Tuesday 28th May 2024

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

An Unhappy Anniversary

March 25, 2023 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

On Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2003, George W. Bush met with Pio Cardinal Laghi, the Pope’s personal emissary, at the White House. The cardinal had once served as the Holy See’s first Ambassador to the United States, and Pope John Paul II had chosen him to deliver a personal letter to the president,
According to White House sources familiar with the meeting, Bush put the letter aside without reading it. After he lectured the cardinal for half an hour about the threat of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, the meeting was over.
Bush often treated Republican senators in the same fashion. While the “yes-men” (and women) on his White House staff were easily intimidated, senators weren’t. When the Republican Senate Caucus invited him to strategy meetings on Capitol Hill, Bush would arrive, lecture, and leave. He didn’t leave much time for conversation.
Thus did the spurned peace mission on that fateful day go down in history as the last chance for sanity to prevail before the United States launched its most disastrous war in history.
After leaving the meeting, the cardinal was diplomatic despite the insult. Yes, he told reporters the truth: the invasion was “illegal and unjust.” But he did not criticize Bush. After all, while his mission for the Holy Father had failed (American forces invaded Iraq just two weeks later), the Pope’s opposition to the invasion was already widely known. In fact, it had made many patriotic Catholics in the military wonder whether they could serve in Iraq at all.
That widespread uneasiness prompted an American prelate, Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, to write another letter. Like Pope John Paul’s letter to Bush, it might be even more relevant today that it was twenty years ago.

The Lie: A Dagger In
The Heart Of Trust

Who was Archbishop Edwin O’Brien?
Catholic servicemen and women, wherever they serve, have their own “diocese” called the Military Ordinariate. The Ordinariate has its own archbishop, and in 2003, Archbishop O’Brien held that post. His pastoral letter of March 25, 2003, commemorating the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Mary, addressed all the Catholic military chaplains around the world under his command.
With the failure of Cardinal Laghi’s mission, the archbishop faced a formidable challenge. His pastoral letter addressed the difficult issue in a most curious fashion.
O’Brien told Catholic military chaplains that, should those in combat units under their pastoral care be troubled in conscience about the war, chaplains could comfort the troops with the following assurances:
“Given the complexity of factors involved, many of which understandably remain confidential, it is altogether appropriate for members of our armed forces to presume the integrity of our leadership and its judgments and therefore to carry out their military duties in good conscience,” Archbishop O’Brien wrote.
He continued: “Long after the hostilities cease the debate likely will continue as to the moral justification for the armed force recently initiated by the United States and its allies. It is to be hoped that all factors which have led to our intervention will eventually be made public and that the full picture of the Iraqi regime’s weaponry and brutality will shed helpful light upon our President’s decision.”
Translated: truth was scarce, but Bush had told the world, “Trust me.”
Archbishop O’Brien was careful not to endorse the invasion, nor did he indulge in patriotic rhetoric to motivate the troops. Instead, he carefully and clearly addressed the persistent secrecy surrounding the genesis of the war, secrecy which, as it turned out, persisted long after 2003.
Many “complex factors” contributed to Bush’s decision, he wrote. We have yet to hear the whole story, but for now, it’s “Forward, march!”
“The debate likely will continue” until “all factors which have led to our intervention [are] made public.” Only then will we know the truth about the “integrity of our leadership.”
And when would that happen?
Some eighteen months later, Archbishop O’Brien came to Christendom College to bless and dedicate the college’s new St. John the Evangelist Library. At the reception, I had a chance to greet him, and, since I had laryngitis at the time, the group of visitors surrounding him were politely silent for a moment as I asked, “Your Excellency, in March of last year, you hoped that all factors which have led to our intervention in Iraq will eventually be made public. Do you think they have been?”
Archbishop O’Brien didn’t answer. He just sighed, and looked at the ceiling for the longest time….

