Wednesday, December 6, 2017


This nativity scene makes a statement about gun violence

(CNN)This year, the nativity scene on the front lawn of the Saint Susanna Parish looks a little different.
Yes, inside the traditional wooden structure visitors can still see the biblical characters of Mary and Joseph staring lovingly at their baby Jesus. But tacked on the walls above them are 16 blue planks, each one a sobering remembrance.
This year parishioners at this church in Dedham, a suburb of Boston, decided to blend the annual crèche with the ongoing national conversation about gun violence. Each plank states the location and number of people killed in one of 16 mass shootings in the US.
  The idea to bring gun violence into the Christmas display came from the parish's Pax Christi group, a Catholic peace organization. The church's pastor, Steve Josoma, picked which shootings to commemorate.
The point is to show, during a traditional season of peace, that mass shootings are happening all over the country, in all kinds of places, says Pax Christi coordinator Patricia Ferrone. 
"All of the positive associated with Jesus that we all aspire to, yet we have a world that's an awful mess," Ferrone told CNN. The idea "is really just trying to make connections to show the contrast, in a certain sense, with the way of Jesus and the way of violence." 
In the last 10 years the United States has witnessed 18 mass shootings. In 2017 they averaged at one per month through early November, feeding a national debate over gun control and related issues.
Ferrone said St. Susanna didn't worry about a backlash because it "felt like a clear thing to do."
The Pax Christi group always addresses issues of peace, justice and violence at Christmas time, she said. Last year, they handed out ornaments discouraging parishioners from buying toys of violence for their children. 
"I think that we have to become more comfortable talking about these (issues) more," Ferrone said. 
"These are serious issues and to gloss over them is to forget they're important."
But they also don't want to put a damper on the season or criminalize anyone. Along with the display comes prayer for the families affected by these shootings, their victims and even the perpetrators of such violence.
On the outside of the display is a banner that reads: "If only you knew the things that make for peace." It's a quote from the gospel of Luke that dovetails with the parish's push for open conversations about Christian values.
"It really is rooted in our faith, in our belief that Jesus came with a particular message," Ferrone said. "We're trying to figure that out and act accordingly, as best as we can."


John Nolan said...

I think the wise man on the right is carrying a concealed weapon.

Rood Screen said...

If we stop trusting our neighbors with firearms, our lack of trust will prevent violence, and we'll all live happy ever after. Nonsense.

TJM said...

Left-wing loons being left-wing loons. I guess I didn't see where this "catholic" parish listed all of the infants aborted this year or the list of folks killed by illegal immigrants

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

It is startling, maybe even unnerving. But that may be a good thing.

Some art is priestly - giving us a sense of awe and wonder, calmness and serenity.

Some art is prophetic - it smacks us in the midsection in order to provoke and unsettle.

Yesterday's Old Testament reading included:

"Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra's den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea."

Advent is a season of, among other things, amazing possibilities.

That theme is continued in today's Gospel:

"The disciples said to him,
"Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place
to satisfy such a crowd?"
Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have?"
"Seven," they replied, "and a few fish."
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied."

The hard of heart, the doubting, the worldly will pass these words of Scripture off as pie-in-the-sky or Pollyanna-ish.

They're not. They describe what we can be like and what can happen, on this side of the tombstone, when we trust, as Mary did, that God's words to us will be fulfilled.

Fr Martin Fox said...

There's at least one missing:

Chicago. How many people have been shot in Chicago this year?

How come these people don't care about that?

rcg said...

Fr Fox leaves out our beloved Dayton, OH. And that is not even counting the drug overdoses. We have been teaching people to love each other for so long they don’t even hear it anymore. Christ didn’t bring Peace to the world. He even told us that. He did bring Hope and that is what would address this problem.

Anonymous said...

People should be safe in church and not in danger from loons with guns.
That's a simple thing. I'm not sure why so many people here have a problem with that idea.

Anonymous said...

