Pope’s Day of Prayer for Peace

As there is no special feast this day in the Sarum calendar, I said the Votive Mass of Our Lady this morning for this intention, offering the souls of those who were gassed with dreadful chemical weapons, regardless of who launched them (like the Russians and most experts in the matter, I suspect it was the rebels).

I will probably spend a while in the chapel this evening for this intention in union with all offering their prayers for peace this day.

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, traditionally a feast on which we priests renew our commitments made when we received our Tonsures, Minor Orders and Major Orders. It was quite an elaborate feast in much of northern France, a reflection of pre-Reformation English usage.

September – a month of the last weeks of summer and the time to gather our apples and pears, and swat away the marauding wasps. Autumn isn’t far away, especially as we begin to feel the bite of the west wind. My little sloop still has a few nautical miles to sail this year yet before wintering! Let’s make the most of it!

This month also brings us worries as the nations agonise over whether or not they are going to attack Syria. Apart from the human tragedy in any war, just or unjust, we have only to consider the obscene cost of modern arms and running the Armed Forces:

  • F-22 Raptor fighter jet – $211.6 million each
  • Virginia Class Submarine –  $2,552.6 million each
  • Trident II Missile – $65.7 million a pop
  • Tomahawk Missile – $500,000 – the cost of two nice family houses in France. All this thing does is fly somewhere, explode and destroy itself with its target!
  • V-22 Osprey tiltrotor transport plane – $95.2 million each
  • Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer – $1,299.3 million (a nice second-hand sailing yacht in reasonable condition can be bought for 5-6 thousand).

And yet they squeeze the hungry peasants for tithes! Just divide these figures by your yearly salary, and take stock…

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5 Responses to Pope’s Day of Prayer for Peace

  1. Michael Frost says:

    Fr. Anthony, Given what happened to Europe, in general, in WWs I & II and what happened to Britain & France, specifically, what is the price for peace?

    You could’ve written the same in 1938 and costed out Hurricaine & Spitfire fighters & the 5 King George V Class battleships then building. Nazi Germany easily defeated France (as well as Norway, Denmark, Beligium, and Holland). Britain had to sacrifice her Empire financially from 1939-1942 to stave off defeat. I wonder how many more fighters Winston Churchill wished Britain had had going into the Battle for Britain? He would’ve paid nearly any price to have had an extra 100 fighters when Britain needed them most. And Australia & New Zealand almost sacrificed themselves for Britain in 1940-41.

    I like to remember America’s now defunct Strategic Air Command’s motto. Peace is our profession. We kept the peace against the Soviets for over 40 years. If you ever get to Omaha, Nebraska, go to the SAC Chapel. The amazing stain glass windows have bombers, including some dropping bombs, and their associated units. Chaplains and the men who knelt there all prayed for peace, but they were prepared for war. The Soviets knew that and eventually gave up in defeat. [Though thinking of Omaha, never forget Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day and those who died, including my mom’s brother, to liberate France, where sadly so many collaborated with the Nazis.]

    I served in the USAF for 5 years. My dad fought as a Marine in Korea. My mom lost one brother in WW II and another severely injured (in Asia). My son is now in the USN. I pray for peace every day! But I know that prayer is not always immediately answered.

    • What you say makes sense. You have been in the Armed Forces, and I have only been in Scouting and the Combined Cadet Force at School. Being a serviceman certainly gives a different perspective, with the notion that preparedness for war is the best way to ensure peace through deterrence. This was Thatcher’s doctrine, as for Reagan. It is tragic in that this is the indictment and epitaph of humanity.

      My own grandfather was a Captain in the Green Howards Regiment, and was captured at Dunkirk – still fighting – in 1940. He spent most of the war in an Oflag where they had a bad commandant and bad treatment. He was a brave man. I live in Normandy, and have visited the beaches of the Bessin and the Cotentin. I have seen the Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan. What bravery those men had to fight for King and Country (or for their Republic), but at the same time, what a tragic waste of young life!

      Should we have left Hitler to his “Thousand Year Reich” and his atrocities? What is worse? Let evil dictators “do their thing” or sacrifice everything to exorcise them from our world? I’m glad not to be the one to make such decisions. All said and done, I know this is not an easy moral issue.

      • Michael Frost says:

        You should check out the SAC Memorial Chapel. Possibly one of the most fascinating churches in the world. I worshipped there in 1991-1993, right at the end of our Strategic Air Command.

        http://www.offutt.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-080115-069.pdf

      • Michael Frost says:

        By the way, for relevant movies here, see:

        – Jimmy Stewart & June Allyson in Strategic Air Command.

        And then the two movies based on essentially the same story:

        – Henry Fonda & Larry Hagman in Fail Safe.
        – Peter Sellers, Slim Pickens, James Earl Jones, et al in Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb.

  2. Michael Frost says:

    When Brits calculate the price of peace they should never forget they chose to run down their full-size/full-service aircraft carriers in the 1960s/70s (HMSs Illustrious ’67, Eagle ’72, & Ark Royal ’79). The Argentine junta paid close attention and gambled that without full carrier air support Britain couldn’t retake the Falklands. Lady Thatcher with her 3 tiny jump-jet carriers just barely had enough to retake them. Many men died because Britain didn’t want to pay the price for peace; she paid an even higher price for war.

    Oddly Britain today is building two big aircraft carriers, Queen Elizabeth Class, but can only afford to operationally fit and use just one. They’ll soon have a brand new carrier that they can’t afford and don’t know what to do with her. She may be sold (if they can find a buyer) or just put into reserve/mothball upon completion. Talk about a real waste of billions of pounds!

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