following abortion 34.7." Besides suicidal ideation, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual dysfunction, and depression are included among the symptoms of PASS. Moreover, evidence shows that untreated PASS is linked with child abuse in families in which mothers have previously aborted children. Because women suffering from PASS are extremely vulnerable to their own self-destructive impulses, they are encouraged to seek intense therapy so that they may come to terms with feelings of guilt, loss, and shame.
The fact that women on their way to abortion clinics have seen the GAP's photos and have changed their minds about aborting their child is one of the GAP's claims to fame. They cite this as a redeeming quality of the project, and often stave off criticism for their methods by recounting these instances. No doubt, the stories are true. But in my lengthy conversation with Mr. Cunningham and his fellow protesters there was never mention of the women who had already had abortions--women who could be very adversely affected by the staggering images of bloody dismemberment. Instead, I was repeatedly told that it was 'worth it' to save one child irrespective of whether another person had to suffer the emotional harm of those photos. The pictures as potential 'stressors,' then, are permissible if they change one woman's mind. In other words: a little terror for a little charity.
As a form of emotional or intellectual violence, the photos are not only dangerous to women suffering from PASS but they also desensitize the general public--particularly children--to violent images. Indeed, the GAP clumsily (and perhaps accidentally) acknowledges the damaging effects of its photos on children when Mr. Cunningham responds to a note from a pro-choice activist: "If abortion is a good thing, why would the sight of it drive a child into psychotherapy?" However, when confronted with the allegation that the photos are a form of violence, advocates of the GAP deny that they have overstepped the boundaries of peaceful protest on the grounds that they are protesting a form of violence. As if protesting violence precludes the possibility of doing so violently.
Catholics may find it interesting to note that Pope John Paul II acknowledges non-physical forms of violence in The Gospel of Life, #3 (italics added):
"Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself, whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, where people are treated as mere instruments of gainƒall these things and others like them are infamies indeed."
Insofar as the GAP billboards qualify as 'torments inflicted on body or mind,' their approach should be recognized as incompatible with Catholic social teaching. As for the matter of whether they do qualify as such 'torments,' let's not forget the damaging effects the violent images have on women with PASS, children, and the mentally ill (particularly schizophrenics for whom even minimal exposure to violent images is strongly advised against).
Other objections to the GAP's billboards are also relevant to the passage above. The GAP behaves as though the bodies of aborted babies belong to the pro-life cause. Aborted fetuses are treated as 'mere instruments of gain' as their damaged remains are slapped onto billboards, modeled aside coins, all for the purpose of a 'reality check.' When it comes to 'posthumous dehumanization,' the GAP points its many fingers at abortionists. In a pamphlet widely distributed by the GAP, Gregg Cunningham compares the treatment of aborted fetuses to the burial of three friends—murdered civil rights activists of different races whose families were forced to bury them separately against their wishes but in accordance with rules of segregation. He quotes a Los Angeles Times report from July 3, 1984 which chronicled the finding of remains of more than 16,000 fetuses in a repossessed shipping bin that were not given burial as human remains because of a Court of Appeals ruling. In drawing this analogy, Cunningham's critical tone ascribes a certain value to the deceased human body that seems to be ignored when the fragmented remains of aborted fetuses are paraded on his organization's billboards.
In terms of a 'reality check,' however, the GAP certainly delivers. When mothers who have had abortions see the GAP's photos and exclaim that they 'didn't realize it was a baby,' and that now they 'can't continue to deny that it is a child' the GAP commends itself. However, this does not testify to the integrity of the method. After all, it is the realization that the fetus looks like a baby at various stages of development that has the sobering effect—not the gore. Like these mothers, I agree with advocates of the GAP that a 'reality check' is warranted. But this 'reality check' can be accomplished in a more constructive, less invasive, and less exploitative fashion. A non-violent alternative to the GAP's means of executing a 'reality check' might entail the replacement of its billboards with biological material chronicling the development of the fetus upon fertilization. There are enough 'reality checks' in the intricacies of biological development. These should be put to good use; women should know what happens inside of their bodies throughout a pregnancy. It is a poverty to be ignorant of the fine and elaborate structures of the developing human person. Nevertheless, photos of aborted fetuses are not necessary to educate women about the fetus's semblance to a baby.
To the claim that the GAP's billboards are more 'effective' than the proposed alternative I can only say that if this is the truth, then it speaks volumes about the character of our society and of the individual persons who constitute it. If we are so hardened and desensitized that only trauma can move us to reject abortion, then we are indeed poor. And yet, recognizing our poverty should we continue to nurture approaches that rob us of our beautiful (and perhaps a bit strategic) fragility? Or should we seek to re-infuse ourselves with a sense of innocence by resorting to less sensational methods?
All this said, I cannot but betray my disappointment in Father Frank Pavone's advocacy of the GAP. On January 6, 1995, Fr. Pavone spoke at the Minnesota Conference regarding Christian methods for non-violent protest of abortion: "We're to reject all violence. We're to protect all people, not just the ones we happen to want to protect." Priests for Life has continually denounced violent 'pro-life' terrorism at abortion clinics. In "Pro-Choice Rhetoric Leads to Violence," Father Pavone responds to the accusation that shootings at abortion clinics are evidence that pro-life demonstration instigates violence. He denounces pro-choice critics who make these accusations as individuals who "exploit the unfortunate shootings to their own advantage." Tragically, Father Pavone takes no notice of the exploitation of the aborted child in his support of the GAP's billboards. Moreover, Father Pavone claims that "Inflicting harm on persons or property is not an acceptable way of resolving [the abortion] problem or proclaiming our message." This is inconsistent with his support of a strategy that results in the mass de-sensitization of society.
Kelly Fabrega is a Senior in Philosophy and Pre-Medicine.
On January 31, 2001, a few hours before the New Year, Arlo Guthrie and a few other members of the Guthrie family joined in an upbeat rendition of Woody GuthrieÍs ñThis Land is Your Landî. The music was part of the New YearÍs celebration that concluded a year filled with tragic attacks, a new war, and renewed patriotic fervor. Music has been a conspicuous part of the patriotic revival; Lee Greenwood, the performer of ñProud to Be an American,î spent weeks atop the best sellers at Amazon.Com, and collections of American patriotic music have been placed in the front of music stores across the nation.
What is interesting about the music played and purchased since September 11 is how the message has been distorted along the way, as people become more and more blinded by the flag. Woody Guthrie did not write ñThis Land is Your Landî as a celebration of manifest destiny or American pride. It was an angry song, a bitter, sarcastic reply to Irving BerlinÍs ñGod Bless Americaî. Guthrie was a populist with a guitar; he traveled with and sang about the orphans of America, displaced and disowned dust bowl farmers. Is it not ironic then to see the music of a socialist, someone who emblazoned his guitar with the slogan ñThis Machine Kills Fascists,î used as a feel-good ñAmerica is number oneî anthem?
Sadly, this is not the only song that has been co-opted to serve an agenda opposed to the cause for which it was written. The most sad and blatant example is that of president Ronald Reagan using ñBorn in the U.S.A.,î a song written by Bruce Springsteen and extremely critical of America, as a campaign song. Reagan succeeded in picking one of the most outspoken protestors of his policies to support his campaign, a depressing irony at best.
In times of crisis, some of the most outspoken critics and concerned citizens of the world are musicians. In the populist era it was Guthrie and Seeger, during Vietnam it was Dylan, Lennon, and countless others. The 1980sÍ social conscience was R.E.M., U2, Bruce Springsteen; the 1990s had Pearl Jam. At this current time, one of the most active individuals in terms of debt and AIDS reform is U2Ís Bono. But is there not reason for worry when the people who are the obstacles to such reform steal the songs of these artists and use them for their own advantage? Should we not be concerned that the art of the left can be made the propaganda of the right?
After September 11, what was turned to first for comfort and healing was music. The enormously successful ñTribute to Heroesî telethon featured popular musicians playing emotional songs that spoke about the tragic moment the nation was in. Unfortunately, it would be all too easy for some people to skew these performances as patriotic numbers instead of what they actually were. In the words of Springsteen, these songs were a ñprayer for our fallen brothers and sistersî.
