28 December 2004

Wikipedia | 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake of moment magnitude 9.0 that struck the Indian Ocean off the western coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia on December 26, 2004 at 00:58:50 UTC (or 07:58:50 local time in Jakarta and Bangkok.) It was the largest earthquake on Earth since the 9.2-magnitude Good Friday Earthquake which struck Alaska, USA, on March 27, 1964, and the fourth largest since 1900. Tens of thousands were killed by the resulting tsunamis, which were as high as 10 m (33 ft) in some locations and struck within three hours of the quake. Southern part of india had a deep impact because of the killer waves which resulted because of the quake.

As usual, Wikipedia has about the best coverage in terms of news and where you can donate money.

26 December 2004

No Peace on Earth During Unjust War

One of the criteria for a just war is that there be a reasonable chance of victory. Where is that reasonable chance? Each extra day of the war makes it more unjust, more criminal. The guilty people are not only the Vulcans but those Americans who in the November election endorsed the war.

They are also responsible for the Iraqi deaths, especially the men who join the police or the army because they need the money to support their families -- their jobs eaten up in the maw of the American ''liberation.'' Iraqi deaths don't trouble many Americans. Their attitude is not unlike the e-mail writer who said he rejoices every time a Muslim kills another Muslim. ''Let Allah sort them out.''

This time of the year we celebrate ''peace on Earth to men of good will.'' Americans must face the fact that they can no longer claim to be men and women of good will, not as long as they support an unnecessary, foolish, ill-conceived, badly executed and, finally, unwinnable war. If most people in other countries blame the war on Americans, we earned that blame in the November election -- not that there is any serious reason to believe that Sen. John Kerry would have had the courage to end the war. Perhaps if he had changed his mind, as he did about the war in Vietnam, and opposed the Iraqi war, he might have won. Too late now. Too late till 2010 -- or 2020.

Note: Some conservative Catholics -- Republicans, I assume -- are spreading the word on the Internet that I am an ''unfrocked'' (sic) priest. That is false witness. I am and have been for 50 years a priest in good standing of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Call (312) 751-8220 if you don't believe me. False witness is a grave sin and must be confessed before Christmas communion. Moreover, those who commit it are bound to restore the reputation of the one about whom they've lied.

I like Andrew Greeley's clerical detective novels. His Note struck me as much as his main article. False witness is not only a grave sin in the Catholic tradition. It is included in the Decalogue at Exodus 20:16. Evidently all those literalist Bible-believing Religious Right types have discovered an exemption from the Ten Commandments for political campaigns.

Happy Feast of the Incarnation.