by Mark Scibilia-Carver, NCR
At its November 2012 general assembly, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved by a majority vote “financial assistance to the Archdiocese for the Military Services in the form of a national collection to be taken up every three years proximate to Veteran’s Day or a similar strategic date beginning in 2013.” The vote was 123 yes, 42 no, with eight abstaining.
This collection is supposed to be taken up at the weekend liturgies Nov. 9 and 10. Our Sunday Visitor sent materials on the military archdiocese to every parish in the country. There was a letter to pastors and suggested bulletin announcements for the week before, the week of and the week after the collection. In addition, 250 envelopes and 250 full-sheet bulletin inserts have gone to every parish whether the bishop of the diocese voted yes or no. At least a few dioceses have decided to hold the collection on a “different strategic date.” The diocese of Albany, N.Y., is skipping the collection this year, but Bishop Howard Hubbard, who voted for the collection, is giving a donation from the diocese.
This extraordinary collection is one sign that the spirit of militarism and nationalism has spread apace in our church, at least among our bishops. The Archdiocese for the Military Services must consider it a major coup. The idea may have originated with George Weigel, who wrote about it in his Dec. 8, 2010, column “The Catholic Difference.” Weigel was a charter signatory of the Project for the New American Century, which anticipated the need for something like 9/11 that would serve as another Pearl Harbor and galvanize the country behind the neoconservative agenda. He has long understood how important Catholic support is for the multiple wars the project believed would have to be waged to maintain U.S. dominance in the world…