The dangers to popular music today unfortunately extend far beyond merely the misperception of meaning. A few days after September 11, a major music conglomerate named Sound Source released a list of songs that radio stations should not play in view of the terrorist attacks. Like most attempts at censorship, the hypersensitivity led to ridiculous results, such as the suggested banning of Peter, Paul, and MaryÍs ñLeaving on a Jet Plane,î and everything ever recorded by Rage Against the Machine. There was no public outcry against the list, except a small notice in Rolling Stone magazine. The deafening silence of criticism in America is corrupting the musical conscience of the country.
Can the musicians of today fight back against the taboo on making critical or controversial statements about the issues that surfaced in 2001? It is doubtful with the current complacency of the music scene, with money and not art being the primary focus. Social consciousness is at an extreme low, and given the economic success of the past few years, realism has only just begun to set in with the American people. Possibly there will come a time soon when meaning will be sought in music beyond songs about AmericaÍs fruited plains and the public will instead listen to ñMasters of Warî. That can only occur, however, when the messages of those few righteous artists are no longer stolen or silenced.
Liam Farrell is an Arts and Letter sophomore and a member of Common Sense.
Sharon's Lessons in Terror: A report from Jerusalem
"We must first strike the Palestinians a heavy blow, before we can begin negotiating peace," Prime Minister Sharon said on March 4th, only a few hours after Israeli security forces killed 17 Palestinians, 5 of them children. One of the adult fatalities was a 55-year-old woman from Jenin; another was Dr. Sliman Khalil, who was slain while evacuating the injured from a nearby refugee camp.
The evening before these recent killings, I went to a peace rally to protest the Israeli military incursions into two refugee camps, where an additional 24 Palestinians had been shot dead. As I was walking from my car towards the Prime Minister's house, the sound of a loud explosion reverberated through the Jerusalem night.
The ensuing echo of ambulance sirens left little doubt in my mind about what had happened. An hour later, while I was standing with a peace sign in hand, my mother called the cell phone to check whether I was all right; she told me that a suicide bomber had exploded himself outside a synagogue, killing ten guests who had been celebrating a Bar-Mitzvah.
There is no longer any room for doubt: violence begets violence. And it is within this macabre context that one must interpret Sharon's decision to employ more force.
Sharon, to be sure, is not mad. Yet, he realizes that in the past few days 31 Jews and 52 Palestinians have been killed, joining the over one thousand people--many of them children--who have died since the second Intifada erupted in September 2000. At this juncture, then, there are only a few ways to make sense of Sharon's sanguine logic.
Sharon's declaration, which has been rapidly translated into policy, will surely guarantee one thing--more blood will be spilled. But why, one might ask, does he want to escalate the violence?
The answer is straightforward. Sharon believes in a "greater Israel"--expanded borders rather than the surrender of territory. The only way to accomplish this objective is through an all out war. For if enough Jewish blood is shed, Sharon might in fact gain the legitimacy needed to embark on such a campaign.
1948 appears to be Sharon's historical reference point. During that war, the fledgling Israeli government decided to ensure a Jewish majority within what would become Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were evicted by force from their homes, thus creating the Palestinian refugee problem. The Palestinians accordingly refer to Israel's War of Independence as Nakbah, or "the catastrophe."
Currently, there are about 200,000 Jewish settlers living on occupied land amongst three million Palestinians. One solution to the crisis would be to dismantle all the Jewish settlements, bring the settlers back home, and establish a Palestinian state within the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. This solution, however, is antithetical to Sharon's expansionist aspirations. It is thus becoming more and more apparent that Sharon is actually interested in creating a situation whereby he can expel hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land. In order to do so, he needs a war.
Neve Gordon, a Notre Dame graduate, teaches in the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and can be reached at email@example.com
Kissinger on the Dock
Christopher Hitchens, The Trial of Henry Kissinger. Verso Cloth $22.00. ISBN 1-85984-631-9
Does Henry Kissinger, like Kafka's Joseph K, wonder why people are knocking on his door? He would claim the reasons for his arrest would be lies. However, according to Christopher Hitchens' book, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, there are good reasons for our former Secretary of State to be arrested and tried. Hitchens presents a list of offenses:
´ Deliberate mass killing of civilians populations in Indochina;
Not exactly minor indictments. "The above allegations," Hitchens continues, "are not exhaustive. And some of them can only be constructed prima facie, since Mr. Kissinger "has caused large tranches of evidence to be withheld or destroyed." To what extent prima facie evidence weakens Hitchens' case against Kissinger is obviously hard to determine. Apparently, Kissinger has made evidence of his role in catastrophic events inaccessible, not mentioned them in his memoirs or has lied about his involvement in them.
Hitchens claims that Kissinger and Nixon prolonged the Vietnam War by secretly sabotaging the Democrats' Paris Peace Talks in 1968. They made a secret deal with the South Vietnamese junta, telling them that if Nixon won the 1968 presidential election, Republicans could offer a "better deal than they would get from the Democrats." The junta then pulled out of the Paris talks, leading to four more years of war with "the same terms and conditions as had been on the table in 1968." The consequences of this secret Kissinger-Nixon plotting was 31,205 American and half a million Vietnamese casualties between 1968 and 1972, and the obliteration of much of Vietnam by heavy bombing and chemical defoliation.
This covert violation ñcynically carried out for tactical advantage in the presidential election" was then magnified by the American aerial attack on Laos and Cambodia in which up to 350,000 civilians in Laos, and 600,000 in Cambodia, were killed. These bombings were also executed in secret, rationalized by the claim that the Viet Cong supposedly had supply lines into these two countries. Though Kissinger habitually claims he was not in the loop in these and other acts of massive state violence by the United States, Hitchens indicates time after time that Kissinger was very much involved in them; he selected bombing sites with Nixon and was attentive to all the resultant "data."
Hitchens argues that Kissinger knew of and was involved in these illegal acts of war and terrorism. Using the evidence of a Saigon Bureau chief named Kevin Buckley, Hitchens shows that Kissinger was indifferent to the 5000 or more noncombatant civilians killed by the United States in the Mekong Delta province. Hitchens' dependence on prima facie evidence emerges here: "the degree of micro-management revealed in Kissinger's memoirs forbids the idea that anything of importance took place without his knowledge or permission. Of nothing is this more true than his own involvement in the bombing and invasion of neutral Cambodia and Laos."
Prima facie evidence is evidence that establishes a fact or that is immediately plain or looks convincing on first appearance--a definition which suggests that more evidence could be needed to make the case for Kissinger's criminal involvement in Indochina complete. More evidence resides in a short section of Trial subtitled "A Brief Note on the 40 Committee." Hitchens refers to this Committee as "a semi-clandestine body of which Henry Kissinger was the chairman between 1969 and 1976." He defines it as "a committee which maintained ultimate supervision over United States covert actions overseas during this period." Hitchens then draws the implication from Kissinger's position in this powerful committee that he can be assumed to have had "direct knowledge of and responsibility" for covert actions. Although this may not be smoking-gun evidence, when Hitchens combines it with other instances of almost certain involvement by Kissinger in mass atrocities and the assassinations of heads of state in nations with which the United States was not at war, Kissinger's culpability for war crimes appears even more likely.
Hitchens buttresses his indictment by referring to General Telford Taylor (chief prosecuting counsel at the Nuremberg Trials) and his book Nuremberg and Vietnam. Here, Taylor makes the stunning claim that if the American leaders responsible for waging the Vietnam War were judged by the same criteria as Japan's World War II chief militarist, General Tomoyoki Yamashita, they too would be hanged. According to Taylor, the United States in Vietnam seriously violated the Nuremberg principle that it was legally committed to. If this is true and if the evidence is sufficient (as it seems to be) that Kissinger was a primary participant in master-minding acts of "negligent homicide" against Vietnam (as well as against Indonesia, Chile, Bangladesh and East Timor), then he qualifies, according to both Hitchens and Taylor, as a war criminal. General Taylor gives a specific edge to the charge in describing "the practice of air strikes against hamlets suspected of "harboring" Vietnamese guerrillas as "flagrant violations of the Geneva Convention on Civilian Protection."
