Archbishop Listecki's article in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, "Cemeteries show respect for deceased souls," (6-2-16) is interesting but troubling. What is a deceased soul? Christian theology has used the term soul in the Platonic - Aristotelean sense of the soul as immaterial therefore not subject to death as such. Thomistic theology considers the soul and body as one - the soul as the spiritual, animating and defining aspect of the person. People die - not souls.
There was a kernel of truth in Bishop Listecki's unorthodox article. The spot of truth is that cemeteries have a cultural and religious value, but to make them a launching pad for justifying war or a place to bury funds is sad. Listecki writes that our soldiers fought to save our democracy. This is the ironic position of the righteous, religious right that struggles to limit democracy by trying to enforce their beliefs on others - as in the health care controversy.
The war tragedies of death, destruction and disabling wounds including P.T.S.D. are made more devastating by the fact that wars such as Vietnam and Iraq were unnecessary. Martin Luther King and other religious leaders condemned the Vietnam intervention. Misinformation from the Gulf of Tonkin resulted in a massive escalation of the war by the U.S.
Saint John Paul II denounced the Iraq war, but President Bush insisted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and went ahead with ‘shock and awe.’ The ‘weapons of mass destruction’ were never found.
Is Listecki’s article defending cemeteries a feeble explanation of former Archbishop Dolan’s shift of funds to the cemetery account to protect them from pedophile victims? A New York Times article (7-1-13) quotes a letter from Dolan asking permission to move the funds.
“I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.”
Obviously the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is indeed bankrupt in more ways than one. Also the Vatican has never accepted direct responsibility for the cover-up.
This is the 125th anniversary of Rerum Novarum and the beginning of modern Catholic Social Teaching, but who pays any attention? Church teaching now, more than ever, has a serious credibility gap because of the continued efforts to bury immortal truth as a “deceased soul.”