Social Justice

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton Reflects

posted on 03/09/10 03:38 pm by Fr. Paul Hansen, C.Ss.R.  

To understand the anger directed against the United States September 11th, Americans need to review statements made by State Department official George Kennan in the 1940’s, and by Pope John Paul II in a meeting with President George Bush July 23rd, according to Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, auxiliary bishop of Detroit. Kennan was a U.S. State Department analyst, and later an expert on the Soviet Union, who in the late 1940’s said: “We are 6 percent of the world’s people and we have over 50 percent of the world’s wealth. That’s going to make us an object of envy and resentment.” But it was where Kennan took this assessment that disturbs Gumbleton, for it illustrates the course of U.S. foreign, political and economic policy ever since. “Instead of committing the country, committing the United States, to working throughout the world to bring everyone up to our economic and democratic levels, Kennan said that United States must develop the pattern of relationships that would enable us to maintain the disparity,” Gumbleton said. “And we are still doing it.” Gumbleton said the pope understands full well “the tragedy of these times,” and challenged Bust (at Castel Gandolfo July 23rd) to deal with the tragedy. “But all the U.S. media reported from that meeting was stem cell, stem cell, stem cell,” Gumbleton said. The pope surveying rapid globalization, told the U.S. president, “The church cannot but express profound concern that our world continues to be divided no longer by the former political and military blocs, but by a tragic fault line between those who can benefit from these opportunities and those who can seem cut off from them.” ‘The revolution of freedom of which I spoke at the U.N. in 1995 must now be completed by a revolution of opportunity in which all the world’s peoples actively contribute to economic prosperity and share its fruits. This requires leadership by those nations whose religious and cultural traditions should make them most attentive to the moral dimensions of the issues involved.” In Israel and Kuwait gross domestic product per capital is $16,000 a year per person, about $320 per week. Libya, $140 per week, Saudi Arabia $120, Lebanon $100, Turkey $62, Iran $34, Algeria $30, Egypt $28, Jordan and Syria $20, and Iraq $2 per week. If Palestinians were included in this list they would be near the bottom of the list and Afghanistan at the bottom. All these countries are without jobs for the growing young populations. (Source: National Catholic Reporter, Sept. 28th, 2001) For Canadians who share the long border with the United States and whose life style is similar, these are words for reflection in these times.

Paul E. Hansen

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