In the case of Bangladesh, where anywhere from one-half million to three million Hindu civilians were murdered by Pakistani troops, the deliberate non-interference of the United States was, according to Hitchens, due to Nixon and Kissinger using Pakistan as an intermediary to an economic rapprochement that the White House wanted with China. General Yahah Khan, the man mainly responsible for the massacre of Bangladeshis, felt free to pursue his genocidal policy because of his middle-man role in American-Chinese diplomacy. Thus, urges Hitchens, "the collusion with him (Khan) in the matter of China increases the direct complicity of Nixon and Kissinger in the massacres."
In the case of Chile, Nixon was determined to oust the elected Allende government because American corporations such as ITT and Pepsi Cola were hostile to it. Nixon wanted Allende out by any means, and to achieve that, it was necessary to get rid of the one powerful Chilean figure, General Rene Schneider, who firmly opposed military involvement in the election procedure. Schneider was kidnapped and murdered, and the legitimate Allende government overthrown with the connivance of the White House. A Kissinger cable to the CIA station in Santiago dated 18 October 1970 indicates that "sub-machine guns and ammo being sent, leaving Washington 0700 Oct, due Santiago late evening 20 Oct." This secret message, along with other incriminating ones, more than suggests to Hitchens that Kissinger was at the center of this deadly clandestine activity. Writing to an extremist right-wing general named Roberto Viaux, who carried out the murder of Schneider, Kissinger says "The time will come when you with all your friends can do something. You will continue to have our support." Thus, according to this chain of evidence, Kissinger and Nixon opened the way to the toppling of the Allende government and, consequently, to the torture and killing of Augusto Pinochet's thousands of Chilean opponents. All that Kissinger has to say to Pinochet about Pinochet's murderous repression of Chilean citizens is that "your greatest sin was that you overthrew a government that was going Communist," a remark Kissinger fails to repeat in his memoirs.
Finally, Hitchens charges Kissinger with complicity in the 1975 invasion of East Timor by Indonesia. Kissinger and President Ford left Jakarta one day before the invasion, and though Kissinger denies discussing anything of importance with President Suharto, Ford in effect contradicts this. Further, not only did the United States supply Indonesia with 90% of its military weapons (a violation of American law) but also gave the green light to the invasion. Considering that at least 200,000 East Timorans were killed by Indonesia's invasion, such examples as this of Kissinger's complicity and cover-ups appear to underline the ruthlessness of a frequently practiced Realpolitik that puts a lust for power above all ethical considerations.
International courts of law now exist that are capable of ruling on cases involving assassination, terrorism and kidnapping despite the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Judges in France have tried to summon Kissinger for questioning in regard to disappeared French nationals in Chile, as have judges in Chile for Chilean victims. What is highly significant in Kissinger's case is the possibility of indicting a famous American as a war criminal. A key barrier to whatever justice Kissinger might deserve is the incomplete accessibility of State Department, CIA and NSC memos dealing with the international crises mentioned above. Within these limitations, Hitchens does a scrupulous job of showing why Kissinger hesitates to travel abroad these day.
Donald Gutierrez is Professor Emeritus at Western New Mexico University. He taught at Notre Dame in the 1970s and has for a long time been an active member of Amnesty International. He is a frequent contributor to Common Sense.
US Middle East Policy: Eyes Wide Shut
President Bush has identified the fight against terrorism as the primary foreign policy objective of his administration. To this end, the Bush Administration has vowed to use diplomatic, economic, and law enforcement means and has mustered international support for a military campaign in Afghanistan, which has largely succeeded in disrupting the Al Qaeda terrorist network and defeating the Taliban regime. The AdministrationÍs actions in the war on terrorism have thus far been characterized by their prudence and effectiveness.
But one aspect of the AdministrationÍs foreign policy has been neither prudent nor effective and, in fact, threatens to undermine our ongoing efforts to combat terrorism: AmericaÍs unquestioning support of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Americans have many reasons for wanting to support Israel: a belief that Israel is the helpless victim of terrorism, that doing so is in our interests or that it somehow advances the cause of peace. But the policies of SharonÍs right-wing government are designed to undermine the possibility that a negotiated settlement will ever be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians. Sharon is waging a war not against terrorism, but against the peace process itself. Tragically and shamefully, the Bush Administration seems almost willfully blind to this fact„and to the deadly results of this blindness for Israelis, Palestinians, and, potentially, Americans.
If Ariel SharonÍs policies were designed to combat terrorism, their single most striking characteristic would be their ineffectiveness. SharonÍs policy of assassinating Palestinian leaders is perhaps the most egregious example of a policy ostensibly designed to prevent terrorism that has had precisely the opposite effect. Rather than cripple Palestinian militants, Israeli assassinations have only provoked further acts of violence. The murder of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi by the militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, for example, was a response to the assassination of one of that groupÍs leaders. It is impossible to deny the role of these Israeli assassinations„which occur outside of the law, without even the semblance of due process„in inciting violence.
And yet Sharon continues to insist that the responsibility for breaking the cycle of violence falls solely on the shoulders of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. As a public relations strategy blaming Arafat is shrewd. ArafatÍs checkered past as a guerilla leader and his spotty human rights record as head of the Palestinian Authority make him an easy villain. Moreover, blaming Arafat for terrorism deflects attention from IsraelÍs continued occupation of the Palestinian territories. Among those duped by this strategy seem to be both the executive and legislative branches of the American government. President Bush and the State Department„in statements echoed by Sen. Hilary Clinton and others in Congress„continue to repeat the mantra that only Arafat can stop the violence.
But while blaming Arafat makes for a convenient sound bite, it has led to disastrous policy. The Israeli government has simultaneously demanded that Arafat crack down on militants and rendered him incapable of doing so. Israel has bombed Palestinian police stations, jails, and administrative buildings. It has demanded that Arafat act, while attacking his credibility by placing him under house arrest. And rather than offer cooperation with Palestinian security forces, Sharon has refused to meet with Arafat, until recently demanding that he single-handedly produce seven days of complete calm. This last demand succeeded only in giving extremists veto power over the peace process.
Furthermore, even when Arafat has made efforts to reduce attacks on Israelis, Sharon has responded with violence. Arafat was able to produce a month of relative calm in the occupied territories this January by calling for a ceasefire on Palestinian television. If Sharon had been serious about the peace process he would have used the opportunity to renew negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and offer reciprocal peace gestures„for example a freeze on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory or a suspension of Israeli assassinations. Instead Sharon responded by bombing the headquarters of Palestinian television, ordering more assassinations, and bulldozing the homes of dozens of Palestinian civilians.
Again and again SharonÍs actions have shown that he does not want peace. As momentum built around recent Saudi peace proposals, Sharon attacked Palestinian refugee camps in Nablus and Jenin, part of a pattern of deliberately undermining all peace initiatives. That Sharon does not want peace should come as no surprise to those who have followed his career. Sharon has consistently advocated the annexation of Palestinian lands and has pushed for Jewish settlements where Palestinian homes once stood. Throughout his career, SharonÍs consistent aim has been the territorial expansion of the state of Israel, and to achieve this end he has found no means too violent or too provocative. In 1982, he colluded with right-wing Lebanese militias„terrorists, but pro-Israel terrorists„in the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. And Sharon lit the spark that set off the current wave of Middle East violence by staging a deliberately provocative visit to the Al Aqsa mosque.
His current attacks on the leadership and infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority and military incursions into Palestinian territory seem designed to destroy the PalestiniansÍ capacity for self-government. Destroying the Palestinian Authority would in no way reduce terrorism. It would instead leave the radical groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad as the dominant forces in the Palestinian territories. But it would allow for the reoccupation of Palestinian lands by the Israeli army, which seems to be SharonÍs ultimate goal. SharonÍs actions clearly show that he wants nothing less than to ñethnically cleanseî the West Bank and Gaza Strip of their Palestinian inhabitants and populate them with Jewish settlers. Other members of the Israeli right have been less circumspect in advocating a policy of ñethnic cleansingî toward the Palestinians. Rabbi David Hartman, the head of a Jerusalem research institute, recently told the Washington Post his plan for dealing with the Palestinians: ñVery simply, wipe them out. Level themî (3/1/02). One might have hoped that, given the history of the past century, Israelis would have given up talk of ñwiping outî other ethnic groups.
