Memorial Day honors the dead- it is not the holiday to thank Vets

From Gary, IN First female soldier to die in combat Afghan war
First female soldier to die in combat Afghan war. She was 22.

This year ,more than most, I am affected by the media/politicians/folks who cannot grasp the huge difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Ironic that a day specifically  set aside to honor the dead  has become to most a day to offer thanks to all who served.  I find it disrespectful.

The women and men who served and continue to serve in the military undoubtably deserve recognition. Yet this day is for the memory of those who gave that “ultimate sacrifice”. They are gone. They never came back. We cannot thank them.  We do not honor their memory by proxy gratitude.

So why do I feel the need to keep inserting a disclaimer that “of course Vets need our gratitude”? This nagging feeling is directly tied to the anger welling up with each tweet from an otherwise intelligent person writing” On Memorial Day we honor all our military.”

I think we in the US have an issue with accountability for those who died.  Hell, we have an issue with simply acknowledging those who died. We don’t want to think of the number of lives lost, souls gone, futures denied. For one, we cannot fathom numbers of the dead- over 58,000 – Fifty-eight thousand from the Vietnam War Conflict, (Incidentally over 51,000 Confederate and Union soldiers died in the three days of Gettysburg). 400,000 from WWII. Over 5,000 in Iraq. And the deaths continue daily.

I can think of only one television program that consistently names those who die in military- Nancy Grace.  Local and National news rarely mention when a US soldier dies.  For years there was a media blackout on photos of caskets returning to the US. But there is never a blackout of the names- media just doesn’t bother.  I guess its easier to remind people to thank all who served- instead of think about those who died.

Historians cannot pinpoint the first Memorial day- all agree it was Decoration Day. Most ascribe that former Slaves in South Carolina reburied Union soldiers  from a mass grave and gave them a proper burial in a ceremony in 1865.  There are accounts of women in Mississippi , Illinois, and Georgia  decorating graves of their loved ones and noticed the Union (or Confederate) soldier graves were deserted.They used their Spring flowers to decorate them as well. By 1867, over 27 states held festivities.

The intent of the first ceremonies  needs to be  the same today. The dead were honored and remembered.  Cemeteries were visited, flowers placed, names read. Names and lives mattered- especially because they gave all.

Why do we continue to downplay the dead?  What else can you call it when we wrap Memorial day celebrations into thank a Vet?  Do we go to funerals to celebrate all who are attending? No. We focus on those we will not see again- for what is lost. Why do we use military statistics only when it suits the purpose for military spending or invading another country? Why isn’t it enough that teens, young men and women, all ages and races died. Why is it so hard to give these fallen soldiers one damn day to themselves?





Why the Pope isnt pardoning women who chose abortion

My Catholic spine was rattled when I read the DailyMail headline,” Pope orders all Catholic priests to bestow  a full pardon on women who have had an abortion …” .  For starters, the Pope cannot order his priests to do anything and Holy Mother Church doesn’t pardon. Ok, so the reporter  may not be Catholic nor understand basic Church teachings.  But  a quick read demonstrated this article was yet another example of the media having their head far up the papal vestments . In their attempt to make Pope Francis and the Church look new and improved  they, how can I put it ,  made stuff up.  Or keeping with the theme of sin they  commit  a sin of omission.  As in omitting facts.  Allow me.

On April 11 Pope Francis  issued   his Papal Bull Misericordiae Vultus”   announcing  an Extraordinary Year of Mercy beginning December 8 2015. In this, he spoke of the  attributes of showing mercy:

“Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love. The Church “has an endless desire to show mercy.”

Frances further states that during the season of Lent 2016 he will send priests to whom he has given authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See.   Found in Canon Law, these include acts of schism, heresy, apostasy, such as ordaining women, conferring holy orders without papal authority, violating seal of confessional, sacrilege against Blessed Sacrament (communion) and abortion . They fall into three categories-censure, interdict, and excommunication. Abortion incurs  Latae sententiae, or automatic excommunication.

This is no doubt where the sensationalized headline came from- thanks to the  soon-to-be-sainted Pope Francis (if media has is way) priests ’round the world will have special powers to pardon women and their doctors who performed the abortion. But those pesky facts are needed again to explain why these powers may or may not be needed.

Namely the woman , and the doctor or medical professional must realize a. they have been excommunicated  and b. seek absolution and reinstatement into the graces of the Church.  Yes there  are conditions  for an automatic excommunication in the Catholic Church.

According to canon law ( which is neither cut nor dried nor direct), one must realize abortion is not only a sin, but a sin for which one can be excommunicated. If she doesn’t realize its gravity, she isn’t automatically excommunicated. . And if she isn’t excommunicated, then if she had  sought absolution prior to this year of Mercy any priest could and would have absolved her already.

Which means this is not new. And special powers are not always needed. And Francis may be many things, but  media cannot continue to paint him as one ignoring the catechism of the Church and granting blanket absolution. It is simply not true.