The Catholic Church has always taught that human nature is essentially good but tragically weak. That is the major difference between Roman Catholic moral theology and the basic teachings of Martin Luther. He had a much more negative view of human nature. Nevertheless, because of that weakness, sin and corruption abounds all around us – in the corporate world, the government and sadly even the Church. Because of this, there is a need for people with integrity within these massive organizations and movements to have the courage to stand up, criticize and, if necessary, publically condemn evil, dishonesty, mismanagement, theft, etc. This is very hard to do because large organizations don’t like any criticism, much less public criticism and they will often move against the complainer with a very heavy hand.
All of this was brought to my mind when I saw the other day in a publication from the Government Accountability Project that recently six whistleblowers had been charged by our government under the espionage act. I can’t cover everything here but let me just point out that one accused person, John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer, publicly acknowledged the waterboarding problems in the Bush administration. Kiriakou did heroic work in Pakistan for many years before retiring in 2004.
Kiriakou’s “crime” is that he testified on ABC News about the prevalence of waterboarding as a policy of the US. He gave detailed information about its misuse. Ironically, he is the only individual to be prosecuted in relationship to the Bush administration’s torture programs. Kikiakou is the sixth whistleblower to be indicted by the Obama administration under the espionage act. That is more than all previous administrations combined.
Dear Lord, something is really out of balance here. Interrogators who tortured prisoners or the officials who gave the orders, the attorneys who authored the torture memos, CIA agents who destroyed the interrogation tapes have not been held professionally accountable, much less charged with crimes, but John Kiriakou is facing decades in prison for helping to expose torture.
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Behind Closed Doors
Just a few weeks after the Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona outlawed altar girls, a new policy has been announced going back on yet another aspect of the Second Vatican Council; namely, the distribution of the Eucharist under both species. The Diocese of Phoenix has announced that reception of the Eucharist under both species of bread and wine will now be the exception rather than the rule.
This new policy will certainly generate a lot of discussion between liturgists and canonists. If you look closely at the situation, I think you will find that much more is involved than appears on the surface.
The Second Vatican Council opened up the Church to all of the faithful in a way that was unimaginable in the 19th century. All of the baptized, both male and female, were given new importance and responsibilities in the life of the Church. Regretfully, many Church leaders in the last 20 years have exerted a tremendous amount of influence to undo major aspects of the Council. Unfortunately, they are succeeding. As I have said many times, whereas the Council was a meeting of 2,500 years, operating under the glare of mass media, the present rollback is being executed by a handful of clerics operating behind closed doors.
They will not be able to completely undo the Council but they are certainly limiting its scope and effectiveness.
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A good, steady job is crucially important to the survival and prosperity of the average American family. Jobs are always crucial and that is why I have always felt so sad about the way we treat former convicts when they come out of the Department of Corrections. Regardless of the crime, the fact that they now have a record makes it extraordinarily difficult to get a job. This has always been the case. I think it is a shame and that it should be changed, but now we have a new situation that is even worse.
A person out of work in this weak economy is at a great disadvantage because there are so many seeking jobs. Now comes the hard part. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has declared that regretfully “excluding the unemployed” has become “business as usual.” This is a tragically unfair policy. I understand that employers are concerned about getting the very best possible employees on their payrolls, but they also need to be conscious of the national agenda. We must get these 15 million people back to work and excluding them is not only hurting the individuals that are involved, but impeding the growth of the American economy.
Refusing to hire people on the basis of race, religious, age or disability, among other categories, is illegal but companies that wont even consider hiring someone who isn’t currently employed somewhere else are generally not breaking the law, at least for now! Thanks be to God that in our free democratic society we have the power to change problems as they appear and develop.
Let’s address this problem as a nation and let’s address it now!
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