National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

From Where I Stand

We need some 'rising great compassion' ourselves

 | 

While Sunnis were fighting Shi'as and Arab
Palestinians were fighting Jewish Israelis and U.S. Christians were
fighting Iraqi Muslims, I was sitting in a Buddhist monastery on the top
of a mountain in Taiwan. From the mountain top, the city in the distant
valley below was barely a memory, a phantom of another kind of life. Noise
and tumult, smoke and car horns had yet to touch this place.

Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? Shades of Shangri-la. A refuge. A hiding
place from life. A moment out of time.

Think again.

Here, on the top of this mountain, I heard something that made me
think. "Nowadays," I heard a young woman say, "People take on religion
just to hurt one another."

A mistaken identity -- or no real identity at all?

 | 

Who are we fooling -- except maybe
ourselves?


The national myth is that we hold a common moral ethic, free of
cooptation by any particular religious group and devoted to religious
equality. Materialistic, secular USA, that blind behemoth of national
equality, child of the Enlightenment and beacon of freedom to all,
promises the world to leave faith to the faithful and legislate justice
justly.

An update that unmasks the missing morality

 | 

About eight weeks ago, I dedicated this column to the meeting of Iraqi-American women in New York City. (Iraqi
ttwomen: Confused, maybe, but clear nevertheless
) The problem with articles like that, of course, is that though they give us a filter through which we can view, interpret, and evaluate the hard news that plays on the front pages of our newspapers or on our newscasts, we are seldom able to follow up on either the people involved or the events to which they referred.

Gone are the days when war was between armies

 | 

"Are you Joan?" the woman asked hesitantly. "I thought I recognized you."

I was waiting for an early morning flight out of D.C. "And what are you doing here?" I asked after some initial pleasantries.

She took a pack of pictures out of her bag. "My son is in Walter Reed Army Medical Center," she said. I felt myself go on instant alert. She began to rifle through the prints. "He has no buttocks," she said in the same even tones. "No buttocks," she said again as she looked me straight in the eye and held my gaze. "He's concave," she said making an arc with her hand.

Is this what they told us we were going there to do?

 | 

Good Friday is the day, tradition says, when standing at the foot of the cross as Jesus died, a sword pierced Mary’s heart. This Lent I heard that same kind of pain a hundred times from other women who are also watching everything they’ve ever loved -- their country, their culture, their husbands, their children and their own futures -- die.

Pages

Subscribe to From Where I Stand

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

October 10-23, 2014

10-10-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.