Monthly Archives: March 2012

Part 4: How God’s Taught me About Detachment Over and Over and Over

In 1989, when I was 12 years old, I began thinking I might be called to the priesthood. If I did so, I considered four options. One was, of course, to be a Diocesan priest and have some of the financial “perqs” that come from not taking a vow of poverty, as well as knowing I’d be close to my family (except that my parents eventually left SC, so if I had become a diocesan priest, I might have been on my own). Another option was to join the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the order that served my then-parish (although they had left that parish by the time I graduated from college). I really wanted to be either a Discalced Carmelite or a Dominican. Every day, I would pray for God to miraculously cure me of Marfan syndrome, and if He did, then I would go become a Carmelite or a Dominican and go live in some third world country and do missionary work (therein again was a dilemma: I really preferred the Carmelites, but if i was going to fulfill my dream of being a missionary, the Dominicans seemed more suited).

Anyway, around the age of 15, I discerned in prayer that my prayer for a miracle, and my desire to be a priest, were both forms of attachment. I was trying to force God to give me the life and vocation *I* wanted, not the ones *He* wanted. I figured *I* had to be a priest because the Church “needed” priests, and no one else in my family seemed to be doing it.

At the time, everyone was talking about “Medjugorje,” and I took for granted that it was ‘the next big thing’ in the Church. As I started reading more about Fatima, Lourdes, and the lives of the saints, I started realizing that some of the things out of Medjugorje seemed to be not “kosher” compared to other cases of apparitions and miracles.

In 1995, I was given copies of three key books–Wayne Weible’s _Medjugorje: the Message_, Michael Brown’s _The Final Hour_ and Ted & Mary Flynn’s _Thunder of Justice_ (which I did not actually read till 2002). Now, these books were extremely helpful, but I also see how, in retrospect, they stunted my spiritual growth. I developed an unhealthy attachment to praying the Rosary and to Sacramentals. I developed such an obsession with the need to say a mechanical, legalistic Rosary that I was stunting God’s attempts to give me contemplation. I became judgemental of those who did not accept the alleged apparitions or their dire warnings about an impending doom for the world if people didn’t turn to fasting and prayer.

It took me years to achieve these realizations. After I began to encounter very devout and knowledgeable Catholics, particularly Carmelites, who warned me against Medjugorje, I did more research and read sources on both sides of the debate. By the late 2000s, I came to the conclusion that the alleged apparitions were not only false but diabolical–which I’ve also documented many times on this blog. People ask, “Why would God allow all this ‘good fruit’?” “Why the conversions?” “Why the miracles?” “Why all the Masses and Confessions and Rosaries?” Well, for one thing, because it’s all about Attachment. I just read a story of a nun who had half a rosary “turn to gold” and wanted to go back to see if the other half would “turn to gold”–attachment. People insist there are “miracles” even though the Church has investigated those “miracles” and found “no evidence of the supernatural” (so they’re not “miracles”)–attachment (and credulity). Even when I was pro-Medjugorje, I was perplexed by people who insisted one had to go there. Why? I can read a book.

Even authentic apparitions or shrines can be unhealthy when people insist on spending a fortune travelling over and over again to go to visit them, for the sheer attachment of visiting the place, like the attachment to a particular vacation spot. It’s all about the feelings, and not about growth, which comes from self-denial. Mother Angelica used to joke about people coming to visit EWTN and complaining about the inconveniences of their trips, waiting in line, etc., and pointed out that the whole point of a pilgrimage is to make you miserable. Pilgrimages should be like the Irish island. Yes, they should involve spiritual refreshment, but they should also involve self-denial. Most people would be far better served by a trip to their local adoration chapel and their local soup kitchen by a trip to Medjugorje, or even Fatima, or even the Vatican or the Holy Land.

