Tuesday, October 17, 2023


By Tim Rohr

In spite of hearing about the conflict in the Middle-East all my life, I consider myself too uninformed to comment about the current conflict directly other than to oppose terrorism of any sort. 

However, I believe, that what is happening there still poses a lesson for us...both in the United States and in Guam.

The bottom line is that bad things do happen to good people, not only because of what bad people do but also because of what good people do not do. 

A well-worn saying, attributed to Edmund Burke, is "the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

The attribution to Burke has been contested, but because the mantra makes startling sense it has survived regardless of who said it. 

As a side note, the genesis of this quote can somewhat be traced to John Stuart Mills, an English philosopher and economist, who in 1867 stated: "Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing."

Note: Actually, the quote by Mills is even more on point and powerful.

We know this

Most of us intuitively know this. We see a traffic accident and we just want to drive on. We know of drug dealings in the house down the street and we choose to ignore. We hear of child abuse, clergy sex abuse, government abuse, and we retreat. 

It's just self-preservation, really - our deepest instinct. But there are consequences, and the sheep will pay as well as the goats. And while God will separate the sheep from the goats at The Judgment, "the World" will make no such distinction. The good will suffer with the bad: the weeds and the wheat shall be cut down together.

Relative to the current Israel-Gaza thing, the bottom line is that Gaza has been self-governed since 2005 and 90% of Gazans have elected and re-elected Hamas as their governing authority for the last 16 years. 

Given what Hamas is, it could be said that most Gazans were too fearful to elect anyone else. 

The same can be said about Hitler and his National Socialist Party when they were democratically elected in 1933 and by which time Hitler had already been scary for years. The majority of Germans can't be faulted - at least at the time - for just wanting to tend their families and their gardens and avoid the wrath of the Brown Shirts, so "let's just vote for Hitler and hope he's not what he appears to be." Most of us would have done the same.

In the end of course, all Germans suffered, not just Hitler's guys. And unfortunately, many Israeli's and Gazans have suffered and will suffer in the ongoing conflict, and not just the bad guys - regardless of what side they are on. The weeds will grow with the wheat and both will be cut down together. It's one of the mysteries of God's justice. 

Suffering for the misdeeds of others is nothing new of course. Fr. Chad Ripperger, a well known Catholic priest and exorcist, has an excellent series of talks about "generational spirits," in which he reminds us of how evil can infect us generationally and wherein we can and do suffer for the sins of our fathers, our mothers, and our ancestors - going back generations.

This, of course, is the very basis of the Doctrine of Original Sin. While through Christ we can be saved from eternal consequences of Original Sin through Baptism, we are not saved from the temporal consequences of Original Sin: suffering and death. 

Leaving history and theology, let's bring this closer to home. 

For whatever reason, Catholics, for decades now, have been the largest voting bloc for pro-abortion candidates, specifically presidential candidates, and most recently, Obama (54% in 2008 and 50% in 2012) and Biden (51% in 2020). 

Here is a statement by Catholics for Choice about the election of Biden:

US CATHOLIC VOTERS PLAYED A pivotal role in the 2020 election, helping lift Democrat Joe Biden to a narrow victory over President Donald Trump. In so doing, they sent a powerful message about support for abortion rights and access to reproductive healthcare among US Catholics today, as well as the limited role they believe US bishops should play in our electoral system.

Sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance

There are four mortal sins that are so evil that they are said to be sins that cry to heaven for vengeance: willful murder (Gn 4:10), sodomy (Gn 18:20-21), oppression of the poor (Ex 2:23), and defrauding workers of their just wages (Jas 5:4).

Murder is first on the list for a reason. Since only God can give Life, only God has the right to take it. Murder, which is the willful taking of the life of an innocent human being is an immediate repudiation of God's authority to His Face. How much more so when the murdered human is not just innocent, but defenseless, as is a child in the womb - the most innocent and defenseless of all?

Thus it can be clearly said that Abortion, of all sins, is the sin most offensive to God. And yet, we Catholics, the majority of we Catholics, champion, campaign for, elect, and support not only the Obamas and Bidens of the United States, but the Lou Leon Guerrero's of Guam. 

And, I would venture to say that we in Guam are all the more culpable given that so many "Lou" supporters (even amongst the clergy) are regular Mass-going communicants.

How long before the Lord gives permission for the harvesters of heaven to chop down our wheat with the weeds? 

If you are Catholic, and even if you are not, you may want to read THE LITTLE NUMBER OF THOSE WHO ARE SAVED by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice. And you may want to think twice about who you next vote for. 

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