One might also have hoped that the United States would know better than to support such extreme„and extremely immoral„policies. Unfortunately, Sharon and his allies„both in Israel and in Washington„have been able to link the Israeli campaign against the Palestinians with the American war on terrorism. This linkage, however, is deceptive. While the United States is targeting a terrorist network, Ariel Sharon seems bent on destroying an entire society. This is demonstrated by the targets of Israeli attacks. Sharon has not only targeted Palestinian police stations and government buildings. Israel has razed Palestinian homes, leveled Palestinian orchards, bombed the Palestinian airport in Gaza and the Palestinian television headquarters in Ramallah, and placed a stranglehold on the Palestinian economy.
The American and Israeli ñwarsî are also dissimilar because of their motivations. The war in Afghanistan was defensive, launched in response to a clear attack on the United States. No American wants to make Afghanistan the 51st state. While Israel may claim that its war is also defensive, Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza belie this claim. These settlements demonstrate that IsraelÍs aim is the military conquest and occupation of lands belonging to another people.
That this occupation is at the heart of the ongoing violence in the Middle East is beyond dispute. As long as this occupation continues„and as long as Palestinians are denied statehood and human rights„there will not be peace in the Middle East. No amount of demonizing Arafat can change this reality. Nor can the destruction of the Palestinian Authority. These steps will only further inflame the situation, which is in no oneÍs best interests. Not the Palestinians, for they live under military occupation without basic political and human rights. Not the Israelis, for without a just settlement their nation will never enjoy peace. And not in our interests either, for the United StatesÍ biased policy continues to feed the disease of anti-Americanism throughout the Arab and Muslim world. And we sorely need the support of Arab and Muslim nations to fight terrorism and to confront the threat of nuclear proliferation.
The United States can play a crucial and positive role in the Middle East peace process. Our diplomatic and economic power gives us leverage over both Israel and the Palestinians. We are already using this leverage to pressure Yasser Arafat to confront terrorism, and this demand must not change. But we should also pressure Israel to return to the negotiating table; we should demand an end to the Israeli policy of assassination, to continued Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, and to Israeli military reprisals that do more harm than good; and we should support the Palestinian call for international observers to monitor Israeli abuses„a call supported by every member of the UN Security Council except the United States. We should do all of these things not only because they are in our interests, but because they are right, because we recognize that the pursuit of justice must be a part of our war against terrorism, and because we believe that all people„Americans, Palestinians, and Israelis„have the right to live in freedom.
Tony Lusvardi is an English and philosophy major at Notre Dame. He was in the Jerusalem Program in the spring of 2000 and took classes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
1.6% to 2.4%
"Four pence a day, my lads, and verra hard to work, wiÍ never a pleasant look frae a gruffy lookinÍ Turk, his heart it may fail, and his conscience may give way, then heÍll raise us our wages to five pence a day."
Sometimes I think that if OSHA's jurisdiction extended to workplaces where the laborersÍ dignity and self-esteem are endangered by the psychological toxicity of the site, OSHA would close down the College of Arts and Letters and have it placed on the Superfund list. I don't feel this way all the time. I had just returned to our campus from a semester's leave off campus and was happy to be home among substantial pockets of integrity and civility that I had come to take for granted. But my positive feeling did not endure, for at the first departmental meeting of the term our Chair relayed the Dean's announcement of projected increases in faculty salaries for the coming year.
It turns out that, times being what they are, only a very limited pool of funds is available for faculty salary increases: increases can go as high as 2.4% of current salary for those who have turned in a truly superlative performance, but those whose work is categorized as completely satisfactory will be eligible for a salary increase of only 1.6%. Alas! Will I merit even a solid 1.6? Will my failure to respond with convincing alacrity to administrative initiatives drop me to a 1.4? If my publication rate is in the 1.8-1.9 range, will my .09 service rating drag me down, or will I be lifted up by my 2.0 teaching? Am I a Latinist or a figure-skater?
At first I thought they might be kidding, that this might be another Catholic Identity initiative, for Scripture tells us: "So you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say: We are unproductive slaves; we have done only that which we ought to do." But experience has taught me that at Notre Dame Catholic Identity has everything to do with revenues, but nothing to do with compensation, and so I was left with the realization that this is just business as usual. Even so, I am not complaining about the money. I want to complain about the arrogance and manipulativeness of the system that comes up with 1.6%-2.4%, and about the stupidity, my stupidity and that of my colleagues, that seems to justify this arrogance and make the manipulations work.
A colleague once observed quite accurately that there is no such thing as a standard contract at Notre Dame. So what possible meaning can an official rate of 1.6%-to-2.4% have in an institution where, as everyone knows, salary and all other forms of recompense (reduced teaching loads, trophy library acquisitions, immunity from committee service, spousal appointments, junkets, graduate gophers, leaves, no undergrad teaching, lectureships for pals, vanity colloquia, etc.) are matters of individual negotiation based usually on the cringing premise, expressed or not, that if Prof. X doesn't get perk Y, he or (less often) she will reject Poor Paddy and move on to H or return to C?
I suppose, by the by, that 1.6%-to-2.4% is all that is left after so much of the College's money is absorbed by wheelings and dealings. Five years ago it was proposed that the entire faculty of the College of Arts and Letters be whipped upwards into ever higher levels of achievement with scourges of gold (a.k.a., salary incentives and disincentives [!]). But that project was soon abandoned, apparently because there was not enough gold to make the whips. Now the slogan is "appoint faculty better than ourselves," and if 1.6%-2.4% is the very best we can do for current faculty, where will the College find funds for these improvements? Go, as they say, and figure.
But to return to my point ... How can the administration keep straight face when they inform us, as if they were announcing a work contract with a union, that it will be 1.6% for those who meet their production quotas and 2.4% for those who work weekends? In saying this I mean no disrespect whatever to laboring people and their usually admirable unions. My annoyance arises from the fact that although our situation has nothing of the simplicity and presumed universal applicability of union-negotiated work contracts, our bosses are pleased to pretend that it does.
I'll say nothing of the inequities of the system of academic rankings that range from shamelessly exploited adjuncts to endowed chairholders so well provided for that they wear tags engraved with their benefactor's name in case they run short of anything. Our inequities are such that one person, however zealous, is far from enough to staff any real Office of Institutional Equity (who made up that name? is somebody is having us on?). Nor would we really want to curb these inequities, for they are ubiquitous in American academia, and assimilation has in recent years been the Holy Grail of our academic administration. Rather, I have to wonder why I, why we, submit ourselves to so whimsical and, considering 1.6%-2.4%, so trivial a system of recompense and symbolic approbation.
As the mainspring of capitalism is a kind of reptile-brain greed, so the mainspring of academia is hopeless insecurity. Think of it: to become a "great university," all you must do is
Now I am not demanding of myself, nor of my colleagues a Cynic indifference to income or to the high regard of others. But I think we should remind ourselves that compensation has nothing to do with any meaningful evaluation and approbation. The approval we need is the esteem of those we respect, earned by some achievement we ourselves value, not sought through conformity to a system that is made of smoke, mirrors, and memos. We cannot, I think, change the world of 1.6%-to-2.4%, but we can refuse to be fooled and manipulated by it, and leave the gold stars and holy cards, the prizes and perks to those who earn them.
Dan Sheerin is Professor of The Classics and Concurrent Professor of Theology.
The Need for Systemic Change
The problem of pedophilia in the priesthood cannot be laid at the doorstep of the Archdiocese of Boston alone. As events continue to unfold, that has become increasingly evident. The crisis is national and even international in scope.
The question is: What can the leaders of the Church do about it?
It should be clear by now that expressions of sorrow and regret, appeals for forgiveness, and a firm purpose of amendment¿each of which is necessary in itself¿constitute an inadequate response. The present crisis in the priesthood is not an isolated problem caused by ña few bad apples,î and it will not be resolved simply by taking complaints about sexual misconduct more seriously in the future, by removing accused priests from their pastoral assignments until allegations have been thoroughly investigated, and by tightening seminary admissions procedures to keep pedophiles out of the priesthood.
The pedophilia crisis is part of a much larger systemic and institutional problem, and the crisis cannot effectively be resolved without addressing those basic systemic issues.