Truth — The First
Casualty of War

We know today that Archbishop O’Brien and the rest of us were lied to in 2003. But it wasn’t the first time. students at Catholic University in Washington supported Woodrow Wilson’s re-election in 1916 because he lied to them about his intentions regarding World War I. “He Kept Us Out Of War,” was Wilson’s campaign slogan, and my father led the cheers outside the Democrat National Committee on election night.
Six months later, my dad and every other able-bodied male at Catholic U were in the Army.
That same year, according to our beloved Paul Likoudis, “Joseph Matt was both indefatigable and courageous in opposing the war. . . . He was, to put it bluntly, ashamed and embarrassed that James Cardinal Gibbons thwarted Pope Benedict XV’s peace plan, even refusing to press President Wilson, as asked by the Pontiff, to accept it.”
That’s right. James Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, Primate of America, didn’t want Catholics to be perceived as loyal to “a foreign power” — the Vatican — so he assured Woodrow Wilson early on that Catholics would serve with honor if the U.S. entered the “War to End All Wars.”
“The primary duty of a citizen,” Gibbons said on April 5, 1917 — five days after Congress declared war on Germany — “is loyalty to country. It is exhibited by an absolute and unreserved obedience to his country’s call.”
For Gibbons, it was a tough call indeed. When Pope Benedict called for peace on August 1, 1917, the cardinal assured Archbishop Giovanni Bonzano, Benedict’s apostolic delegate, “that he would use to the utmost whatever influence he might possess to induce the government and the public toward a favorable consideration of the Pope’s note,” according to John Tracy Ellis, Gibbons’ biographer.
There is no record of the Primate of America having done so.
But to paraphrase Dickens, it is the same with any war. Two decades later, many (but certainly not all) Catholics supported Franklin Roosevelt’s re-election in 1940 because he lied too.
On October 30, 1940, Roosevelt told a crowd in Boston that, “I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”
On November 1, he told a crowd in Brooklyn that “I am fighting to keep our people out of foreign wars. And I will keep on fighting.”
By the 1940s, Gibbons’ alliance between America’s Catholic bishops and the Democrat Party was carved in stone. In July1941, Bishop Joseph Hurley of Florida announced on a national radio broadcast that Catholics would support U.S. entry into the war. That was five months before Pearl Harbor, when a sizable majority of Americans, including American Catholics, still opposed getting into the war.
Ignore Congress, Hurley said. “The problem [of entering the war] should be left to the Commander-in-Chief, who alone…is capable of bringing us safely through…As for the people,” Hurley said, “they have neither the experience nor access to the facts to decide whether we go to war.”
In the interest of full disclosure, those “inexperienced, uninformed” Catholics opposed to the war included my father, who by then had become the Dean of the Law School at Notre Dame and legal adviser to General Wood, the leader of America First.
But that’s another story.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Today . . .

Pedophile advocacy group praises Germany’s new law softening punishment for child pornography

(LifeSiteNews) — In 2010, Jan Flesichhauer and Wiebke Hollersen penned a chilling essay for Der Spiegel titled “How the Left Took Things Too Far.” “One of the goals of the German 1968 movement was the sexual liberation of children,” they wrote. “For some, this meant overcoming all sexual inhibitions, creating a climate in which even pedophilia was considered progressive.”   That climate involved discussions about whether sex with children might be healthy for the children and musings that this could…Continue Reading

Here’s Harrison Butker’s Full Speech Celebrating Pro-Life Christian Values

Some sports stars make headlines for drug abuse or acts of violence, but one football player is taking heat for publicly promoting Christian values. On Saturday, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker delivered the commencement at the Catholic Benedictine College, encouraging young graduates to stand firm in their faith and live out authentic Christian virtues. Now, the National Football League (NFL) is playing defense and condemning Butker’s speech as offensive. The NFL’s senior vice president and top diversity, equity,…Continue Reading

DeSantis declares Florida ‘will not comply’ with Biden rule forcing ‘gender identity’ on schools

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — Florida “will not comply” with the Biden administration’s recently finalized rule forcing widespread recognition and accommodation of LGBT “identities” on the American education system, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis declared. In February, President Joe Biden’s U.S. Department of Education submitted to the U.S. Office of Management & Budget its finalized Title IX rule. Late last month, the administration published the rule, which expands the federal

U.S. birth and fertility rates drop to record lows, according to CDC report

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Apr 26, 2024 / 16:45 pm Provisional data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week showed that the fertility rate in the United States hit a record low and the total number of births in the country was the lowest it’s been in decades.  According to the report, slightly fewer than 3.6 million babies were born in 2023, or 54.4 births per 1,000 women aged 15 through…Continue Reading

