Thursday, October 18, 2012

“We were not made for war”

“We were not made for war”, was said twice at St. Peter's at E.71 and Euclid last night in Cleveland. The Community of Saint Peter sits three hundred people, perhaps twenty seats were empty. I recognized three professional reporters in the audience, none of them will be writing about this programme. Fr. Bourgeois told his life story in a soft voice, and excellent humour. He speaks in a calm, measurd tone. His sincerity, and integrity are very apparent.

Fr. Bourgeois is best known to the world for beginning the School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) in 1990. The final impetus for this was the dark of the night military execution of professed religious in El Salvador that took place on 16 November 1989. It was not the first planned murders. The assassins, and planners, were trained at the School of the Americas, once in Panama, now in Columbus Georgia's (where Fr. Bourgeois now resides) Fort Benning. Every year, since 1990, there has been a non-violent protest at Fort Benning. Some 300 people have been arrested in that span for criminal trespass, and are generally sentenced to the maximum (six months). An half dozen Clevelanders had travelled that route. Some were in attendance, last night. Father Ray commented on his first detention, “Six years of Maryknoll seminary is good preparation for prison”. He then asked the Jesuit about his experience. Fr. Jimenez speaks little, and did not respond. Fr. Bourgeois is eminently quotable. He said he preferred prison to lobbying.

Roy Bourgeois is from Southwest Louisiana, Cajun country. He mentioned Sr. Helen Prejean, who is also from French Louisiana. He was unaware that, she too was in town speaking that moment in St. Felicitas, Euclid. He came to the priesthood through his experiences as a naval officer doing a combat tour in Viet Nam. An Army chaplain pointed him to the Maryknollers (missionaries in poor countries). Military veterans see war, and know without doubt its actuality.

Father Roy spent the early 1970s in Bolivia. He said the poor showed him solidarity,“The poor people of Bolivia taught me theology”. For such things, he was arrested, accused of insurrection, and deported. During the murderous time in El Salvador (1980), he became a public critic of US foreign policy in Latin America. It is ironic that a critic of the military-bourgeois alliance, is a former naval officer named Roy Bourgeois. ['roi' is french for king]

The work of the SOA Watch has been successful in having a number of countries to stop sending their military [to be trained in murder and torture] to the renamed School of the Americas. The democratically elected governments so doing are: Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua. In 2009 Bourgeois was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prise, and unlike certain previous recipients, he deserves one.

Father Roy is very clear and transparent. He says whenever he is invited to speak (in the last few years), he adds something about women's ordination. “When scandal is mentioned in the church, women's ordination is not what comes to mind”.

This has gotten him in trouble with Rome. He had already been in trouble with the American hierarchy, “the bishops are not shepherds, they are government sheep”. He has been threatened with ex-communication, more than once. He says, he is not concerned about a pension.

He maintains, “Primacy of conscience is sacred”. He is not going to recant. His scriptural defense is St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians iii. 28,  “There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”.
postscriptum a: I have great respect for Father Roy. His new issue he contrasts tradition with equality. He does this 'seamlessly' as he advertises.

There are many kindred issues. Some are attracted to certain ones, and may not be so to others. As i have read, the Ft. Benning weekends attract a diverse lot. I conjecture, some of those have agendas that distract from peace issues.

Now, the idea of women priests is not my issue; although Fr. Bourgeois does give a gently, simple, concise, and elegantly fine argument.

postscriptum b: 3.00 pm 18 October 2012: yesterday, i was very busy with the camera. It takes me time to type. I did not expect to have this flurry of posts. Again, careful editing i often outweigh for quick posting. I, sometimes, change punctuation, and really want tenses to agree. I sometimes begin thought in one tense, and my fingers wander the keyboard and end in another tense. That i always wish to discover and correct. I also find out, that, “O!, i forgot this good phrase, or no i meant to spell 'abc', not 'acb' ”.  I am also aware of grade school rules of grammar, some i choose to disregard. So if you read this one minute after posting, do not be surprised of minor final differences. Any significant differences will be made in postscriptum. But a year later, if i see a missing letter in a word, i will correct without an asterisk. Also the new design of this journal templates by 'Blogger' is inferior to its predecessor.

Oddities of timing, the occurrence of items to note about fall in a spectrum. Sometimes there is nothing, other times heaps. If i become busy, there will be few postings, even if there are several things to discuss. To-day, Bill Clinton, and Bruce Springsteen were in Parma, Ohio. President Obama, yesterday was in Athens, Ohio. Some Republicans were in Berea, yesterday. I did not make any of it.

postscriptum c: noon 20 October: postscriptum b was applicable to the entire journal from the first post. There has been two periods when my access to a computer and the internet was not convenient. As the sidebar indicates, this journal began in July 2009. The one it superceded began in July 2007. Three ancillary ones are dormant. All in all, 1,148 posts were issued [in computer parlance -- published], 2 were withdrawn [lost sentiment], 7 were by guests; a few were temporary notices, clarifications, and particular messages to particular anonymous people -- all those were never meant to stay. At first i did not think of using graphics, very soon i went back to posts and added them. At first, i used public images, including famous ones (and). Then i began using my photographs. At stretches they are all fotos i shot, exceptions being from national news stories; recently the political graphics (that includes the humourous, especially) have nearly all been borrowed

Well, this click here was the initial post. All in all, i believe it has shown to be correct; but it has been unsuccessful. I have said in conversations to acquaintances, “that's my job, to be right and to be ignored”, and “i know stuff, that's the reason not to listen”.  This has taken a toll. I suggested (at least) once, this would end; and i was talked out of it by two respondents. Now, i have buried this in a postscript footnote.
POSTSCRIPTUM  20  NOVEMBER MMXII: It was announced, yesterday, that Rome has defrocked Fr. Roy Bourgeois.

On a side note:  Finn is bishop in Kansas City, Lennon in Cleveland. 
 postscriptum 6 pm 21 April 2015: Finn has resigned as bishop. [click] and {click}

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