To be sure, the reform of the ChurchÍs methods of recruiting, educating, and certifying seminarians for ordination would be a major part of the solution. But there is even more to it than that.
Proponents of the few-bad-apples approach are, at least implicitly, defenders of the status quo. With a little more vigilance, they say, the problem can be solved. Pedophiles, after all, are only interested in young boys. Therefore, celibacy canÍt be part of the problem. But it is.
Because of the Catholic ChurchÍs insistence on life-long celibacy as a condition of ordination and of continuance in priestly ministry, the pool of potential priests within the general population of young Catholic males was always exceedingly small. But it is getting even smaller with every passing year. Indeed, the statistical trends read like a dying personÍs pulse.
The downward spiral of these past few decades has occurred in spite of assurances from some church officials in the 1970s and ï80s that the situation was about to bottom out and that vocations would soon return to their robust 1950s levels. That didnÍt happen, of course.
There are reasons why it didnÍt: societyÍs greater openness regarding human sexuality, the rise in the economic status and educational opportunities of many Catholic families along with a broadening of career choices, and the loss of cultural supports for the celibate life. When thousands of priests left the priesthood to marry, thousands more young men began to think twice about embracing a commitment to lifelong celibacy.
The ministry of a parish priest is more difficult now than it was in the golden ï50s. He often lives alone in an oversized rectory, a relic of a bygone era, without the support and companionship of other priests. In many dioceses, he is responsible for more than one parish, sometimes having to drive 50-100 miles on a Sunday for Mass at two or three different locations. Burn-out too often follows.
But celibacy is only one element in a larger network of church regulations and teachings regarding human sexuality and marriage. Many, in fact, view the ChurchÍs approach as simply one of prohibition. Sexual expression is morally permissible only within the marriage of a man and a woman. But even in such marriages there are stringent limitations, for example, against birth control by artificial means.
Others¿rightly or wrongly¿see the ChurchÍs tenacious opposition to both abortion and the ordination of women as having more to do with the need to control women than with anything else.
When bishops are asked not only by the media but also by their own priests whether they are at least open to a discussion of issues like these, the bishops usually reply that such matters have already been settled. The counter-cultural Church will not tack to the fickle winds of popularity.
And so we return to the proverbial square one. Express regret, seek forgiveness, and promise never to let it happen again. And if we all do that, the Church will somehow re-emerge stronger than before.
Priests and laity alike know that will not be the case. Much more is needed if the Church is to transcend this terrible crisis and become an even more luminous sign and instrument of Jesus Christ and the Gospel.
However, it takes leadership to articulate such a vision, to motivate and inspire people to embrace it, and to provide them with guidance and resources in order to bring that vision to realization.
And that highlights one final piece of the systemic problem: the type of priest appointed to the hierarchy, and the type it excludes even from consideration.
In the end, itÍs a matter of leadership.
Richard McBrien is Professor of Theology at Notre Dame.
Of Briar Roses and the Dead Hand of Orthodoxy
Biography is not really my cup of tea, particularly if the subject is still with us--or only recently dead. Inevitably there is some degree of voyeurism involved. Even so, when Peter ConradiÍs book on Iris Murdoch, the British novelist and philosopher, was published at the end of last year (she died in 1999), all scruples were set aside. I have been a Murdoch junkie, reading all twenty six novels and even tackling a couple of her philosophical works. Perhaps I was in search of a coda. It was her concern with the moral life that made her novels such compelling reading: they were about the pursuit of ñthe goodî without hope of reward. She stressed, too, the importance of ridding ourselves of all illusion and the demands of the ego. The greatest influence on her was thought to be Simone Weil, the French philosopher often described as a Jewish/Christian mystic. Like Weil, Murdoch at one stage also considered becoming a Roman Catholic. (In the end, Weil refused to be baptized into the Church because, she said, it excluded so much that God loved. As she deplored the idea of Jews thinking of themselves as ñ chosen,î it was equally difficult for her to deal with the ChurchÍs claims to exclusivity.)
I have just finished the chapter in which Conradi covers Iris MurdochÍs undergraduate years at Oxford, just before World War II. While it is little more than sixty years ago, Murdoch and her cohort seem to belong to an altogether more exotic species. Life at university was, for them, a passionate and brilliantly civilized affair. By the time they entered their twenties, they appear to have read everything. Moreover, stuff in translation was eschewed; if, for example, you wanted to read Pushkin, you learned Russian. Murdoch pursued a degree in Greats (Latin Greek, Ancient History, Literature and Philosophy); at the same time she was immersed in politics--joining the Communist Party soon after arriving at Oxford. Her set, the gifted idealists who longed for the peaceful dismantling of the social and economic inequalities that marred pre-war British society, still looked to Marx as their guide. Marxism also made them enthusiastic internationalists.
The sexual equality these young men and women enjoyed is striking, even today after the feminist revolution. Any sense of male superiority is absent; it is taken for granted that women are every bit as clever as their male counterparts, and quite as capable of the same intellectual reach. Falling in and out of love consumes much of their time, but their understanding of the erotic seems both more sophisticated and more innocent than is the case in our consumer capitalist present. Eros was as much a matter of the mind as the erogenous zones. These were people who talked and wrote incessantly and with such fluency of expression. Everything mattered. Frank Thompson, MurdochÍs great love at Oxford (and the younger brother of E. P. Thompson), joined up as soon as war broke out. In April 1944, now an officer at the ripe old age of twenty four, he was writing to Iris from Macedonia, on his way to fight alongside the partisans in Bulgaria:
ñIruska! Sorry I havenÍt written for so long. Old Brotoloig seems to have been monopolizing my attentionƒî (Brotoloigos is the Homeric epithet for Ares, God of War.) He continues,ñ I canÍt think why you are so interested in MORALS. Chiefly a question of the digestive organs I assure you. The important task is building a new communal ethicƒ My own list of priorities is as follows; 1. People, and everything to do with people, their habits, their loves and hates, their arts, their languages. Everything of importance revolves around people. 2. Animals and flowers. These bring me a constant undercurrent of joy. Just now I am revelling in plum blossom and young lambs and the first leaves on the briar roses. One doesnÍt need more than these. I couldnÍt wish for better company. These are enough for a hundred lifetimes.î Three weeks later, Thompson was captured and executed, shot in a ditch in Bulgaria. A copy of Catullus (the Roman lyric poet noted for his love poems) was found in one of his pockets.