Kamala Harris Heads to Arizona to Promote Abortions Up to Birth

Kamala Harris is visiting Arizona today to showcase the Biden-Harris Administration’s radical support of unlimited abortion. “Kamala Harris has become the abortion czar of the Biden Administration,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee. “Instead of joining with the pro-life movement to build programs and safety nets to help promote real solutions for women and their preborn children, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have engaged in fearmongering and propaganda,” Tobias continue

The King of Kings

Cindy Paslawski We are at the end of the Church year. We began with Advent a year ago, commemorating the time awaiting the coming of the Christ and we are ending these weeks later with a vision of the future, a vision of Christ the King of the Universe on His throne before us all.…Continue Reading

7,000 Pro-Lifers March In London

By STEVEN ERTELT LONDON (LifeNews) — Over the weekend, some seven thousand pro-life people in the UK participated in the March for Life in London to protest abortion.They marched to Parliament Square on Saturday, September 2 under the banner of “Freedom to Live” and had to deal with a handful of radical abortion activists.During the…Continue Reading

An Appeal For Prayer For The Armenian People

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke on August 29, 2023, issued this prayer for the Armenian people, noting their unceasing love for Christ, even in the face of persecution.) + + On the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, having a few days ago celebrated the…Continue Reading

Robert Hickson, Founding Member Of Christendom College, Dies At 80

By MAIKE HICKSON FRONT ROYAL, Va. (LifeSiteNews) — Robert David Hickson, Jr., of Front Royal, Va., died at his home on September 2, 2023, at 21:29 p.m. after several months of suffering and after having received the Last Rites of the Catholic Church. He was surrounded by friends and family.Robert is survived by me —…Continue Reading

The Real Hero Of “Sound of Freedom”… Says The Film Has Strengthened The Fight Against Child Trafficking

By ANA PAULA MORALES (CNA) —Tim Ballard, a former U.S. Homeland Security agent who risked his life to fight child trafficking, discussed the impact of the movie Sound of Freedom, which is based on his work, in an August 29 interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. “I’ve spent more than 20 years helping…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This lesson on medical-moral issues is taken from the book Catholicism & Ethics. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. The email and postal addresses are given at the end of this column. Special Course On Catholicism And Ethics (Pages 53-59)…Continue Reading

Color Politics An Impediment To Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The USCCB is rightly concerned about racism, as they should be about any sin. In the 2018 statement Open Wide Our Hearts, they affirm the dignity of every human person: “But racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and…Continue Reading

Trademarks Of The True Messiah

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this essay on September 2, and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + In Sunday’s Gospel the Lord firmly sets before us the need for the cross, not as an end in itself, but as the way to glory. Let’s consider the Gospel in three stages.First: The Pattern That…Continue Reading

A Beacon Of Light… The Holy Cross And Jesus’ Unconditional Love

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON Each year on September 14 the Church celebrates the Feast Day of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The Feast Day of the Triumph of the Holy Cross commemorates the day St. Helen found the True Cross. It is fitting then, that today we should focus on the final moments of Jesus’ life on the…Continue Reading

Our Ways Must Become More Like God’s Ways

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9Phil. 1:20c-24, 27aMatt. 20:1-16a In the first reading today, God tells us through the Prophet Isaiah that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, especially when we look at what the Lord…Continue Reading

The Devil And The Democrats

By FR. DENIS WILDE, OSA States such as Minnesota, California, Maryland, and others, in all cases with Democrat-controlled legislatures, are on a fast track to not only allow unborn babies to be murdered on demand as a woman’s “constitutional right” but also to allow infanticide.Our nation has gotten so used to the moral evil of killing in the womb that…Continue Reading

Crushed But Unbroken . . . The Martyrdom Of St. Margaret Clitherow

By RAY CAVANAUGH The late-1500s were a tough time for Catholics in England, where the Reformation was in full gear. A 1581 law prohibited Catholic religious ceremonies. And a 1584 Act of Parliament mandated that all Catholic priests leave the country or else face execution. Some chose to remain, however, so they could continue serving the faithful.Also taking huge risks…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)