I like Father Fox's comment.

TJM said...

Anonymous, no it's just not that simple, only to simpletons. If a criminal comes into a Church with a gun to do harm, I would be thrilled if the usher (even better the priest) had a gun and took the criminal out. That's protecting your flock.

ps: In chicago it's just Dems shooting Dems, but don't worry, even if they're dead they still vote Dem, either though in the liberal fantasy world, there is no voter fraud

Fr Martin Fox said...


"People should be safe in church..."

Who are the "people here" who "have a problem with that idea"? I don't. Who does?

In any case, tell us all exactly how you do that.

Gene said...

Well, the Pelagians and the anti-gun nuts are alive and well here...

Rood Screen said...

I think we can all agree that "loons" should not be allowed to use guns inside churches. It might surprise some people to learn that violence against innocent churchgoers is already illegal.

Marc said...

“People should be safe in church and not in danger from loons with guns.”

That’s why people think the non-loony gun owners should be able to have guns in a church — to protect us from the loony criminals. I’m not sure why you have such a problem with that idea.

TJM said...

Sadly, some loony Catholic bishop in Texas would rather have his congregation shot than protected by a good guy with a gun. And the Church wonders why she is shedding members at a rapid pace. Left-wing loonism isn't selling any more. When the No-Nothings threatened Churches in New York during the NO-Nothing era, Archbishop Hughes had men with rifles on the roof of his cathedral to protect the Church and its flock. We've come a long way baby!

Daniel said...

Churches in Texas, Charleston, etc. "shed members" because they were killed by nuts with guns, not because their pastors took a political stand.

Anonymous said...

How do you tell the difference between a loon with a gun and a good guy with a gun?

Until the shooting starts, you have no idea.

Law enforcement professionals warn against the ability of non-loony gun owners to respond to an active shooter scenario. Local and campus police have repeatedly asked state legislators not to allow more guns of campuses.

40 professional law enforcement officers - highly trained - did not stop the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.

There is no reason to believe that an amateur gun toter is going to have any significant effect in the event a loon starts shooting.

That's precisely why many have a serious "problem" with the idea.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. Fox at December 6, 2017 at 5:22 PM said:

"Chicago. How many people have been shot in Chicago this year?

How come these people don't care about that?"

The vast majority of the shootings in Chicago are gang related. This is a result of (usually) drug crimes and territory. The near west and south sides of Chicago are basically open drug markets. Gangs fiercely guard their territory, and like any war, try to expand it, because more territory means more sales.

As they battle each other often innocent bystanders are shot and sometimes killed. It is a horrible carnage and yet politics and money seem to influence just what is being done about it. Like northern Mexico, the drug traffic-ers move a whole lot of money, and anyone standing in their way is expendable. The media contributes to the dismay by publicizing the pain and anguish of family members who have lost someone near and dear to them, without exposing the underlying issues. Publicized outrage about over-zealous policing, and law enforcement going over the line of what is constitutionally allowable in terms of search and seizure and stopping a defiant suspect (such as demonstrations by BLM) only causes the police to step back rather than risk facing charges themselves, which emboldens the criminals who realize less police presence means less chance of getting caught.

At its root the problem really isn't guns. The problem is a criminal enterprise that expands because of refusal to address the concupiscence of mankind.

People really do care about the shootings and killings in Chicago. But people like the money more. And the politicians like the votes and the power of their office. So it goes on and on.

Some people say legalizing drugs would help, the same way the legalization and regulation of alcohol stopped criminal enterprises causing all kinds of havoc back in the '20's. I think that's a horrible solution, but one wonders if it would save lives.

As is the case with so many of mankind's problems, it seems only Our Lord's intervention will resolve this horror.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Father Fox:

33,000 people have been shot and killed in the U.S. this year.

We care about all of them, not just the ones in Chicago.

The ones in church. The ones at a country-music show. The ones in schools and nightclubs and UPS facilities and military bases.

