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2017 Easter Sermon

April 17, 2017

In the Name of the Father . . .

Christians all over the world gather today to celebrate and proclaim our oldest credal statement: Christ is Risen! The Lord is risen Indeed!

This Easter greeting is standard in the Eastern Orthodox churches and often accompanied by three kisses on the cheek. I started out Roman Catholic and as a kid in Chicago I don’t remember the Easter greeting. I remember Ash Wednesday, fasting in Lent, giving up something for Lent, and Easter baskets. That’s about all I remember about Easter from my childhood.

When I joined the Episcopal Church I had to learn the Easter Greeting. There was that awkward moment when a church lady said, “Christ is Risen!,” and then gave me that church lady look. Then she fed me my line, “The Lord is Risen Indeed!” and I repeated it back to her, and she looked at me like she was very disappointed in me.

It is hard to get the Easter message right. It is not just a period of ashes and fasting followed by an Easter Egg Hunt. It’s not just Palm Sunday followed by Easter Sunday and remembering the right words to say when someone challenges you with, “Christ is Risen!”

Another wrong move was made by a large food conglomerate last week in England. Now this is the United Kingdom and the home of the Church of England, the CofE, where we Anglicans started. Anyway, Tesco, which is a big company. It’s sort of like Walmart, Cosco, Hannaford, and Stewarts all in one company. They have all those kinds of stores. It was a week where Pepsi, Sean Spicer, and United Airlines had their troubles here in the US. But, over in the UK there was Tesco putting out an advertisement that said, “Great offers on beer and cider. Good Friday just got better.”

Good Friday just got better because Tesco has a sale on beer and cider. Our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on Good Friday! Tesco tried to apologize and say they didn’t mean to offend anybody.

Somebody wrote on Twitter, “like it or not the Easter is also a secular holiday as well as a religious one. Most are traveling to families rather than to church.”

So, I have described something of the situation we are in now. There are many people who only have a connection to Good Friday and Easter as secular holidays. There are people who have a connection to Easter through the traditions and customs of their own church, but they have no idea how to share the Easter story effectively with non-Christians. And I’ve run into a few people in the Episcopal Church who aren’t very helpful to Christians who come from other kinds of churches.

My Faith was deepened when I began to go to Holy Week services. I greatly recommend this. The three church services leading up to Easter are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Easter Vigil. The services are really one connected service. The Deacon does not give a dismissal at the Thursday night service or the Good Friday service. We all leave in silence. All three services are called the Easter Triduum.

On Thursday night the emphasis is on the Foot-washing, the first Lord’s Supper, and the betrayal by Judas. On Thursday night Jesus gave the new commandment that the disciples should love each other. Jesus showed the kind of love he had in mind when he washed the feet of his disciples.

Late on Thursday night, and into Good Friday, Jesus was arrested and put on trial. The disciples abandoned Jesus. Then he was sent back and forth between King Herod and Pontius Pilate. Finally, He was crucified as a sacrificial scapegoat. On Good Friday we see how the powers of this world attempt to restore order by finding someone to blame.

I know that many Christians believe the whole point of Easter Sunday is that God vindicated Jesus by raising him from the dead. I believe that. I also believe that what happens tonight is extremely important. You won’t hear that part of the story in the Gospel until next Sunday, but I will give you a preview.

Jesus, still bearing his wounds visits the disciples and forgives them for abandoning him. This is also from John’s Gospel, chapter 20 and starting at verse 19, right after the Deacon finished a little while ago:

“19  . . . Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Now, to me this is the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. The community that formed around the crucified and risen Lord actually did what he said. They took care of each other. They shared their stuff. They did not make Jesus into a martyr and try to get revenge. They forgave each other. They forgave their enemies. They washed each others’ feet. They gathered in the Lord’s name and shared the Mystical Supper.

2000 years later we are here still doing this. We have our difficulties. It is a tough time for churches. But we come together each week trying to be kind to each other. Forgiving each other. We intend to seek the best for each other. We do not celebrate in other peoples’ misfortune. We comfort each other during the hard times, and we celebrate in victories. We belong to the Lord and he is teaching us through the Holy Spirit how to live the Gospel. To be the People with Good News. Amen

re: A question about repentance

April 8, 2017

I preached a sermon on Sunday, March 19, 2017 (Lent 3A), in which I offered an interpretation of St. Paul’s understanding of the “Wrath (of God)” (Romans 5:1-11), and the kind of forgiveness that Jesus promises us in the example of the Woman at the Well (John 4:5-42).

Later that day I received a question by email asking about the role of repentance. The person asking was taught that forgiveness follows repentance. This is the way most people think about God’s forgiveness. Basically, that it is a transaction. I’m not so sure.

I responded pretty much like the following and I have permission to publish it.

St. Paul recognizes the problem of human sin and self-deception (Rom 7:15), but he struggles to come up with a way to reconcile the consequences of sin (misery), God’s anger, and God’s mercy and love.

The Johannine texts (those books attributed to John the Apostle) seem to be a later stage in the development of a more nuanced understanding of the causes of hatred, scapegoating, and violence. For instance, in the case of the story of the Samaritan women at the well (John 4) we have a situation in which Jesus is handling what looks like a pastoral problem.