In 1997, I learned about third orders and found that that might be the avenue for living a deeper spirituality and adopting a more austere life while accepting the married vocation I had discerned God called me to (though I had another 3 years to go before I met and married my wife). Again, the Carmelites and Dominicans both attracted me, and there were both in Columbia, SC. Interestingly enough, if I had begun *then*, I might have ended up joining the Carmelite community I’m now a member of (Columbia, SC, has two communities, one TOCarm and one OCDS).

I was also going to start working on an MA in Religious studies.

My parents moved, and I moved with them–again, what *I* wanted for me wasn’t what God wanted. I ended up with an MA in English–my least favorite subject–but one that served me well for a variety of reasons (including preparing me for Carmel in that John of the Cross is a poet, and Carmelites seem to love writing poetry). Again, detachment.

I did join an OCDS “study group,” and there began a 14-year off-and-on journey of membership in the OCDS, which I believe I have recounted elsewhere on this blog, but again, one thing God was working on in me was attachment to the notion of “being a Carmelite.” I took the name John of the Little Way of St. Therese, because I try to live the Little Way as the basis of my spirituality, and I have a great devotion to the Little Flower. However, I’ve found that another consolation of having Therese as my patroness is that it’s 14 years, and I still haven’t made my final profession as a Carmelite, and I still may not–should my Community’s committee decide to hold me back for attendance reasons, or should my aorta dissect again, as it did a few week’s after my last temporary promises), but I take consolation in the fact that St. Therese never became a “fully professed” Carmelite in this lifetime.

It’s all about detachment. When we are detached from worldly goods, from selfish pride, from our own desires, we are truly free. People often tell me how “advanced” they think I am in prayer or spirituality because I know so much and pray so hard and make the sacrifices I do in regard to coping with Marfan syndrome, but I’m just a “beginner” in the eyes of Holy Mother Teresa and Holy Father John. After 23 years since I first got serious about prayer, first started considering the priesthood, I am just now teetering on the beginnings of what they consider “stage 2,” and I still have a long way to go. In John of the Cross’s schema, the last stage before the unitive way is the “passive night of the soul” (often confused with the “dark night of the soul”), which is when the person has become totally detached from worldly things, has accepted contemplation, and then Christ teaches that person what it was like for Him on the Cross–and extremely few people reach that stage, much less the unitive stage, simply because it’s too hard. It’s hard enough to voluntarily give up our worldly attachments, but then to move on to where Jesus infuses into us the complete desolation of the Cross?? Most of us back off and say, “I’m not ready for that!”

Yet we *must* be ready for that. We cannot get into Heaven without it. If we don’t achieve it in this life, then we will achieve it in Purgatory, and that will be a *lot* harder than crawling on rocks for 2 days without food or sleep.

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Part 3: Detachment from Things that are Good (or seemingly so)

Continued from Part 2: Jesus and the Saints on Detachment

It is sad to talk to people who are totally immersed in a worldly life. “I’ve been living for 20 years with a man who was married for 30 years before his divorce before we met. I believe abortion is fine because an unviable fetus isn’t a baby. I believe birth control is fine, and it’s hypocritical of the Church to oppose both abortion and birth control. I have the right to do whatever I want with my body. You have no right to tell me what to do. I was told by priests in the 1960s that it’s my freedom of conscience. I think people have the right to make as much money as they want.” The hiss of Satan echoes behind words like these, and it’s sad when people are so brainwashed and think they are “free.”

It is equally sad when people don’t realize their attachments to “goods.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen said one of the greatest errors is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

We can be come improperly attached to our loved ones, which the psychologists call co-dependency. “My son *needs me.*” “I have to love X in spite of his/her behavior, so that means complete tolerance.’

“God *needs me* to be in full time pro-life work. I’m too important to be a lowly parish priest.” “God *needs me* to go around giving speaking engagements. I’m too important to be a lowly parish priest.” “God *needs me* to bring down Planned Parenthood by whatever means necessary because no one else will.” “God *needs me* to ______.” “I’m too important.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola once had a vision of being surrounded by a profound light. He began to think how blessed he was to receive this vision, and how God must have been confirming his sanctity. He realized these thoughts were prideful, so he realized it was a vision from the Devil, made the sign of the cross and renounced the vision, and it went away.