Of course, it would be foolish to overestimate or romanticize Murdoch and her friends. Still, their university years impress with their vitality and engagement. The contrast with college or university life today is striking. The emphasis now on credentialing has done much to de-nature education, reducing a student to homo economicus. At Notre Dame, this utilitarianism is compounded by a Catholicism that has itself become rigid and depleted. Recently, a Navy lieutenant--a 1990 graduate--wrote to The Observer to complain about the performance of the ñVagina Monologuesî on campus. ( I confess to not having seen the ñMonologues,î though an octogenarian friend, a retired college teacher and a maiden lady--as my Mother always called women who never married--has seen them and was not in the least shocked, though she admits that uttering the word ñvaginaî publically took a bit of practice.) Placed alongside the doomed Frank ThompsonÍs sunny humanism, the ND Navy alumnusÍ crabbed misogyny appalls. That his letter was clumsily written is the least of its sins. What bothered me most was the right-wing Roman Catholic aggression. The women behind the performance of the ñMonologuesî are accused of a ñ long term agenda that has at its roots Marxist and Communist thought and wont be satisfied until science creates an artificial womb to grow babies. This agenda is really driven by a small minority of women who have self-loathing because they happen to have a period once a month and men donït.î In the course of his ghastly rant, he touts the superiority of the Roman Catholic Church and takes a swipe at mainline Protestant churches that have ñcaved in to all manner of feminist dogma and have gotten out of the business (sic) of rescuing souls.î
If we juxtapose the letters of the two young officers, it quickly becomes apparent which man reveals a totalitarian proclivity. Moreover, the Notre Dame alumnusÍ pathology is not sui generis. It could have been lifted from the pages of The National Catholic Register, which functions, more or less, as the newspaper of record for the Catholic hierarchy and Roman orthodoxy in the United States. For the past few weeks I have been reading The Register; it has felt like a Lenten penance. The content is not unfamiliar, but straight from the horseÍs mouth Church politics and doctrine feel particularly airless and mechanistic. The Church, most decidedly, does not share Frank ThompsonÍs priority, namely people in all their complexity. The RegisterÍs picture of the ideal Catholic woman is remarkably consistent with the one reflected in the letter written by the Notre Dame naval officer. She is a modest, selfless wife/mother, preferably with lots of babies. If she is doing her job especially well, her home will be a nursery for vocations to the priesthood. The reverence for the priestly vocation is unhinged--to the point of idolatry. A husband and wife team dispense advice in a column on the back page. For the man, his role as head of the household is paramount. The Catholic husband/father is not to be pestered with all that ñnew manî stuff--diapering baby or vacuuming. He may be asked to do the occasional chore, but the request must be made ñsweetly.î
In one issue of The Register, the only article written by a woman was an irritable piece that scolded feminists for not showing enough respect for the burqa, now that it has been liberated from its association with the Taliban. These folk will grab any weapon to resist the emancipation of women. The world beyond the Catholic Church is treated with bellicose defensiveness. When The Boston Globe campaigns to bring to light the dozens of cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests, The Register insinuates that this is one more instance of the anti-Catholicism which it sees as infecting the American media. A recent Vatican statement, which would bar men who have a homosexual orientation from entering the priesthood, had the paperÍs full approval. The argument was that homosexuality, unlike heterosexuality, is ipso facto promiscuous. In its view, ñ chaste homosexualî is an oxymoron. And time and again the politics of abortion trump all social justice issues, no matter how urgent--for example, the millions of children who die each year from AIDS. Perhaps this is not surprising in a paper that makes no secret of its support for George W. Bush and the Republican Party.
A Roman Catholic university may tolerate dissent on many of these issues, but it will toe the line when required to do so. Theoretically, it is not impossible for young men and women to thrive intellectually at Notre Dame; certainly there are teachers and courses to help them do so. However, they will always have to fly below the radar of a stifling orthodoxy--never experiencing that exhilarating freedom that helped to shape the young Iris Murdoch.
Ann Pettifer is an alumna of Notre Dame.
Feel a Draft?
American men have not been forcibly conscripted into the US military since the early 1970s, but a new bill in Congress may change that. If passed into law, the ñUniversal Military Training and Service Actî (HR 3598) written by Rep. Smith (MI) and Rep. Weldon (PA) last December in response to the events of September 11 would require all young men aged eighteen to twenty-two to be inducted into the military for a period of one year.
The Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld triumvirate has, in recent months, continually reiterated the ñnecessityî for a large and well-prepared standing army. Also, Charles Moskos and Paul Glastris recently noted in The Washington Monthly (in an article entitled ñNow Do You Believe We Need A Draft?î) ñfor the first time in our history we are entering a war of significant size ƒ without drafting young men to fight the threat.î As Tim Cavanaugh said of Moskos in Reason magazine, ñafter years of arguing for forceful social cohesion, [Moskos] joins the long list of pundits whose pet projects (in this case, Tojo-era mass conscription) have been magically justified by September 11.î
Although the imminent likelihood of a draft is slim„most higher-ups in the military are not interested in a draft as the technological and destructive power of the US military is such that ñlegionsî of conscripts are unnecessary„renewed talk about forcible conscription should nonetheless be worrying.
Indeed, since 1980 when Jimmy Carter re-instituted the Selective Service (SS) following the former Soviet UnionÍs invasion of Afghanistan, all American men have been required to register for the draft within thirty days before or after turning eighteen. Most comply. Men who fail to register with the SS are threatened with a $250,000 fine and five years imprisonment.
As no one has been prosecuted for failing to register since 1986 this is mostly a bluff, but there are other penalties associated with non-compliance. For example, non-registrants are (in many states) automatically denied state student financial aid, state employment and even admittance to public colleges and universities. Regardless of whether or not one considers oneself a pacifist or someone who will fight in only a ïjust war,Í one is still required by federal law to register with the SS. Thus, as the majority of draft-age young men are in fact registered for the draft, it is imperative that one be acutely aware of US law demanding registration with the military and, perhaps, requiring service as well.
Upon turning eighteen, US male citizens and residents receive a card in the mail requiring them to register with the SS. There is not a space on the registration card to state oneÍs stance as a pacifist or as a proponent of some form of just war theory„such a stance will be reviewed by the SS only after one has been classified 1-A: fit for military service. One can, in the event of being drafted, apply for conscientious objector (CO) status, but, unfortunately, under current federal law, one cannot be considered a selective conscientious objector (SCO)„that is to say one who selectively objects to some wars but not necessarily all wars. One is forced, then, to choose between two legal options if there is a draft and if one is then drafted and determined fit for military service: (1) classification as an objector to all war or, (2) classification as a non-objector to all war„at least as far as one is recognized by the federal government.
If there were a draft, the sequence of events, according to the SS, would work something like this: (1) Congress and the President authorize a draft if ña crisis occurs which requires more troops than the volunteer military can supply.î (2) ñA lottery based on birthdays determines the order in which registered men are called up.î This process begins with those men whose twentieth birthday falls in that calendar year, followed, if necessary, by those aged twenty-one through twenty-five. Eighteen and nineteen year-olds would probably not be drafted. (3) The SS activates its state directors and reserve forces. (4) Registrants who are selected in the lottery are ordered to report for a physical, mental and (interestingly) moral evaluation to determine whether or not they are fit for military service. If a man is determined fit for service, he has only ten days to file a claim for exemption, postponement or deferment. (5) Local appeals boards will process registrantsÍ claims; those who pass military evaluations are sent induction orders. (6) The SS delivers the first inductees to the military ñwithin 193 days from the onset of a crisis.î
As noted above, if a man is drafted he has only ten days to file a claim for an exemption„as opposed to six months during the war in Vietnam. The difficulty here is clear: if one has not thought about conscientious objection before receiving induction orders, then having only ten days to make such a decision is, simply, not enough time. If one does decide to claim conscientious objector (CO) status, these criteria must be met: (1) one must object to participation in all forms of war; (2) oneÍs pacifist beliefs must be based in a religious, ethical or moral system; and (3) one cannot object to some wars and not others„to be legally considered as a conscientious objector, one must object to all wars.
One can register for classification status 1-A-0 (which means, essentially, that one will serve in the military, but only as a noncombatant) or status 1-0, that is to say one who rejects any form of military service, combatant or non-combatant. But to support either of these claims one must establish to the satisfaction of the draft board (a panel of local civilians) that oneÍs beliefs are sincere and based in a religious, ethical or moral system. CO beliefs, by law, cannot be political, sociological or philosophical in nature; one need not believe in God to be recognized as a CO, but one must prove convincingly that oneÍs CO beliefs are not motivated merely by ïself-interestÍ and that oneÍs beliefs are either clearly ïreligiousÍ or held deeply enough that they are ïreligious-likeÍ in nature.
At the draft board hearing, the CO will be asked to present documented evidence and personal witnesses of his deeply held pacifist beliefs. Moreover, he will be asked to prove how his pacifist beliefs are exemplified in his life. Again, since one is given very little time to prepare proof of oneÍs pacifist convictions for an exemption hearing, the only way one can be prepared in the event of a draft is to begin preparing now, before a draft.
As indicated earlier, the whole SS system of forced conscription does not allow for selective conscientious objectors. The reason for this is simple: draft boards tend to see ïselective objectorsÍ as those who, in John Howard YoderÍs words, glorify political dissent with religious language. Said another way, the government believes that conscientious objection must be without exception to be considered genuine. This is incongruent with Catholic teaching. The Church has traditionally held two options in esteem for participation (or non-participation) in war: first, the right of a pacifist to reject military service in all war. Second, the right„indeed the duty„for those who do decide to serve in the military to serve in only ïjustÍ wars and, while serving in such a war, to conduct oneself justly (see in particular paragraph 2309 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church).
