On Faith and Morals

The age of terror started in the southern hemisphere years before September 2001. The twentieth anniversary of the killing at the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador of a housekeeper, her teenage daughter, and six Jesuit priests is next Monday. “Be a patriot! Kill a priest!” was an infamous slogan at the time, to terrorize the current generation into submission.

The United States Army School of the Americas (SOA) based at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia then and now trains Latin American soldiers in combat and counter-insurgency. The School of the Americas (SOA) changed its name to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC)in January 2001. The name of Archbishop Oscar Romero is included in the litany of the dead and disappeared, along with four American Maryknoll nuns, the El Mazote Massacre of 900 civilians at the Rio Sumpul, and tens of thousands of Latin Americans massacred, tortured, raped, or “disappeared” at the hand of SOA alumni. Or forced into refuge. Graduates of the SOA are responsible for the worst human rights abuses in Latin America. And Bishop Robert Morlino of the Madison, Wisconsin Diocese since 1999 has been allowed to serve since 2005 as an adviser to Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, on their advisory Board of Visitors. (Bishop Robert Morlino was one of eighty bishops who said he would not have allowed President Obama to speak at the graduation at Notre Dame.)

The annual vigil of prayer and protest against the School of the Americas very much involves the Catholic community. The time of protest outside of Fort Benning is once again at hand as students, religious, labor, human rights and social/global justice groups in solidarity with the people of the Americas, asking on November 20th through November 22nd in nonviolent action exactly what kind of country sponsors the School of the Americas, under any name. The current struggle of a nation coming to grips with the closing of Guantanamo Bay detention camps has precluded any self examination of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, which has continued under Clinton, Bush and Obama. In November, 2004, there were 16,000 outside of Fort Benning, protesting the continued support. After his election to president, Obama has resisted pleas to shut the school but he has promised to end torture.

On the eve of the week of Thanksgiving, with the National Conference of Bishops meeting in Baltimore this week voting on matter of the nature and purposes of marriage, I have to wonder about the Catholic part of Bishop Robert Morlino of the Madison, Wisconsin Diocese. If it is the responsibility as bishop to encourage Catholic institutions to “give public witness to the fullness of the Catholic faith,” as stated by Bishop D’Arcy of Fort Wayne about his pastoral presence at Notre Dame, I have to wonder how in the age of terror Bishop Robert Morlino of the Madison, Wisconsin Diocese can justify his participation in the existence of United States Army School of the Americas. If he is in communion with the faithful, his public witness to the fullness of the Catholic faith gives foundation to those that massacre, torture and force into refuge. How in the name of God could you lend support to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation? And then speak out with credibility on any other moral issue? How is he not censored by the National Conference of Bishops? Or by the Vatican? How is he allowed to speak at any Catholic institution?

With the massacred, tortured, raped, or “disappeared”at the hands of SOA alumni, I am uncertain about Bishop Robert Morlino of the Madison, Wisconsin Diocese ability to judge right from wrong. Why would anyone look to Bishop Morlino for any moral guidance? He also wrote at one time that only he, not his flock, should read The Da Vinci Code to be able to understand it. In a university town.

From the late 1970s into the early 1990s, in another age of terror in the southern hemisphere, the United States supported the Salvadoran government armed forces throughout their civil war, with ongoing persecution of clergy and repression of movements for social change. The November 16, 1989 Jesuits martyrdom in the El Salvador civil war was hardly the only instance of repression. It was no different sponsoring the School of he Americas than being a sponsor of Al-Qaeda.

Since September 11, 2001, the age of terror was a lot more personal. In the southern hemisphere years before September 2001, the tax dollars of the American people were used to terrorize a generation into submission, in places where the number of victims well exceeded that American number of dead on September 11, 2001. Away from the lights of New York.

In solidarity with the people of the Americas, on November 20th through November 22nd the protesters will reveal the radiance of their own discovery, no thanks to Bishop Morlino. It was Joseph Campbell who said that preachers “err by trying to talk people into belief. Better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery.”

In other news President Obama announced that he does not intend to sign an international treaty banning land mines saying, “we determined that we wouldn’t be able to meet our national defense needs, nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we signed this convention.”

Watch the video on the below link which explains how it is those Jesuits in the Society of Jesus, lost their lives. It is of note that at a younger age, Robert Morlino left the Society of Jesus.

LINK https://carmenpampafund.org/get-involved/donate

The New York Times reported on February 25, 2005 that more than 42% of Bolivians live on less than £1 a day and in rural areas the situation is even worse, with nearly three out of five people living in extreme poverty. Through the Carmen Pampa Fund, you can do something about it.

UPDATED Link: http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/police-deny-soa-watch-permit-annual-protest-gathering



POST SCRIPT: Loyola Law School Professor Bill Quigley of the School of the Americas Watch Legal Collective has provided a summary of 429 pages of documents that the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund received under a Freedom of Information Act request. According to the National Catholic Reporter, these documents obtained by Washington D.C. lawyer Mara Verheyden-Hilliard for her client The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund demonstrate that School of the Americas Watch was investigated and infiltrated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for at least a decade, from 2001 through 2010.

