David Mills remarks on the War Crimes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

David Mills remarks on the War Crimes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki August 7, 2018

Over on Facebook, David Mills remarks:


From a reflection on the twin questions of abortion and the bombing Hiroshima, whose 73rd anniversary we observe today. It illustrates the great challenge of living as Christians in a fallen world. The options are to face the challenge, to deny it, or to talk crap.

[[[ Almost everyone says “There are no easy answers” when they address questions like the bombing of Hiroshima. Many say it when talking about abortion. We say this when the costs of acting rightly are horrific, and especially when other people will bear the costs. You think about the 18-year-old boy who will die invading Japan. You think about the 13-year-old girl carrying a rapist’s baby.

Sane people look for an out. Anyone who holds to absolute moral principles — which is pretty much everyone — feels the draw of consequentialism. You want to believe, just this once, that the end justifies the means. Saying “There are no easy answers” seems to give us the excuse we need.

But it doesn’t. If we cannot kill the innocent, we cannot kill the innocent. The lives of all the boys who will return home if we drop the bomb does not justify incinerating the child walking to school, the man at his desk, the woman in her garden.

That’s an easy answer, as an answer. It follows inescapably from the premise we hold as an absolute. We often have easy answers. What we don’t always have are comfortable answers. ]]]

JD Orion and Steel Magnificat are quoted. The observation appeared on the website of the Human Life Review/Foundation last August.

He then adds this followup:


I just posted something on the moral challenges of abortion and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I’d add now that if you allow consequentialism in the second, as many American pro-lifers do, you must allow it in the first, which they roundly reject.

I’m reminded of a horrifying Prager University video by Notre Dame professor Fr. Bill Miscamble, CSC. He’s a pro-life leader who became a little famous for leading the opposition to Notre Dame’s giving a degree to then-president Obama. Speaking against Obama’s support for legal abortion, he was an absolutist.

But in the video, no. He makes an entirely consequentialist argument for the bombings, and makes it enthusiastically. He makes it without even nodding to Catholic teaching on these matters. He appears in his collar and identifies himself as Fr. Wilson Miscamble. Viewers will assume that he presents Catholic teaching.

The only reason people criticize Truman’s decision, Fr. Miscamble says at the beginning, is that they believe bad history. Not anything like a belief in the words of *Gaudium et Spes* or the *Catechism*. The was no “viable alternative” to killing all those civilians, he argues. “The judgment of history is clear and unambiguous.” “Any moral person” would have done the same thing as Truman. Of any principled disagreement, even that of the statements of his own Church, he says not a word.

What, indeed, does the #CatechismoftheCatholicChurch say about it? It says, beginning with a quote from *Gaudium et Spes*:

[[[ “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 ]]]

You can easily find a great deal more Catholic teaching and Catholic teachers against him. Bl. Paul VI and St. JPII, for two. Fulton Sheen for another. Even Church Militant, hardly a liberal site, published an article calling the bombing “a shameful act.”

But apparently for Fr. Miscamble, despite his admirably firm and sacrificial defense of unborn life, only ignorant, immoral people would find any problem with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

So often the Old Prolife Movement reminds me of the Donatists.  Strong-willed but blind to everything except their own heroism in a single cause.  They can no longer hear the rest of the Church’s teaching on the common good.

Dissenting Right Wing Catholicism has taken up the habit that used to characterize Left Wing Catholics: find a Folk Hero and make him into the Alternative Magisterium so they can ignore the real Magisterium.  It used to be Fr. Richard McBrien or Charles Curran telling the ones fleeing Humanae Vitae or Evangelium Vitae why they could ignore the Church on the Pelvic Issues.

Now the loudest enemies of the Church are white “faithful, conservative, prolife” Catholics, looking for excuses to blow off the Magisterium on a host of issues and spit in the eye of the Holy Father.

Hate Francis’ teaching the environment?  A host of Right Wing Noise Machine authorities have you covered.

Need to dismiss Francis’ teaching on economics?  Acton is there for you.

Want to support torture?  First Things has helpfully left up their old arguments on the web so you can go and quote them and sigh over the meanness of those who spoke of the Rubber Hose Right and did not recognize the super-nuanced Alternative Magisterium of Fr. Brian Harrison (who is, these days, contributing to Steve Skojec’s 1 Peter Five site and helping keep alive the flame of hostility to Pope Francis.

Looking for support in making war on the Church’s teaching on the Death Penalty?  Ed Feser is your Alternative Magisterium!

Hate Francis’s call for mercy to immigrant?  John Zmirak is on the case with his time-tested use of the unborn as human shields for stupid xenophobia.  He will confer his Alternative Magisterial blessing on whatever vindictive cruelty you want to subject desperate refugee children to.

And every year for years now, Fr. Miscamble has served as the Alternative Magisterum for conservative Catholics who want to be told what their itching ears want to hear about a war crime the Church describes as a “crime against God and man”.  Because white “faithful, conservative, prolife” Catholics have, by the millions, left off listening to the Church except when it accessorizes the politics of lies they have learned from FOX, EIB, and the apotheosis of their hopes, dreams, and aspirations: Donald Trump.

And just like Donatists, when you point out that their heroism in one thing does not confer upon them a 007 to destroy the Church’s teaching in everything else, they cannot hear you, because they are way better and purer Catholics than “Franky Bergoglio”.

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