Maybe Our Lord's intervention will help, but I hear he helps those who help themselves.

TJM said...


Thanks for weighing in on behalf of the the Soros branch of the Catholic Church.

TJM said...

Anonymous (Kavanaugh) at 2:21

I bet you don't care about Kate Steinle, killed by an illegal alient, or folks killed by Muslim terrorists. They are your political allies

Daniel said...


This is from WebMD

Antipsychotic medications are used as a short-term treatment for bipolar disorder to control psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, or mania symptoms. These symptoms may occur during acute mania or severe depression. Some also treat bipolar depression, and several have demonstrated long-term value in preventing future episodes of mania or depression.

In people with bipolar disorder, antipsychotics are also used "off label" as sedatives, for insomnia, for anxiety, and/or for agitation. Often, they are taken with a mood-stabilizing drug and can decrease symptoms of mania until mood stabilizers take full effect.

Some antipsychotics seem to help stabilize moods on their own. As a result, they may be used alone as long-term treatment for people who don't tolerate or respond to lithium and anticonvulsants.

Antipsychotic drugs help regulate the functioning of brain circuits that control thinking, mood, and perception. It is not clear exactly how these drugs work, but they usually improve manic episodes quickly.

The newer antipsychotics usually act quickly and can help you avoid the reckless and impulsive behaviors associated with mania. More normal thinking often is restored within a few weeks.

Antipsychotics used to treat bipolar disorder include:

aripiprazole (Abilify)
asenapine (Saphris)
cariprazine (Vraylar)
clozapine (Clozaril)
lurasidone (Latuda)
olanzapine (Zyprexa)
quetiapine (Seroquel)
risperidone (Risperdal)
ziprasidone (Geodon)

TJM said...


I am sorry you are suffering in this way. Maybe Obamacare will cover this for you

Victor said...

The state religion of USA is the worship of guns. That religion has no place in a Christian church­.

Anonymous 2 said...

As I have tried to emphasize before, both the problem of mass shootings and all those other problems that various commenters have mentioned to minimize or distract from the problem of mass shootings (and, by implication, from efforts to adopt further reasonable gun control measures)—ranging from abortion to terrorism—are connected by one unifying thread: our human predilection for violence. Isn’t this what we should be focusing on?

And I agree with rcg that Christ did not come to bring peace to the world. Standing in the prophetic tradition He came to challenge our complacency, sometimes in the most strident terms. And I strongly suspect that if He returned today He would challenge both Democrats and Republicans, for different reasons, and He would challenge the NRA. In the meantime, it is our task as His disciples to mount these challenges in His name, guided by the teachings of the Catholic Church. And this is our hope.

So, no, I don’t have a problem with the Nativity scene.

I also appreciate John Nolan’s British humor—good one, John. =)

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "Wring your hands & let Him solve it" approach to gun violence -- should Catholics also take that approach to abortion, same-sex marriage, poverty, racism, etc. Whatever your beliefs or politics, the world changes because people -- often inspired by faith -- work to make it better.

Gene said...

The manger scene is tacky. It is a politicization of an event which both challenges and condemns human government, politics, and
schemes for a "good" society. The scene injects political ephemera into an event which transcends our failed ideologies. I do agree with Anon 2, Christ's birth...the Incarnation, His Gospel message about His person, and His promised return condemn both Republican and Democrat, Left and Right, Liberal and Conservative. For the believing Christian, these things, these ideologies, are exposed and relativized in light of Christ's promised Kingdom...not to be established before His return at the end of historical time. It is a really, really stupid manger scene.

Rood Screen said...


If we have a secular religion, then it is freedom. The only way for citizens to ensure our freedom is to keep potential tyrants terrified of us. That terror requires an armed citizenry, capable of functioning as a well-regulated militia in the face of tyranny. So, out of my cold, dead hands...!

TJM said...


You have it wrong. The State Religion is Abortion aided and abetted by its high priests of the Democratic Party. That religion has no place in a decent society or Church.