Odds are, in most situations, if you’re faced with two options that are equally meritorious, or morally neutral, then God’s preference is for you to choose the one that’s less desirable to you, since the whole point of our life is to overcome our disordered inclinations, to achieve spiritual detachment (now, “detachment” really means “non-attachment”; even “detachment” can be an “attachment” if taken the wrong way, like, “I’m too detached to care about anyone else”).

It can be difficult to realize that we are “attached” to holy things, like particular forms of prayer. Some people are so obsessive with the Dominican Rosary, for example, that they judge other people harshly for using other prayer forms, or they even prevent their own spiritual growth by forcing meditation when God is trying to move them on to contemplation (see my post from a few months ago about “When God Tells You to Shut Up”)

It is even possible to be “attached” to the Sacraments. For example, a scrupulous person has an unhealthy “attachment” to Reconciliation. Someone who demands Anointing of the Sick for a cold (and doesn’t have an underlying condition that makes the cold life-threatening) has an unhealthy attachment to that Sacrament. We can be too attached to a particular priest or parish community, to particular liturgical choices or artwork. Maybe we are too habitual and need to appreciate the Mass more. Maybe we’ve come to take Communion for granted or over-justify ourselves in potentially sacrilegious Communions. Maybe we use some lay ministry, or even dressing up for Mass, as a source of pride. As C. S. Lewis writes in one of his _Letters to An American Lady_ (mandatory clarification that the “American Lady” was NOT JOY), sometimes God wants us to miss Mass (by giving us legitimate reasons).

Part 2: Jesus and the Saints On Detachment.

Continued from Part 1: “Attachment to ‘Freedom’ Is Not Freedom.”

Jesus says “No man can serve two masters: he will hate one and serve the other. . . . You cannot serve both God and money.” The entire teaching of Jesus is about detachment. Jesus tells us “Blessed are the poor.” He tells us “consider the lilies of the field.” He tells us that when a man demands our cloak, we give our tunic as well. He tells us to turn the other cheek in the face of violence. He tells us that the man who saved his surplus grain was a fool and should have given it to the poor. He tells us to be perfect we must sell all we have and give it to the poor. He tells us that any of us who does not hate mother or father, sister or brother, son or daughter is not worthy of Him. He tells us that the dead bury their dead.

Yet we read these passages, and we quickly jump to, “That doesn’t apply to me.” Priests reassure us in our homilies that Jesus’s seemingly extreme teachings must be modified with “common sense,’ and they assure us that the modifications the Church makes for our human weaknesses (such as legitimate self-defense or telling us it’s OK to collect “moderate” interest) are the norm, not the exceptions.

The early Christians understood all this, because they knew they were putting their very lives on the line just by professing Christ. Even today, around the world, more Christians are martyred every year than under the entire history of Roman persecution. The message of the Resurrection–that Jesus raised Himself from the dead, so He was God, and not only that but He opened Heaven to us so we no longer had to fear death–was so fresh in their minds that they were willing to sacrifice everything for it. As the centuries have passed, sadly, we’ve become inured to it. We’re too familiar with it, so we don’t realize how radical it is. We’ve been taught that everyone goes to Heaven.

As Christianity became gradually more accepted in Roman culture, some Christians began to grow more worldly and modify Christ’s teachings to adjust to worldliness. Others, however, chose intentional sufferings to replace the persecution they no longer suffered. They went out into the desert and lived as monks and nuns and hermits. St. Jerome wrote a famous letter in which he said he thought a desert priest who was going back to the city to serve as a bishop was sacrificing his salvation by doing even that.