The 429 pages of documents — which were obtained by Washington D.C. lawyer Mara Verheyden-Hilliard — show this nonviolent human rights organization was under surveillance by the FBI’s counter-terrorism division as well as Homeland Security and “a consortium of law enforcement agencies,” that attempted to criminalize dissent in the best tradition of the USSR.

“In comments to The National Catholic Reporter, Quigley said the FBI surveillance has had a chilling impact on some SOA Watch activists.”

I am not sure that Mr. Quigley ever read that there were seven thousand priests executed in the Civil War in Spain, for taking mostly only one side in the internal war, in what was mostly practice for the major powers, in the big war to come, of fascism versus Communism. In Spain, the Church took the side of what was was seen as traditional power with General Franco, with long-lasting repercussions for the next generations . . . like forced conversion had always been a part of the Spanish Empire since the days of the Inquisition.


And this was as it had been living in Russia on the other side of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. In the 1930s, Stalin was not exactly the savior of anyone, after mostly all religious practice of the Orthodox Church in Russia had been exterminated, per Serge Schmemann’s book, Echoes of a Native Land.  First by Lenin, as was the plan, after the Civil War in parts of Russia following the Revolution.  So behold the danger when a monarch is tied to one religion, or if not one One God, one perspective of One God. 


4 comments so far

  1. polycarp33 on

    Why is it that we don’t seek to shut down an automobile driving school if one of its graduates decides to mow down pedestrians as they cross the street? Well, because the school presumably did not teach them to commit evil with their new skills. If they had, they should certainly be held accountable. So too is it with SOA. The burden of proof is on the protesters to prove that the school teaches its cadets to violate human rights. If the protesters can prove such a thing the debate is theirs. The problem is, instruction on objective human rights is copiously woven throughout the entire curriculum at the SOA. And members of the advisory Board of Visitors serve to ensure and verify it. Why is that so difficult to understand?

    • paperlessworld on

      Read https://paperlessworld.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/feedback/

      So to announce to the world your pain, living both knowing or not knowing? Ignorance still over the 1989 assassinations of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter? There has been an exposé of the depths of depravity, to remember the living horror which apparently has come to be so little known. Spain indicted 16 people plus Former Salvadoran Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano [who had been illegally living in the U.S. since 2002 when he lied on immigration papers] for plotting and carrying out the murder of five Spanish Jesuits plus one other priest. Last year, U.S. officials deported two retired Salvadoran generals living in Florida who were implicated in the 1980 rape and murders of four U.S. churchwomen — Maryknoll nuns — among other crimes. General Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova and General Jose Guillermo Garcia had been both recipients of the U.S. Legion of Merit award from the Armed Forces of the United States of America. And like Former Salvadoran Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano – the former Vice Minister of Defense for Public Safety – they were trained at the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas funded by the U S Congress.


      And implicated in these murders and other crimes were all the members of the U.S Congress which continues to fund this world wide terrorism through the School for the Americas. Naming names, for our elected representatives, of the graduates. At the top of the list, the general in charge of Argentina’s so-called “Dirty War,” the internal conflict in the late-1970s and early-1980s where an estimated 30,000 people were tortured, disappeared, and/or were murdered, was a graduate of the School of the Americas. Generals from eight other Latin and Caribbean nations, many cited by human rights groups for involvement in human rights abuses in their own countries. Among other graduates, Manuel Noriega, former president of Panama. Four of the five ranking Honduran officers, who organized death squads in the 1980s as part of Battalion 316, are graduates. Half of the 250 Colombian officers cited for human rights abuses attended the school. The three highest ranking Peruvian officers convicted in February 1994 of murdering nine university students and a professor were all graduates, as well as the Peruvian army commander who brought out tanks to obstruct an initial investigation of the murders. Hugo Banzer, former dictator of Bolivia, is a graduate of the school. Some of the others similarly honored are the former dictators of Honduras, Ecuador, and Argentina.

      It is quite an admission process, ploycarp33, you have at the School of the Americas! And quite the alumni, after going through the formation process of this publicly funded private school, when I could not be admitted. Women working at the National Security Archives in Washington D.C. made a discovery when they obtained a copy of two declassified cables from the American Embassy in El Salvador. In one cable from the Ambassador to El Salvador in 1981, Dean Hinton discussed a meeting during which Roberto D’Aubuisson plans the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero, with a described a lottery that the people who are attending the meeting hold to see who would draw the “right” to kill Romero himself. Roberto D’Aubuisson was trained at the School of the Americas as were two of the three officers directly responsible for the assassination of Archbishop Romero. The abuses that came out of The School of the Americas — with apologists like the bishop of Madison — were more shameful than the sexual abuse scandals that came out of my Church. Only this seminary is funded by the State and the citizens where I live. It is a War College, ironically, on internal matters of State. For established men. Born elsewhere. And mentally ill. Did you note the surge in mental illness, associated with wealth that caused a nation to go to war. Insurgents on each side. When mental illness is connected to the LAND, when people fought over a piece of LAND. The mental illness is between people who have and people who have not. Over the Spirit in a LAND. Or a missing reverence for the LAND. Or just a missing Spirit that comes out of belonging.

