Archive for August 6th, 2011

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Today is the feast of the Transfiguration. It is also the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima; the two commemorations are forever linked. The dark irony is deep: on the feast when the Divine Glory of Jesus Christ was manifest, when uncreated Light streamed forth from His countenance, the United States, in another kind of flash of created light unleashed unprecedented destruction on innocent men (though they were few, it being war time) women and children.

The bombing, of course was unequivocally immoral, and any attempt to justify it assumes that the end justifies the means, a proposition condemned by the Catholic Church as well as any sane person. To assert otherwise is to open the door for, well, every evil. And while most American Catholics were blinded by nationalism and fear of the effects of an invasion, a few saw more clearly. Here is Dorothy Day, from the September, 1945 issue of The Catholic Worker:

“Mr. Truman was jubilant. President Truman. True man; what a strange name, come to think of it. We refer to Jesus Christ as true God and true Man. Truman is a true man of his time in that he was jubilant. He was not a son of God, brother of Christ, brother of the Japanese, jubilating as he did. He went from table to table on the cruiser which was bringing him home from the Big Three conference, telling the great news; “jubilant” the newspapers said. Jubilate Deo. We have killed 318,000 Japanese.

That is, we hope we have killed them, the Associated Press, on page one, column one of the Herald Tribune, says. The effect is hoped for, not known. It is to be hoped they are vaporized, our Japanese brothers — scattered, men, women and babies, to the four winds, over the seven seas. Perhaps we will breathe their dust into our nostrils, feel them in the fog of New York on our faces, feel them in the rain on the hills of Easton.”

Icon by Mother Anastasia

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