The saints write about detachment. St. Ignatius of Loyola, for example, warns us that the angels only had that one choice. They made one choice and merited eternal hellfire for it. We talk about “mortal” and “venial” sin, yet even a single venial sin merits our immediate death and eternal damnation–mortal sin just merits it moreso. However, God in His mercy veils Himself from us in this life so we have an excuse: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We are blessed with lack of wisdom, unlike the poor angels. However, the more we claim to know, Jesus warns us, the more we will be held accountable. But we should not presume upon God’s Mercy. We never know when He will take us.

One person gets hit by a car. Another dies in a terrorist’s bomb. A teenaged boy is shot in “self defense” by a gun-happy “Christian”. A law-abiding citizen is shot to death by a drug-addled teenager out for money. Another person dies in an earthquake. Unlike those who are blessed with a “happy death” and the opportunity to receive formal reconciliation with the Church and God through the Sacraments, these poor individuals are killed suddenly and unexpectedly, cut down in the prime of their sins. Maybe some of them were in states of grace. Maybe some were given a chance to be forgiven through an extraordinary act (Our Lord told St. Faustina He calls to every soul 3 times before death). Maybe not. Is “freedom of choice” worth that gamble?

Yet we read St. Ignatius, or similar warnings in other saints (Bl. John Henry Newman said that it would be better for all the stars to fall from Heaven than anyone ever commit a single venial sin), and we balk at their “austerity” or “extremeness.” “I can’t handle thinking about Hell.” “Why would a loving God condemn people to Hell?” (The real question is, “Why would a loving God force people to go to Heaven who don’t want Him?”)

So when saints, like John of the Cross, talk about detachment, we say, “Oh, they have such a negative view of things.” Yet the process of negation is what this post-Fall life is about. Jesus says so. We have to give up our attachments to everything that isn’t God.

Part 1: Attachment to “Freedom” is not Freedom.

In his installment of _The Catholicism Project_ on Purgatory, Fr. Robert Barron talks about this island in Ireland that’s one of the original “retreat centers,” dating back supposedly to St. Patrick himself. This island is known as the “gate of Purgatory,” and it has a harsh climate. People arrive on Friday, and they get down on their knees. They crawl on their knees and pray. They are not allowed to eat or sleep, or lay down or stand up, for 2 days, and attendants hit them if they do. From Friday through Sunday morning, they crawl on their knees on the rocks and pray, until they arrive at Mass.

Back when the angels were created, God gave them a choice. We don’t know what it was, because the Bible doesn’t tell us, but the usual consensus is that God revealed His plan to create human beings and then have the Word become incarnate among us, and Lucifer balked at the notion of having spirit “tainted” with matter–and, worse, of having to bow down to the God Man. Whatever the exact cause, we know God gave the angels one “choice.” They had a “choice,” and Lucifer, the greatest of all angels, said, “Non servam!” One lowly archangel replied, “Who is like God?” And for that he gained the name “Michael,” meaning “Who is like God?” and was appointed as the new chief of the angels.

Lucifer got 1/3 of the angels to join with him in rebelling against God, and for that one “choice,” God cast them all out of Heaven–FOREVER. JUST ONE choice.

When God *did* create the first man and woman, He gave them complete freedom over creation. He put them in Paradise. He gave them physical immortality. They lived in total peace. We don’t know a lot of particulars about their situation, such as how long they were in that state, but mystics and theologians have offered many speculations over the centuries. We *do* know that God told Adam to care for and guard the Garden. We do know that the Serpent–whom Revelation identifies with the Dragon, Satan, whom mythology experts tell us is cognate to the giant serpent/river god of the Canaanites (not simply a garden snake)–slipped in the garden because Adam was shirking his duty. We know that the serpent tempted Eve–and that Adam was standing right there when it happened.

We know that the temptation was to “be like Gods who know the difference between good and evil.” In other words, Satan tempted them with ‘freedom of choice.’ We know that God gave them only *one* taboo, and they violated that one taboo in the name of choice, and because of that we now have a lot of taboos, and we have our freedom limited by concupiscence and original sin.

