Tag Archives: Catechism of the Catholic Church
Trump is a ‘Clear and Present Danger’ to American people and world peace
By Michael M. Barrick
Donald Trump has proven repeatedly that he is a “Clear and Present Danger” to the American people and world peace (if you need proof, just stop reading; this column is written based on the assumption that our readers do have gray matter in their heads and have been paying attention to the impact our president is having on the most vulnerable among us and upon world peace).
Now, if you’re still reading, this is what is required. Whatever else we may be doing personally or professionally, we each have an obligation as children of God to oppose Donald Trump and his policies at every turn. We have a duty to our children and grandchildren and those we will never know who will follow them. We have inherited a legacy of a nation that, though imperfect, has generally been on a trajectory of improvement on human rights. That all changed in November 2016.
Trump must be stopped. He is unfit for the job. He lacks the historical knowledge, intellect, diplomatic skills, and ultimately basic human empathy that his job requires.
Stunned at the idiocy of the American people, I declared after the election to several friends that I was done with politics. It didn’t help that for 17 days of early voting, I experienced some of the most hateful comments ever directed at me – by so-called Christians. So, although I was the campaign manager for the most honorable person I have ever known to run for office – Art Sherwood, who ran for the North Carolina State Senate – after the election, I was determined to walk way. In fact, despite efforts by some friends and colleagues to immediately launch an effort to refute the inevitable disaster that we all knew was unfolding, I refused to participate. I said that the American people had chosen the idiot and could live with the consequences; I was “going back to the woods.” That was selfish. We can’t live with the consequences.
Indeed, before the election, I wasn’t a fan of Hillary Clinton and cast my primary vote for Bernie Sanders before ultimately voting for Clinton in the General Election. She was not my first choice, but I was – and am – confident that she would not have undone 240 years of American progress. So, admittedly overconfident like so many others, I looked forward to a better and relaxing 2017. Well, it didn’t turn out that way. So, as has been said before, these are times that try our souls. Indeed.
So, please, do what you can to save our nation. I personally have “set my face like flint” and will not turn to the left or to the right until Donald Trump is but a mere (albeit embarrassing) footnote in our history. It is my duty. It is our duty.
My outlook is not made in a void or out of a personal hatred for Donald Trump (though he does all he can to invite it). It is informed by Catholic social teaching. Yes, my faith informs my writing, my actions, and I hope all that I do. And that faith is not remotely close to the one espoused by the “Religious” Right.
What I learned about following Jesus came from my parents, from the nuns at St. Mary’s Grade School and Notre Dame High School in Clarksburg, W.Va., and from the priests at two parishes – Immaculate Conception in Clarksburg and later in life at All Saints in neighboring Bridgeport. These people and institutions were not perfect. I challenged virtually everything I was taught. I studied the scriptures myself. I scrutinized the Catechism. I have had more than one “dark night of the soul.”
Ultimately though, after 61 years, I have concluded I was exposed to some pretty solid teaching – and thank God, mentoring. This is what I learned, and believe even more strongly today: the “United States Catholic Catechism for Adults,” teaches, “A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first” (p. 423).
Clearly, Donald Trump – and for that matter, it would seem the entire (ahem, Christian) GOP – could not care less about the poor and vulnerable. Their enacted and proposed domestic policies will cause great pain and suffering to our most vulnerable citizens. Trump also is quickly destabilizing every volatile region of the earth through his bellicose policies and ignorant tweets.
He must be stopped. He is unfit for the job. He lacks the historical knowledge, intellect, diplomatic skills, and ultimately basic human empathy that his job requires.
So, he must go. His cabinet, if it had just one person of principle, could easily make a case to remove Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Lacking that, it would seem impeachment is inevitable, but again, that requires courage within Trump’s own party. I see nobody in the GOP with such courage.
Of course, in 2018, we can take away his Republican majorities in Congress. That will help, but it may be too late. And should the Democrats win, they are just as susceptible to the intoxicating effects of power as any other human, so they must be diligently monitored as well.
Clearly, any and every strategy that will remove or mitigate Donald Trump – so long as it is peaceful and within the law – must be employed. If you care about peace and justice, you must stand against this evil president. It doesn’t matter how. You know the highest and best use of your talents. Put them to work for this cause. Pray; write a song; run for office; support organizations that are fighting Trump; and, for God’s sake, vote! It is your most precious freedom. Not voting is being a lousy steward of the rights you enjoy that were paid for by the blood of your ancestors.
