"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head."
The Pope decries US action in Iraq without UN approval. But the 1991 Gulf War had UN approval, and he opposed that, too. Had we listened to the Pope a dozen years ago, Saddam would now stand astride much of the world's oil supply, in all likelihood backed by a nuclear arsenal.
It is easier for the Roman Catholic Right to shrug off Rome because, as it happens, Rome is being shifty. During his mission to Washington, Cardinal Laghi declared: "We have always insisted on the framework of the United Nations. Without it, I'd say war is illegal." But Americans have not forgotten their first bout of warfare with Iraq, in 1991. That conflict had fervent UN approval; Providence had apparently crafted it to meet Aquinas' standards for a just war; yet it was still condemned by the Pope and Vatican. People also remember that the UN sanctions designed since then to contain Saddam and enforce inspections have also been steadily damned by Rome.
Thus John Paul, despite his approval of forcible intervention in East Timor and Bosnia, is widely perceived as a pacifist, and therefore not a serious commentator. "It's the Pope's job to shake his head over the wicked way of the world," I was told by another white-haired, loyal worshipper at another parish, forthright and cheerful in sensible shoes and medal of Lourdes. "And it's our job to do something about it." (Via Andrew Sullivan)
Much is made at St. Blog's of thinking with tradition. Well, Catholics have a longstanding tradition of nodding deferentially toward the Church without taking too seriously what it says. That tradition will continue.