We know that our redemption was begun when the Patriarchs said “yes” to God when He made seemingly strange demands of them: pray for a child. OK, now that I’ve given you that child, I want you to sacrifice him. OK, you were willing to do it, but I don’t really want you to. You passed the test. Go away from your homeland into the land I’m giving you. Just kidding. Go into Egypt. Suffer in Egypt. Go into the desert. Suffer there a bit. OK, now go back to the land I promised you. Part the Red Sea. Part the Jordan. Destroy Jericho by marching around it. Fight Goliath with a sling shot. Tell X that he/she/they needs to straighten up, even though the message will likely get you killed.

Our redemption was at hand when a lowly Jewish girl said, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”

Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy will be done,” and He prayed those words at Gethsemane before accomplishing our redemption on the Cross-which He accepted voluntarily.

And today, Satan blinds people to the slaughter of God’s children by getting them to proclaim their “freedom of choice,” “My right to do whatever I want with my body.” But it’s not “your” body; it’s God’s. And the life inside that body is also God’s. You are not the master of your own fate. God is. Your choice is to conform to God or not.

Straight from the Donkey’s Mouth: JPII opposed Liberation Theology

In promoting his new “Bible Commentary,” former president Jimmy Carter has called Blessed John Paul II a “Fundamentalist” and compared him to the late Ayatollah Khomeini.
Carter claims that, during their 1978 meeting, he attacked the Church for “perpetuating the subservience of women” and that they had an “angry exchange” over liberation theology.

It’s very common to hear from members of the Catholic Left that, since JPII and Cardinal Ratzinger where very specific in condemning “certain aspects” of the theology of liberation, that means the notion in general is OK and it’s just those “certain aspects” that aren’t (even though you’d also be hard pressed to find an advocate of “liberation theology” who doesn’t agree with at least some of those specific aspects).

So, here we have no less a liberal than Jimmy Carter saying that JPII wholeheartedly opposed “liberation theology.’

Why This Paleocon Solidly Supports Rick Santorum

Let me start this very clearly: anyone reading this blog should realize I’m a solid paleoconservative, and I’ve been very critical of both neoconservatism as a philosophy and Rick Santorum insofar as he exemplifies it. That said, with all things put together, I have decided that Santorum is not only the best candidate among the standing Republicans but the only possible candidate to face the crisis our country is in.

Will he win? Well, polls are indicating he’s the only Republican who has a chance of beating Obama, and it’s really a question of whether he has a chance of beating Romney. At this point, since I’ve argued for years that a repeat of 1860 is the only way to end abortion, I’m counting on the GOP to split at the convention the way the Democrats did in 1860. In a three way race between Obama, Romney and Santorum (or Paul, but he hasn’t got a shot at this point), I’m sure Santorum would be the spoiler the way Lincoln was in 1860, because Santorum appeals to the same voters Lincoln did, and they’re still roughly the same percentage of the population.

A. Constistently Pro-Life?

Again, I disagree strongly with some of Santorum’s foreign policy positions. I agree with those who say that his positions on “enhanced interrogation,” assassination of civilians, and foreign interventionism belie his pro-life convictions and do not reflect a consistent pro-life philosophy. However, I always recognize, with the Church, that there is a hierarchy to pro-life issues.

1. Abortion and contraception are absolutes. I’ve always argued that given the choice between two anti-abortion candidates, the next issue to consider is contraception, and Santorum is better than the other candidates on that. Indeed, my otherwise favorite Ron Paul and his non-Catholic supporters have specifically criticized Santorum’s position on contraception. This was why, literally at the last minute, I decided to vote for Rick in the SC primary.

2. War is not an absolute, as then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in his infamous “secret letter” to Cardinal McCarrick. Since the state has the right to wage war when necessary, and since the judgement of whether a war is just or unjust is prudential, even though I disagree with Santorum’s positions on war-related issues, he seems to be exercising his prudential judgement and taking Church teaching, as he understands it, into consideration.