The Republicans love to quote scripture to justify their policies. How they justify an alliance with Donald Trump, is on the surface, mystifying. Ultimately though, it isn’t. They’re just liars. They use religion to get votes, but ultimately simply want power to enact an agenda totally inconsistent with American values and history.
So, let us respond appropriately: “Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). You need not be a Christian to understand this. If you have eyes to see and ears to hear, you know what is going on. As such, you know your duty. Let’s get about doing it.
© Michael M. Barrick 2017.
On Twitter: @appchronicle
Consuming and wasting upsets the ecological balance and is inherently unjust
By Michael M. Barrick
ALUM BRIDGE, W.Va. – When the environmental encyclical by Pope Francis is released Thursday, it will launch a critical philosophical and political debate. Indeed, at least one writer has predicted that the encyclical is a revolutionary assault upon capitalism.
It probably will be. And, it is long overdue. What the pope is doing is addressing the root cause of climate chaos – unbridled materialism that leads to consuming and wasting that upsets the planet’s delicate ecological balance. It also creates huge injustices in distribution of vital resources such as food and water, which then creates a whole new set of problems, not the least of which is war. Of course, we shouldn’t forget famine, pestilence, inadequate or nonexistent medical care and education.
In short, the threats of climate chaos cannot be overstated.
Here, in the heart of West Virginia, this is not just a philosophical debate. It is reality. Public health and safety, the environment, the economy and human services are all compromised by the Mountain State’s reliance upon a fossil fuel mono-economy. In the southern reaches of the state, it is Mountaintop Removal (MTR).
To learn more about MTR, read these articles:
Citing Medical Studies, Activists Call for End to Mountaintop Removal Permits
Federal and State Agencies Targeted for Lax Oversight of Mountaintop Removal
Environmental Groups target W.Va. DEP over Mountaintop Removal Permitting
Here, in the central and northern section of West Virginia – as well as in neighboring Ohio and Pennsylvania – the threat is fracking, a slang word for hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting a fluid consisting of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into shale. This fractures the rock, releasing natural gas, which is then extracted. In West Virginia, the Marcellus shale, a layer of rock 3,500 – 8,000 feet below the surface, is the object of fracking. The vertical depth of the formation is about 150 feet. Whether recovered or left behind, the frack fluid presents problems. The wastewater contains not only the chemicals added to the water, but also heaving minerals and radioactive materials recovered as part of the extraction process.
You can read several articles about the impact of fracking here:
A Dirty Dozen Reason to Oppose Fracking
Attorney Crisscrosses West Virginia and Beyond to Teach About Pipelines
Victim in Fracking Accident had Warned County Commissioners of Roadway Dangers
Voices Out of the Wilderness
Incompetency and Complacency Increases Dangers from Fracking
From ‘Almost Heaven’ to ‘Almost Hell’
Breaking Ground, Breaking Hearts
Health and Well-Being of Residents Being Subordinated to Fracking Industry
Filmmaker Finds Compelling Story in Her Own ‘Backyard’
These stories indicate that Pope Francis understands that the debate about climate chaos is beyond determining its validity. The facts are clear; the climate is changing. It is doing so rapidly and unpredictably. That is why referring to it as climate chaos is most appropriate. Change sounds slow and benign. What we are experiencing is anything but that. We are experiencing weather swings that can only be described as chaotic – and deadly, whether immediately as in natural disasters or over time, through public health epidemics and ecological destruction. Its source is not a mystery. It is excess by humankind.
That he would speak to the subject is not surprising. The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” states, “The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.”
What gives offense, apparently, is that the pope actually is going to offer a prescription for what ails us – conserve, consider your neighbor and care for creation. Good shepherds lead their sheep. Pope Francis is doing so.
I suppose in some quarters, the concept of taking care of your home is foreign. So, caring for one’s neighbor is likely considered a rather quaint notion. The teachings of Jesus Christ, however, are the opposite. Apparently, this pope takes very seriously his apostolic calling to proclaim the Gospel – all of it.
Let those who have ears to hear take it as seriously as he does.
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