The woman seems to be held in general disrepute, and Jesus offers her living water. This living water will sustain and preserve her forever. This is a reference to the Holy Spirit. The work of the Spirit directs people to live lives according to the will of God. The Holy Spirit affirms people in their status as beloved children of God. The Holy Spirit guides people toward honest self assessment. The Holy Spirit provides healing and upholds people in their faith in the Lord.

The living water is nourishing to the point of creating in us proper desires that are completely satisfying, and it open us up to the recognition of our deepest and worst sinful desires (without falling into despair or resorting to denial).

Repentance is crucial to moral and spiritual health. In the past it was generally assumed that a person only needed to do some basic self-reflection to arrive at what exactly is in need of repentance. With the knowledge we have now about unconscious motivation, I would suggest that experiences of God’s Grace and the promise of forgiveness tend to produce gratitude and repentance. This is more in line with the way Jesus deals with the woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well.

My own experience in talking with people confirms this. Remorse (not true repentance – “a turning around,” but regret and self-loathing) is late in coming, and often provoked by the experience of unpleasant events or circumstances. This dynamic gives support to the false notion that God actively punishes people by bringing misfortune.

So, finally I come down on the side (mostly) of reminding people they are forgiven, and trusting true repentance will follow.

At Oakwood Cemetery . . .

July 22, 2016

IMG_0294.jpgIMG_0295.JPGthis morning to bless my mom’s grave marker and to say prayers. With Marianne, Bill S., Dcn. Alicia Todaro, L. Craig Bryce, and Laphroaig.

Christmas Sermon 2014

December 25, 2014

Christmas Sermon 2014 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Troy, New York

[Gene Tobey sings “I wonder as I wander.” (All verses)]

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
 How Jesus the Savior did come for to die For poor on’ry people like you and like I… I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all. But high from God’s heaven a star’s light did fall,
 And the promise of ages it then did recall.

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
 A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing, 
Or all of God’s angels in heav’n for to sing, He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King. (1.)

I wonder … I wonder what brought you to St. Paul’s this damp Christmas Eve …
If I wandered among you and asked you, I wonder if any of you would answer that you were here because of a baby … I can see that many of you are part of our regular St. Paul’s family, and no doubt you are here because St. Paul’s is your church and where else would you be on Christmas Eve?
Some of you might tell me that it is a long family tradition … others of you might say that you love the choir and the beautiful, stirring music. Some of you may well be here because St. Paul’s is such a beautiful church. A few of you may be here at the urging of family or friends and you want to be with them. Perhaps several of you “just wandered in” … to get warm, or out of curiosity.

My friends, for whatever the reason, I am glad you are here and I am happy to see you.

So it may surprise you that I am here to tell you that no matter what you may think … you are here because of a baby…

Our St Paul’s parishioners are here … because of a baby.
Those of you who believe you are here in observance of a long standing family tradition to be at St. Paul’s on Christmas eve … you came because of a baby . . .

Our faithful, talented choir members led by our exceptional organist and choir director, Brian Hoffman … are all here because of a baby … the glorious music they perform and the carols we sing are all about … a baby.
This magnificent church interior designed and executed by Louis Comfort Tiffany was built to the honor and glory of … a baby.

And all the rest of you who are here, willing or unwilling, curious or cold … yes, you got it … because of a little baby.

“Hush-a-bye, go to sleep little baby
There in the manger, safe beside your momma,
 Only the angels who watch over you as you are sleeping
 Know that you are here to change the world” (2.)

And I wonder … why God sent a tiny helpless infant to show us ‘poor ornery mortals’ how much he loves us and how he longs for us to love him back? Maybe it’s simply because it’s so easy to love a baby.

Actually I am convinced … that you are all here because somewhere deep inside there is an urge, a nudge, maybe a longing to approach that humble manger bed and whisper … “I love you too.”

[Gene sings first and last verse]
I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
 How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…

I wonder as I wander out under the sky. If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
 A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing, 
Or all of God’s angels in heav’n for to sing, He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King.

1. “I wonder as I wander” by John Jacob Niles
2. “The Secret of the Stars” From The Way Of The Wolf By Martin Bell.

Review of Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition by Alasdair MacIntyre (University of Notre Dame Press, 1991)

February 13, 2012

This is a great book. The crucial thing to keep in mind while reading the book is that this is a book about method. Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry concerns how to go about finding out who is in the right. MacIntyre offers three approaches.

When I was a kid we had a long row of big books on the floor in the corner of the living room. If we had an argument about something, somebody would always go to the encyclopedia to find out who was right. MacIntyre says, in effect, that the perspective of the writers who submitted articles to the encyclopedia, along with the subsequent editorial smoothing, produced a sort of god-like voice that dispensed disembodied pseudo-objective knowledge talk. This is the Enlightenment voice of reason, a “view from nowhere” (TNagel), invented when the best minds became convinced there finally was hope for agreement in all disciplines regarding
1. a universal standard for rationality,
2. a conceptual scheme for a single cosmos governed by uniform physical laws, and
3. inevitable progress.

