Monday, August 08, 2005

An extract from a speech by Father George Zabelka, at a Pax Christi Conference in August 1984, on the 40th Anniversary of the Hiroshima bombings

From the New Sunday Times, August 7 2005
"I worked with Martin Luther King Jr during the Civil Rights struggle in Flint, Michigan.

His example and his words of non-violent action, choosing love instead of hate, truth instead of lies, and non-violence instead of violence stirred me deeply.

This brought me face to face with pacifism - active nonviolent resistance to evil.

I recall his words after he was jailed in Montgomery, and this blew my mind.

He said: "Blood may flow in the streets of Montgomery before we gain our freedom, but it must be our blood that flows, and not that of the white man. We must not harm a single hair on the head of our white brothers."

I struggled. I argued. But yes, there it was in the Sermon on the Mount, very clear: "Love your enemies. Return good for evil."

I went through a crisis of faith. Either accept what Christ said, as unpassable and silly as it may seem, or deny him completely.


Ethical hairsplitting over the morality of various types of instruments and structures of mass slaughter is not what the world needs from the Church, although it is what the world has come to expect from the followers of Christ.

What the world needs is a grouping of Christians that will stand up and pay up with Jesus Christ.

What the world needs is Christians who, in language that the simplest soul can understand, will proclaim: the follower of Christ cannot participate in mass slaughter. He or she must love as Christ loved, live as Christ lived and, if necessary, die as Christ died, loving one's enemies.


As a Catholic chaplain I watched as the Boxcar, piloted by a good Irish Catholic, dropped the bomb on Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, the centre of Catholicism in Japan.

I knew that St. Francis Xavier, centuries before, had brought the Catholic faith to Japan. I knew that schools, churches, and religious orders were annihilated. Yet I said nothing.

Thank God that today I'm able to speak out against war, all war. The prophets of the Old Testament spoke out against all false gods of gold, silver and metal.

Today we are worshipping the gods of metal, the bomb. We are putting our trust in physical power, militarism, and nationalism. The bomb, not God, is our security and our strength.

The prophets of the Old Testament said simply: Do not put your trust in chariots and weapons, but put your trust in God. Their message was simple, and so is mine.

We must all do something for peace. We must stop this insanity of worshipping the gods of metal. We must take a stand against evil and idolatory. This is our destiny at the most critical time of human history.

But it's also the greatest opportunity ever offered to any group of people in the history of our world - to save our world from complete annihilation."

This, obviously, isn't the whole speech. It isn't even the whole of what was printed in the New Straits Times (which my dad brought back from KL). But he did bring up lots of points of interest. Like pacificism.

Unfortunately, i've got to go now. So i'll come back to this later. Ciaoz peeps.

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