  2. paperlessworld on

    The School of the Americas. There is a discomfort being the son of a famous man. That blush mechanism is quite a gift. This month the spotlight was back, along with an inner restlessness. It was unsettling. I remembered how I had felt in the 4th grade over all this attention when you father was giving a speech at your school, in front of the entire school. From about the age of 12, I handled the attention better, but with a blush that could not be hidden, when perhaps I wanted to hide. Or flee from the spotlight. After about the age of 18, I seemed to have escaped to discover my own personality. In another state. At the age of 18 I felt like I had begun to establish my own identity.

    In Minnesota, the president of Luther Seminary in St. Paul — the country’s largest Evangelical Lutheran Church of America seminary — has resigned amid rising maintenance costs and declining enrollment. The people have spoken. And in November 2012, the archbishop of Boston formally accepted a major reorganization plan that would group the archdiocese’s 288 parishes into 135 clusters that will share staffing and resources. Additionally, the Rev. Paul Soper was named director of Disciples in Mission, the project which will lead the Boston archdiocese’s effort to boost attendance, rebuild a church suffering from declining finances, and address the looming priest shortage. That is the long-term results of poor leadership. The people have spoken and leadership regroups.

    When the pope arranges a bad marriage with a diocese, there will be repercussions. Not all dissimilar to terminating a pregnancy, the loss of a vitality which once had been capable of drawing people will happen in a decade in Madison, Wisconsin. It would seem, similar to the removal of one’s name from a Church membership registry — like a woman who has devoted her life to the Church– that the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts from 2006 which explicitly states “formal act of defection must have more than a juridical-administrative character,” would apply in the same degree. In the theology of a personal God, as Western religion becomes a bit more personal, a pastoral bishop must dialogue with each of the four people being sanctioned.

    The Wisconsin State Journal reports today that Sister Maureen McDonnell, a Madison nun who has led bus trips to the School of the Americas in Fort Benning and staged a 25-hour prayer vigil and fast at Bishop Morlino’s diocesan headquarters when he served on the federal advisory committee in 2005, has been banned from providing spiritual direction or guidance at any Catholic churches in the 11-county diocese, as well as holding workshops on Catholic church property. Perhaps the bishop is invoking papal infallibility, as so many bishops did during the cover-ups of sexual abuse. (As the price of fig leafs have soared.)

  3. paperlessworld on

    The Untouchables. Like Bishop Robert Morlino.

    The Book of Numbers. In the history of modern war, soldiers are much more likely to injure the enemy than kill them.

    The Mexican Army kills eight for every enemy wounded. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross in assessing wars since the late 1970s, about four or more are injured for each person killed. In Mexico, the body count is reversed. According to the government’s own figures, Mexican soldiers are exceptionally efficient killers. Mexican authorities who in early 2014 quit reporting these statistics explain that their soldiers are simply better trained and more skilled than the drug cartels they battle. Those who study the issue say Mexico’s kill rate is practically unheard of; these numbers reveal something more ominous.

    Summary executions. Without trial. In Mexico, fewer than 2 percent of murder cases are successfully prosecuted. Anywhere.

    Per an article in theThe New York Times on May 26, 2016. From the same culture that comes out of General Franco and the culture of Inquisition, in an unique relationship between the military and the government dating back more than 70 years as Mexico emerged from civil war. To maintain stability, unidentified historians say, the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party reached a pact with the armed forces. Per the The New York Times.

    The Untouchables. In exchange for near total autonomy, unlike many Latin American nations, the military would not interfere in politics. So Mexico has never suffered a military coup. And the armed forces are protected from scrutiny.

    Spotlight. Macho men. “Not only is torture generalized in Mexico, but it is also surrounded by impunity,” said Juan E. Méndez, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, told the New York Times. “If the government knows it is frequent and you still don’t get any prosecutions, and the ones you do prosecute usually wind up going nowhere, the blame lies with the state.”

    The rationale. The armed forces kill their enemies because they cannot rely on the shaky legal system. When you cannot trust the legal system. General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, the defense secretary, publicly defending the military, saying it is the only institution confronting organized crime — and winning. Note the missing public defender in the legal system. With the missing legal order. Behold this impunity, “with growing ties with the United States military through exercises, training and military hardware sales meant to improve the professionalism and, by extension, the human rights record of Mexico’s armed forces,” as quoted in The New York Times.

    Two years ago, after the United States agreed to sell Black Hawk helicopters to Mexico, “Senator Patrick J. Leahy (Democrat of Vermont) wrote a law barring the United States from providing training or equipment to foreign troops who commit “gross human rights violations” like murder or torture,” according to the New York Times.

    POST SCRIPT: The protests over the School of the Americas has moved from Georgia to the border with Mexico.

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