TJM said...


The Lord would challenge the arch-murderers in the USA - Planned Parenthood. The moral equivalence you are going for is a false narrative and you know it.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene and TJM:

This particular Nativity scene may be tacky, but it would hardly be alone in this. In my experience it is frequently the case that Nativity scenes in front yards, and sometimes even those in churches, fail to meet high aesthetic standards. There is also the related risk of syrupy sentimentalization, whereas the business of Love in a fallen world can be, and usually is, hard and often dangerous, which is why Good Friday follows a few months after Christmas. Perhaps next year, the Pax Christi group at this particular church will display some signs giving the numbers of annual abortions in the United States and elsewhere. This would be especially shocking and prophetic in a_Nativity_scene, not least because it would very visibly beg a rather obvious foundational question.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Anonymous said:

Regarding the "Wring your hands & let Him solve it" approach to gun violence -- should Catholics also take that approach to abortion, same-sex marriage, poverty, racism, etc. Whatever your beliefs or politics, the world changes because people -- often inspired by faith -- work to make it better.

To whom are you directing this? Was there someone here advocating a "'wring your hands and let Him solve it' approach"?

TJM said...

Anonymous 2,

I had suggested that earlier. Pax Christi is a fake catholic group so they are abortion worshippers

TJM said...

Here's a real life story of a good guy with a gun. I know you libs would prefer this guy's family were killed:

Anonymous 2 said...


No, not exactly. You used Pax Christi’s failure to include such a listing of abortion figures this year as a reason to dismiss their listing of mass shootings. By contrast, I am suggesting that because one cannot list everything at once, the absence of such a list this year should not be used to distract from or to minimize the listing of mass shootings—unless, of course, your position is simply the mirror image of the position you impute to Pax Christi: “Only the lists I agree with and not the ones I don’t.”

What is your evidence for calling Pax Christi a “fake Catholic group” and “abortion worshipers”? If they are affiliated with Pax Christi USA this is certainly an unfair description of them and likely a calumny. I understand that some have criticized the organization for not emphasizing the abortion issue enough (or perhaps their problem with the organization is that they also address issues such as gun violence), but it is difficult to reconcile this description with the following statements from Pax Christi:

John Nolan said...

In 1979 the Soviet Union began the deployment of mobile SS-20 missiles capable of targeting all of western Europe. NATO's response was the famous Dual Track decision; to deploy GLCM and Pershing 2 in Europe but not until 1983 in order to give the Soviets a breathing space, while at the same time offering to come to a mutual agreement on limiting medium and intermediate range missiles.

It was a sensible policy which was ultimately successful, but led to mass protests from so-called 'peace movements', backed by the political left (the Labour Party in Britain fought the 1983 General Election on a platform which included unilateral disarmament and withdrawal from NATO - they lost resoundingly). Prominent among these movements was Pax Christi. Some 'peace activists' may have been naive idealists, but many were hardline Trots and international socialists, and the disinformation they employed was worthy of the KGB. They accused Ronald Reagan of wanting to confine a nuclear war to Europe, whereas in reality the deployments were designed to prevent this (P2s based in Germany could hit Moscow swiftly and accurately, and the key point was that they were American missiles).

Even after the end of the Cold War, Pax Christi UK has been active in attempting to undermine national security, holding vigils outside military establishments (complete with pseudo-Christian rituals) and advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament.

Anonymous 2 said...

John Nolan:

Thank you for the information. I cannot find accounts of Pax Christi making the points you mention but I have not had much time to research the issue. Do you have any sources you can share?

I do find the following Pax Christi press release addressing their invitation to join the Vatican Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, which was held in November and which apparently intended to focus especially on the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty:

However, I have not yet found a report addressing the outcome of the conference.

TJM said...

Anonymous 2,

There is plenty of information regarding Pax Christi as a left-wing, pro-abortion group:

There is far more to be found other than this statement posted on EWTN

Anonymous said...