3. Santorum has shown himself willing to adjust his own beliefs to the Church’s teachings, more than any other politician I’ve seen. Since being voted out of office, from what I’ve heard from him on EWTN, he seems to have repented of his support of Specter, for example. If any politician is willing to change to be more in accord with the Church, he’s it. So I pray he’ll alter his foreign policy views as time goes on.

4. While I disagree with his views, again, I think he’s sincere in them. I’ve always pointed to Pat Buchanan as the ideal Catholic paleocon and the late Bob Casey, Sr., as the ideal Catholic liberal–both argue sincerely from their Catholic principles to their political conclusions. I happen to agree more with Buchanan, but respect Casey’s reasoning. I say the same thing about Santorum: I respect his reasoning, even though I disagree with some of his conclusions and his view on the function of government.

B. Paleocon versus Neocon view of Government

As a paleocon, I’d prefer small-government solutions to problems. I’d rather we outlaw abortion the Ron Paul way than by passing yet another federal law.

However, I have to recognize the signs of the times. If Ron Paul had done better so far, it would be one thing, but he’s hardly gotten any votes at all. Paleoconservatism is a dying position. In Canada, neither dominant coalition is officially pro-life anymore, and the “Religious Right” is suffering as a minority. That will happen in the US if Romney gets the GOP nomination. Rush Limbaugh said last year how the GOP leadership wants to the Christians to shut up about abortion. For the most part, paleocons and neocons agree about issues; we just disagree about the best way to tackle them. Even though I disagree with Santorum about *how* to tackle them, I also acknowledge that, at this point, his methods may be the only way to win on certain issues. Having seen Buchanan, Dornan, Keyes and now Paul get rejected time and again, I have to admit that paleoconservatism is a losing viewpoint, and if we don’t find a way of working with the neocons, we face the fate of not just paleocons but all pro-lifers in Canada.

C. Catholicism

Right before I went to the polls in the South Carolina primary, I went across the border to a pro-life rally in Augusta for the Anniversary of _Roe v. Wade_. It was sponsored by the interfaith “Alleliua” community. It was raining, and crowded, so I sat in my van and listened to some of the talks. I heard some speaker–don’t know if he was Catholic or Protestant–saying how we’re all “flavors of the same Christianity,” and that the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is subordinate to the Bible. Heresy trumps abortion, and I high-tailed it out of there. Then I went to the polls, and thought how I could not stomach voting for a non-Catholic when I had two acceptable Catholic candidates to choose from. Then I thought about the fact that Paul’s people were criticizing Santorum’s position on contraception, and voted for him.

That same weekend, this stuff about the HHS mandate came out. We are faced with a true culture war, where everything is pointed against the Catholic Church. Even ex-Catholic Glenn Beck, who was criticized here and elsewhere for seeming to tell Catholics to leave their Church a few years ago when he told people to leave any churches that talk of social justice, is praising the Church for taking a stand, and saying that the Obama administration is at war with the Catholic Church. Glenn Beck and the Limbaugh brothers have recently been speaking out in support of the Catholic Church, Rick Santorum, Pope Benedict XVI and Timothy Cardinal Dolan, saying how they’re taking a firm stand against Obama and for Christian values.

We’re at a watershed moment in our culture, and the Church Herself is under attack. I have no doubt that Romney, if elected, will just continue the work that Bush and Obama have started. The only one who can stem this tide against the Church in America is Rick Santorum.

D. Santorum shows signs of being the next “Reagan.”

It was under Ronald Reagan that Pat Buchanan coined the term “Paleocon” to distinguish from the former liberals who had joined the GOP over abortion and other social issues. Reagan breaking his promises to shut down the then relatively new EPA and Department of Education in favor of using them to promote a conservative agenda was one of the tell-tale signs of the so-called “neo-conservatism.”

