December 10, 2012

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen dates America's moral tipping point: "8:15 in the morning, the 6th of August, 1945"




Jump to the 4:30 mark...

12 comments:

Seminarian OSB said...

Oh, for goodness sakes. What a simplistic 'explanation.' Where was he in 1945? In a comfortable seminary? Perhaps in a nice rectory, with maids and cooks? Certainly he was not on a troop transport off of Japan? Nor with the rest of the Japanese civilian population, who due to the leadership of their despotic government would have destroyed themselves when America invaded. See Okinawa. Fulton Sheen ins a brilliant and holy man but in this area he is very wrong.

John H said...

Ven. Sheen is right, and the Church is with him on this truth: "'Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.' A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes" (CCC no. 2314)

MatthewM said...

The reason he is correct is that one can never commit evil (intentionally targeting civilians) to gain a good, no matter how great the good to be gained. This is a fundamental concept of Catholic moral theology, so I would hope that you are studying it if you are in the seminary.

I have read and studied all of the arguments that say that it was perfectly OK to firebomb and nuke civilian populations, because in Total War, everybody's a combatant (even babes at the breast). However, Blessed Fulton Sheen had the courage to preach the truth in season and out of season, even when the nation was blinded to the atrocities it had recently committed.

MatthewM said...

Pardon me, he is Venerable, not Blessed. Didn't mean to promote him prematurely ;).

Deacon Jason Miller, Ph.D., M.P.A. said...

You haven't explained why you believe him to be wrong - just reacted. If we as a church truly value the dignity of the human person, well...

Derek Rotty said...

Perhaps this wasn't what Bishop Sheen was doing in this particular presentation, but it would be most appropriate to place the "turning point" a couple of centuries earlier. The dropping of the bomb was, more accurately, the final hurdle to the philosophical systems established by men thinkers from the late 18th century and forward.

I love the analogy to potty training!

Seminarian OSB said...

Matthew M, et. al.
For the sake of discussion, consider if the bomb had not been dropped, setting aside the consideration of the military value of Hiroshima in addition to the necessity to break the will of the people and its totalitarian government. If America had to execute a land invasion the number of innocent civilians killed would have been exponentially greater. The government of Japan gave no indication of surrendering except in the face of total defeat. Note the fact that after Hiroshima they still would not surrender. As for studying these issues in seminary, rested assured that we do, particularly being mindful that we will have to deal with real people, in real situations and not have the luxury of dealing in the antiseptic atmosphere of abstraction. In war there are no good choices and quite rightly nearly all actions therein are at the least morally suspect. Catholic moral theology is rigorous and should be so, but sometimes the sad case is that there are not neat and tidy answers. I would suggest that the bomb fits that category. Rather than the bomb, I would suggest in response to Ven Fulton Sheen, that the sexual revolution, the Vietnam War and loss of respect for authority, and deterioration of the American education system are at fault.

Vietnam veteran who fought for you said...

Of course, two wrongs never made a right. But is it just to place all the blame on America and the atomic weapon? Have there been atrocities and sexual revolution, loss of respect for authority and the deterioration of education systems in the past? What were the alternatives to Vietnam? The problem is not some moral turning point. Maybe personal integrity and the reliance on Grace could be the answer.

Mack Hall, HSG said...

Maybe. But Japan was slaughtering innocents every day throughout its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Someone had to end it.

The intention was good, and the result really did save thousands and thousands of lives.

May we all be spared such responsibilities, and may God have mercy on us all.

- Another Viet-Nam Veteran

LBatt said...

In Catholic moral teaching - as I understand it - it is NEVER permissible to do evil that good may come out of it. The ends, no matter how noble, can never justify committing evil. That people here are exhibiting consequentialist ethics to justify the bomb simply shows how entrenched modern post-Christian ways of thinking are. Can we not apply the same type of thinking in order to justify birth control, euthanasia, etc.? Careful...once you accept the modern premise even one time, the whole faith is undermined.

Catholic Audio said...

FWIW, Japan had been trying to surrender since January; the US didn't accept their surrender offer since it was conditional.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrender_of_Japan

Capt Ed said...

How does the argument "lesser of two evils fit into this issue? Seriously, I need some help here from knowledgeable, reasonable catholic scholars.