But, under current federal law, one cannot be a selective conscientious objector (SCO) to war, choosing to fight in only what one considers a ïjustÍ war. Rather, to be a CO of any sort, one must object to all war. Thus, coupling federal law with the teaching of the Catechism, it becomes clear that the current structure of the SS is a major problem for Catholics. Because federal law negates the possibility for a Catholic to be an SCO, the only viable option for a Catholic, if he is to follow both the Church and the government, is to reject all war. This will likely be a problem for many Catholics. As Yoder pointed out, ñsince the ïjust warÍ tradition represents the dominant ïreligious training and beliefÍ of Catholics,î the current federal SS regulation ñis intrinsically discriminatory and constitutes a backhanded establishment of religion [a violation of the First Amendment].î Yoder notes that in Negre v. Larsen et al., the US Supreme Court ruled that a ñman who holds a traditional ïjust warÍ viewpoint cannot be exempted from service in a particular war even if he believes that war to be unjust.î
This problem is beginning to be more seriously addressed at Notre Dame. Groups such as Pax Christi and the Peace Coalition with the support of the Catholic Peace Fellowship (CPF), a new national organization based at Notre Dame, are working with organizations like the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors to force the SS to recognize selective conscientious objectors, including those in the military. CPF, in particular, is working against the implementation of laws requiring the induction of all young men into the military. CPF is also working with conscientious objectors in the military and with military chaplains to ensure that every Catholic in the military knows and understands his or her rights with regard to conscientious objection.
In the meantime, conscientious objector groups are encouraging all Catholics to demand that young men be able to officially notify the government that one is a CO (or an SCO) before a draft, and not just after the fact. The CPF and others believe it is imperative that the SS know conscientious objectors of all sorts not only exist, but also are deeply serious about their convictions and working to change the system.
Kyle Smith is a graduate student in Early Christian Studies and a member of Common Sense.
Crashing the Party
Ralph Nader, Crashing the Party, St. MartinÍs Press, 2002
After I started reading Ralph NaderÍs seventeenth book, Crashing the Party, in which he confronts the corporate takeover of AmericaÍs government, I saw Tim Russert, on televisionÍs ñMeet the Press,î ask Mr. Nader if he would run again for President in 2004. Mr. Nader twice affirmed that he has not ruled it out.
ñHow could he win?î I asked myself. HeÍll be seventy years old in 2004, a candidate from my generation, already left behind by two presidents. But then I thought of CaliforniaÍs electric power fraud, the Enron/Andersen scandals, household-name businesses going bankrupt, tax cuts devouring the federal budget surplus, and jump-started lawsuits and investigations that will go on for years. These should keep Crashing the Party on the best seller list, so that unlike the 9/11 World Trade Center attack, which brought George W. BushÍs presidency an unexpected ñWag-The-Dogî effect, Ralph NaderÍs next election campaign could be empowered by an expected political, cultural, and economic ñEnron Effect.î TodayÍs corporate debacles already authenticate the consumer advocacy mission that has defined Ralph Nader since 1965, when he successfully confronted the auto industry with his first book, Unsafe at Any Speed.
Crashing the Party bears the subtitle, ñTaking on the Corporate Government in an Age of Surrender.î That Age of Surrender began, Mr. Nader reminds us, ñone August day in 1971,î with a memorandum from Lewis Powell, at the time a corporate lawyer and soon-to-be U.S. Supreme Court Justice. He urged the business-oriented Republican Party to react against the Democratic PartyÍs progressive social-concern agenda. It should do so, Mr. Powell advised, by means of lobbies, think tanks, media, elections, and chief executives.
The Republicans took Mr. PowellÍs advice, and by 1978, when President Carter let a Consumer Protection Agency bill die in both House and Senate (the latter by filibuster from Orin Hatch and IndianaÍs own Richard Lugar), the turnover of governmental power from Democrats to Republicans began. By 1981, when Democrats supported Ronald ReaganÍs upscale tax cuts, defense spending, and deregulation, the Democratic Party itself had become pro-business.
The 1990 election then put Republicans in charge of all three branches of government while the newly created ñcentristî Democratic Leadership Council ñspawned Clinton, Gore, and Lieberman.î Under political pressure, these Democrats led the morphing of their now business-oriented Party into a replica of the Republican Party, and this morphing certified the two-party subjection of government to the power of corporations.
In his detailed and engrossing book (a textbook on current American politics, really: 383 packed pages, eleven appendices, six pages of suggested reading, a fifteen-page index), Mr. Nader recounts how corporate powerÍs acquisition of local, state, national, and global control slowly and persistently redirected his citizenÍs action mission into presidential politics. ñI was brought up to aspire to advance justice as an active citizen,î Mr. Nader states, ñnot as an elected politician.î During the 60s and 70s, numerous citizen action groups in Washington D.C. and around the country worked to overturn Jim Crow Laws, champion consumer and environmental causes, regulate pollution and manufacturers of dangerous products, eliminate poverty, and provide health insurance for the elderly and impoverished.
Groups founded by Mr. Nader were so successful that as Lewis Powell was privately writing his anti-progressive memorandum, many were publicly urging Mr. Nader to run for elective office. In Gore VidalÍs 1971 Esquire article, he recommended Ralph Nader as a presidential candidate. The following year, George McGovern, running for president on the Democratic PartyÍs ticket, wanted Mr. Nader to be the vice-presidential candidate. Mr. Nader resisted all such urgings, and he continued to resist for twenty years. Then, in 1991, with both major Parties now subject to corporate interests, he finally agreed to run for president, but only in New Hampshire, and only as a write-in candidate.
William Jefferson Clinton won the 1992 presidential election and ñpushed through the greatest surrender of local, state, and national sovereignty in U.S. history to those corporate-inspired systems of autocratic governance called NAFTA and the revised GATTÍs World Trade Organization.î It also became ñincreasingly clear that no progressive Democrats were going to challenge Clinton—not Jesse Jackson or Paul Wellstone or any outsider.î On November 27, 1995, a reluctant Mr. Nader accepted the fledgling Green PartyÍs invitation to put his name on their California ballot, but to run as a ñcatalyst,î not a campaigner.
By December,1999, the necessary freedoms of an authentic, citizen-directed democracy had been so restricted under the governmentÍs corporate dominance that Mr. NaderÍs response to his supporters became ñan overwhelming yes.î He teamed up with Winona LaDuke as the vice-presidential candidate. She is a mother of three, a working farmer, and of indigenous descent.
With Ralph Nader now in the political arena, Republican and Democratic candidates, along with The Federal Election Commission and the national media, immediately minimized citizen involvement in the primary campaigns. Regulations, time limits, and obstructionists made it difficult for the Green Party to raise money, meet expenses, and collect the petitions necessary to put Nader-LaDuke on ballots in fifty states. The Greens nevertheless secured ballots in forty-three states and the District of Columbia. In the elusive seven states, including Indiana, they depended on write-ins.
By June 25th, when the Association of State Green Parties and the Green Party USA gathered for their nomination convention in Denver, the Nader-LaDuke team had campaigned in all fifty states. During their tour, the power of corporations ( ñbanks, insurance companies, HMOs, chemical, drug, food, auto, biotech firms, real estate, agribusiness, the prison industries, and military contractorsî) exposed itself in location after location. Under corporate dominance, local governments either opposed or ignored citizen groups fighting for public causes, or they gave corporations heavy subsidies and costly privileges. The major media, meanwhile, gave Ralph NaderÍs campaign little or no publicity, and not all civic groups, citizen advocates, and Green Party members, wanting a Democrat to win, gave Ralph Nader public endorsement. The fifty-state campaign therefore attracted small audiences.
As Labor Day approached, and with staff, ballots, funds, media, travel, and platform now in place, the Nader-LaDuke campaign moved up to super-rallies. The programs included many well-known names, including Notre Dame alumnus Phil Donahue and the ñRoger and Meî filmÍs Michael Moore, and drew huge audiences. Ten thousand paid to attend the first rally in OregonÍs Portland Memorial Coliseum on August 25, for example, and on October 13 over fifteen thousand sold out New York CityÍs Madison Square Garden.