The last GOP primary to last this long was 1976, when Reagan won 10 states against Ford. Obviously, Ford lost the election to Carter, but Reagan won four years later. If Santorum *doesn’t* win this nomination, he’s a shoe-in for 2016 (assuming there *is* a 2016 to look forward to). If the delegates are tied or close to it going into the Convention, we may see what I’ve been predicting: a party split where the GOP divides along its social conservative and economic conservative lines the way the Whigs did in the 1850s and the Democrats did in 1860. If Obama and Romney split the secularists, and Santorum wins the religious voters, Santorum could win.

E. Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony “Swing Vote” Kennedy

Those three are now the longest-serving members of the Supreme Court, if not the oldest. At least one of them is most likely to die, retire or get sick in the next 5 years. If Obama has a chance to nominate another justice, it will most likely be to replace a conservative or moderate. We’re not only dealing with overturning Roe v. Wade now, but “gay marriage” in numerous states, as well as Obamacare (which may hopefully be overturned in a few weeks), and several other unconstitutional laws passed under Obama (and Bush).

In 8 Years, George W. Bush nominated 2 justices to replace a couple “moderate” Republican justices. Obama’s replaced a liberal with a liberal. If he can replace a moderate or a solid conservative with a liberal, then liberals will have the majority on the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future, and if any of these issues make it to the Court, they can solidify them into so-called “settled law.”

If Romney gets in, he’ll most likely appoint “moderate Republicans” who can go either way.

Only with Santorum do we have a chance of appointing conservative jutices and getting the solid conservative majority we need to get this country back on the right track.

That’s why paleocons need to hold their noses and vote for Rick.

The Iraq War In Perspective

Now, if a war is unjust, or the method used in a just cause is unjust, it doesn’t matter if one person dies.
However, I get sick of hearing about how the war in Iraq should have outweighed abortion as a respect life issue.

So, we all know that in America, abortion kills about 4,000 people daily, about 1.2 million per year. Worldwide, there are 42 million abortions a year, which works out to about 115,000 per day.
Under Saddam Hussein’s regime, between 70 and 125 Iraqis were killed per day.

While some sources claim the total deaths in Iraq from 2003-2011 number in the millions, there is no official statement to back that up. We know a total of 4408 US soldiers died, a total of 318 soldiers from other coalition countries, and a total of 1487 contractors.

187 reporters and media support staff were killed, and 94 Aid Workers.

Given that a certain number of soldiers die every day just due to accidents, given that the reporters and aid workers who died would have been in Iraq or some other troubled part of the world, I wonder how many of them would have died anyway.

The Iraqi government estimates that between 110,000 and 150,000 Iraqis died of violence between 2003-2011, including Iraqi security forces, “insurgents,” and, again, those who died from acts of terrorism and other violence that may have happened without the war. A little over 40,000 of those were Iraqi security and “insurgents.”

So if we go with the maximum figure of 150,000 Iraqis, as stated by the Iraqi government, and add the whopping total of 6,494 non-Iraqi deaths in the conflict, that’s an average of 17,389 deaths per year.

So if we are to accept the false dichotomy that a Catholic voting in 2004 or 2008 was choosing between the pro-life issue of Iraq, and the pro-life issue of abortion, and had to decide which was more pressing:
0,017,389 deaths per year (Iraq)
1,200,000 deaths per year (abortion).

Which looks more pressing to you?

110,000-150,000 total Iraqis killed from 2003-2011
115,000 abortions per day, worldwide

48 deaths per day in Iraq, versus 4,000 abortions per day in the US
48 deaths per day in the Iraq war (including people who probably would have been murdered, died from accidental causes in the military, or killed by terrorism or violence if the war wasn’t going on), versus as many as 125 Iraqis killed per day by Saddam Hussein during his regime (not to mention the people he killed in the wars he fought).

One of the arguments by the Vatican to say that the Iraq invasion was unjust was that the damage to potentially be done outweighed the damage to be rectified.

I don’t see how 48 deaths per day in the war is worse damage than 125 deaths per day before it.