STATEMENT: Pax Christi USA official statement on abortion

Originally issued in 1981, reissued in 1989 and 2001.
In response to the increased debate following the July 3, 1989, Supreme Court ruling on abortion, Pax Christi USA reaffirms its 1981 Seamless Garment position in support of all life. The consistent ethic of life opposes not only abortion, but also the death penalty, war, the nuclear arms race and anything that threatens life. In addition, Pax Christi reaffirms its goal to work for the full and equal participation of women in the church and society.
Pax Christi’s opposition to abortion is based on a total commitment to the principle of unwavering reverence for human life. We reject, as we have rejected in the past, the claim of any individual, any group or organization, any nation to the “right” to destroy human life, whether singly or as entire populations.
Having made this clear, we agree that our concern must not only ensure saving the lives of the not-yet-born but also include recognizing that every child must be assured the opportunity to meet their basic human need and to develop and fulfill their physical, intellectual and spiritual capacities. The fact that 40% of the homeless in the US are families with children cannot be overlooked in our present debate.
We also recognize that, as the debate rages on the abortion issue, the situation of women in our society continues to worsen. One-third of female-headed families live in poverty. Two out of three of all minimum wage earners in the US are women. In the abortion debate, the societal conditions which limit women’s options are often ignored. Women are too often criminalized or condemned by those committed to the unborn or exploited and victimized by those committed to abortion rights. The physical and psychological trauma of abortion on women is minimized and trivialized.
We must recognize that women who are considering abortion often struggle with a complex and painful dilemma. We must ensure that women do not choose abortion because of a lack of economic assistance, child care, health care or emotional support. No matter what decision is reached, they should be received with loving concern and compassion by the followers of Christ.
Our work for nonviolent change should protect the life and the dignity of both the unborn and women. To achieve these objectives, we urge that all parties to the debate conduct themselves in a spirit of compassionate respect for their opponents and not allow the discussion to degenerate into arguments or actions which could lead to, or involve, the threat of physical or psychological violence. Pax Christi USA commits itself to engaging in the debate by promoting dialogue and the search for common ground among those on all sides of the issue.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous 2

In 1982-3 I was reading for a Master's degree in War Studies at King's College, London and took a particular interest in the arguments used by the resurgent 'peace' movements, the most prominent of which was the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which had been founded in 1957 following Britain's first H-Bomb test, but had been more-or-less moribund in the later 1960s and throughout the 1970s. From 1980 its General Secretary was a Catholic priest, Monsignor Bruce Kent.

Kent's connection with Pax Christi went back to 1958 and he was already a seasoned political activist. By 1983 he was probably the most high-profile public figure in Britain after Margaret Thatcher. His views were being constantly aired on the media, and he was an effective speaker and confident interviewee. All over Europe pacifist demonstrations were giving the impression to some in the Soviet leadership that the leaders of western European countries might just lose their nerve. The Soviet Union wanted to 'decouple', strategically, western Europe from the United States - the 'peaceniks' were anti-American to the core. Their interests seemed to coincide.

It also seemed to me that the spokesmen of the 'peace' movement were peddling a line to their followers, and to the wider public, which was at odds with strategic reality, even to the extent of deliberately misusing terms like 'first strike'. Example: 'Pershing 2 is clearly a first-strike weapon'. In reality, there's no such thing.

In 1987 NATO's policy was vindicated when Reagan and Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty. The same year Kent was told by his archbishop, Cardinal Basil Hume, to choose between political activism and the priesthood; unsurprisingly he chose the former and was married the following year.

TJM said...

Anonymous (Kavanaugh) at 10:47, yes and Nasty Pelosi is personally opposed to Abortion but votes to promote it every time she can and vilifies politicians who try to restrict it - same ilk as Pax Christi whose members always vote for the Abortion Party (formerly the Democratic Party). Words without action are meaningless. This is a legion of liars