Meanwhile, the two-party Commission on Presidential Debates excluded Buchanan, Nader, and Perot from both national debates. The Commission also restricted coverage to five television media and four newspapers. Of the three candidates excluded from the debates, Ralph Nader alone attempted to sit in the audience. He showed up with legitimate admission tickets, only to be physically escorted from both venues. Some three weeks before the election, the Democratic PartyÍs anti-Nader propaganda kicked into high gear. The Party accused him of insuring victory for George W. Bush by taking votes from Al Gore, and many Democrats who had been supporting Mr. Nader now openly campaigned against him. These included politicians (Senator Paul Wellstone), celebrities (Robert Redford), leaders (Jesse Jackson), feminists (Gloria Steinem), organizations (Sierra Club), pundits (New York Times), and even trial lawyers and college professors. Some of these (e.g. Gloria Steinem) even misrepresented, distorted, and deprecated Ralph NaderÍs positions.
After November 7 and the Florida deadlock handed the presidency to George W. Bush, the anti-Nader blame game ratcheted to itÍs climax. At the same time, the election outcome spotlighted the need to add election reform to Mr. NaderÍs progressive causes. ñAmid all the arguments, there emerged one consensus,î he observes. ñThe election machinery is a mess—and not just in Florida. It is prone to confusion by the voters, mistakes by the counters, manipulation by the parties, and outright violations of civil rights of voters who just happen to be poor, minorities, or disabled.î The election outcome nevertheless leaves Ralph Nader optimistic about the future, and he is not alone. ñBecause both the Republican and Democratic parties are delivering our elections and our government to the highest bidders at the expense of our democratic processes, the trend toward independent candidates and third parties is likely to continue, as predicted in an August 2001 report by the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate.î
Mr. Nader also has no regrets about having made a full-scale presidential run. While John Kenneth Galbraith has lamented that only the contented classes vote, and Nader-supporters Randall Robinson and Cornel West likewise argue that discontentment keeps voters from the poles, exit polls show that the Nader-LaDuke campaign brought out more than a million non-voters. The campaign also made the Green Party the third largest in the country, elected nearly a hundred Green candidates in local and state elections, and drew thousands into the political arena. Many a conversation, myriad more than before the campaign, now go on about civic concerns.
Since the election, the tireless founder of numerous citizen groups has in fact founded three more: Democracy Rising, Citizen Works, and Campus Greens. Of these, the Campus Greens have special importance for Ralph Nader because he puts his hopes in the young. ñIt is always the young,î he says, ñwho can give the people and their collective judgments that ïnew birth of freedomÍƒwho can constrain greed and powerƒby civil societyÍs motivation and action. It is always the young who break through the shams and frauds and raise our expectation levels beyond our eroded horizons. It is always the young who see the ïimpractical and the impossibleÍ as entrenched excuses by the established interests to avoid realizable caring futures.î
Mr. NaderÍs goal is to establish one thousand Campus Green chapters across the land. If these campus chapters bear fruit, the young may indeed ñraise our expectation levels beyond our eroded horizons.î In a country based on majority rule, we have for many years had minority governments: i.e., governments elected by a small fraction of eligible voters. If in the next election the young who tend to ignore a citizenÍs responsibility to vote do in fact get themselves, and work to get others, to the polls, this nation may reestablish majority rule. It is even conceivable that the president of our restored majority government may be Ralph Nader.
Edward Vasta is Professor Emeritus in English at Notre Dame.
Selectively Catholic? The Failure of a Living Wage at Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to its identity as a Catholic institution of higher learning. Recently, in his annual address to the University that accompanied the 2001 controller's report, Notre Dame President Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C. reiterated this commitment maintaining that "faith" was one of the "four pillars of student life at Notre Dame." Although such statements seem to fit well with the University's paternalistic enforcement of archaic moral codes, the commitment to faith seems utterly lacking when one considers that many University employees still do not receive a living wage. This fact is profoundly disturbing in light of the Church's unwavering commitment to the dignity and rights of the laborer, and it casts a dubious shadow over pronouncements, like that above, that tout the University's commitment to its Catholic faith.
The University's financial review for the 2001 fiscal year heralded the current era as one of unprecedented growth and success. Even with the downturn in markets prior to June 30, as of the end of fiscal 2001 the University's total asset base was $4.28 billion. In the midst of this financial plentitude however, the starting salaries for employees in the University's first seven pay levels remain below South Bend area living wage estimates as published by the Washington based Economic Policy Institute. Furthermore, employees comprising the lowest three levels of the pay scale cannot even hope to achieve an ending salary that would constitute a living wage.
This failure to provide the most fundamental of rights to the University's workers stands in stark contrast to the teachings of the Catholic Church. For over a century the Church has declared the payment of a sustainable wage to be a moral imperative. In his 1931 Encyclical On the Reconstruction of the Social Order, Pope Pius XI maintained that, "Every effort must therefore be made that fathers of families receive a sufficient wage adequate to meet ordinary domestic needs. If in the present state of society this is not always feasible, social justice demands that reforms be introduced without delay which guarantee every adult workingman just such a wage." Although this statement evinces an unfortunate narrowness in scope, subsequent pronouncements, offered by later papacies, declare an explicit commitment to all laborers, regardless of gender (this is especially relevant considering that the bottom levels of the Notre Dame pay scale are disproportionately occupied by women). Thus the Church has held, and continues to hold, that every worker, even those in families with more than one wage earner, has the right to earn enough to subsist.
Even with these unequivocal pronouncements from the highest offices of the Church and the financial wherewithal, the University remains reluctant to make any form of commitment to a living wage. In fact, the University's own published payment philosophy makes no mention of Catholic living wage doctrine. Rather, much like any corporation, it allows the local market to dictate its pay scale. As worded in their online statement, Notre Dame "aspires to provide base compensation for staff employees that is competitive with the pay of individuals who have similar responsibilities within the recruitment area." Juxtaposed against papal decrees-- such as that issued by Pope John Paul II in his 1991 Centesimus Annus, which held that, "A workman's wages should be sufficient to enable him to support himself, and his wife and his children. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accepts harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice."-- Notre Dame's commitment to "increase starting salaries such that fully competent and experienced staff are compensated at 100% of the median rate paid to employees in similar positions at employers with which the University competes for staff" seems both unjust and irreconcilable to its Catholic identity.
An additional problem lies in the University's refusal to institute a living wage for employees: by allowing the local market to dictate pay levels the University does a disservice not only to its employees, but to those in the greater Michiana area. The University of Notre Dame is the largest employer in the South Bend/Mishawaka area, and as such is in a position to greatly influence the market. If it were to offer its employees a living wage, market pressure for other local businesses could force them to do likewise. Instead of adopting this role as a community leader however, Notre Dame has been satisfied to remain in the pack, thereby maximizing its own profits at the expense of the worker. This type of economic ethic sees its paradigm in corporate executives like Jack Welch, not in the dictates of the Catholic Church.
In the address cited above University President Edward A. Malloy touts the commitment to the poor and downtrodden as an "imperative handed down to us from biblical times." In this same statement he extols the virtues of service and praises programs offered by the Center for Social Concerns for their substantial contributions toward social justice. Meanwhile, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Malloy commanded a salary roughly 23.5 times that of the lowest paid workers at the University during fiscal 2001 (his $19,440 bonus would pay for almost 1.5 full time workers at the starting level 1 salary on its own). When justifying this salary, the University relied on comparisons to peer institutions of higher learning rather than Catholic social tradition. This comparison, while consistent with the University's corporate wage structuring, once again falls far short of the demands of the Catholic Church.
The University's financial review from the year 2000 contains the line, "Notre Dame never ceases to raise the bar in terms of the expectations it places on itself--and none of us would have it any other way." It is a good thing that this is the case, for in light of the consistent failure to live up to its oft cited Catholic identity by providing its workers with the minimal requirements for social and economic justice, it seems that the University has a long way to go in order to clear the bar.
John Wojcik is a sophomore Biology and Philosophy major and a member of Common Sense.
The Guy Who Used to Be You
said to say hello. He
his heart when you said
of black despair. mornings
of waves, the ceiling's
somebody laughing, and
on a bench to admire
hungry all over again.
for solid land after too much
a call someday. Wouldn't it
Who knows, one fine
back at you with
When it happens that way,
of-view. He's just thinking
warmth as he grows
Max Westler teaches English at Saint Mary's and is a regular contributor to Common Sense.