During the 20th century a number of catastrophic events (wars, genocide and failed economies) eroded the confidence of the experts, and a movement inspired by Nietzsche set out to uncover the deceptions (and use of power) hidden in the history leading to the modern era. MacIntyre thinks the methods used by people like Foucault to “unmask” power rely on a non-stable conception of the self, while they use language in their arguments that “presuppose ascriptions of both identity and continuity to persons.” Presumably, for all their subversive posturing, they still copyright their books and accept tenured positions. The genealogist owes (but doesn’t give) the same suspicion of himself that he heaps on others.

MacIntyre presents Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae as a systematic method of inquiry that has never been equaled. The biggest mistake one could make reading Three Rival Versions is to assume that the answers given in the Summa are in some way like the information one gets from the Encyclopedia Britannica. People have used Aquinas this way, but Thomas’ intention was always to demonstrate a method of learning (and debate) that moves through at least four stages:
1. By apprenticeship: “What is my good?” This stage assumes the presence of a teacher who will guide the learner from an understanding of “basic moral apprehensions,” and then on to the cultivation of the more advanced skills (virtues) that are required to become a teachable student.
2. As members of a community of learners: “What are our goods?” How members of a community who at least agree on first principles (logic, do good, avoid evil), conduct debate centered on resolving the “precise formulations” of rational inquiry.
3. Engaging opponents one-on-one: In the third level of debate about who is in the right, the student learns to confront serious problems of incommensurability with opponents, with the goal of identifying the “limitations, defects, and errors” of the opposing view, while affirming and appropriating what is “cogent, insightful and true.”
4. Critique: Finally, a general account (or explanation) of ideological blindness, which represents a will to power and has its roots in the corruption of the will. Throughout the Summa Thomas demonstrates a painstaking approach that he uses to expose error. He provides provisional answers to a whole host of questions, while maintaining an astonishing level of generosity and humility in entertaining as many objections to his points of view as he can find.

Again, the main thing this book offers is a comparison of methods of moral inquiry. I find MacIntyre’s (and Thomas’) conclusions persuasive.

French Bread

January 13, 2012

latest effort

Rector’s Newsletter Article for January, 2012

January 7, 2012

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

There is much rejoicing here at the Gorchovs’ house! Marianne’s back surgery has healed wonderfully, and she is doing things she was unable to do before the surgery. In addition, her eye operation was also successful. I had hand surgery in October and have recovered full use. Many great blessings!

In December I celebrated the tenth anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. We had a wonderful worship service, with three bishops in attendance, and the choir offering their lovely voices. A great friend, Laurel Masse, honored us with a performance of Schubert’s Ave Maria, which she also sang at my ordination. I was very pleased that Anna Plumey was Confirmed in the Faith at the same service. The evening was capped by a wonderful dinner in the parish hall. What a great way to celebrate the beginning of my second decade as a priest in God’s one holy catholic and apostolic Church!

The theme of my sermon at the Eucharist was Christian vocation. Since my ordination anniversary falls on the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I took the opportunity to advance the idea that when God first conceived of Our Lady, God had in mind a person who would bear His incarnate Son. Still, it seems that Mary had the freedom to opt out – but thanks be to God – she said yes!

In the same way, Anna Plumey, has always been included in God’s plan as a person with a vocation (a calling) to God’s service. I, myself, was called to serve too. The time and place in which each person stands up to answer a call from God differs according to each person’s particular faith journey and circumstances. I am most grateful that God has been so patient and kind to me.

I pray that, as we move into Epiphany and then on to the season of Lent, you will take the time to seriously reflect on your own vocation. You may have been conceived by God to a life of service to the poor. You may have been called to offer your talents in other ways. But, I’m sure you have been called in some way. It is your task, if you choose to take it on, to discover what your vocation is, and then say yes!

Blessings, Michael+

Rector’s Newsletter Article for November, 2011

November 10, 2011

“For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”  2 Corinthians 1:5

Marianne is home! Thanks be to God! Many of you know that my wife Marianne recently had lower back surgery to restore lost function to her legs. This operation came just weeks after she had cataract surgery. In between these surgeries I had surgery on my left hand. When we made the arrangements earlier in the year, our thinking was that we would like to be fully operational by the time the weather is really cold and nasty. The jury is still out on whether we made the right calculation. Marianne’s eye is almost completely healed, and my hand is proceeding apace.

But, the surgery on Marianne’s back is of a wholly different nature and scope. Her level of pain, and the expected recovery time, is much greater. The surgeon told me in the waiting room afterward that the operation went well, but that Marianne would experience a very high degree of pain in the coming days. According to Marianne, he wasn’t exaggerating!

The new patient pavilion at St. Peter’s Hospital includes a very large surgical waiting area. Usually patients spend about two hours in “recovery” before being transferred to a hospital room. For some reason Marianne didn’t get to her room in the main hospital building for over four hours! By the time she was moved, the waiting area had cleared out and there were only two people left – myself, and a woman waiting for her husband.

The next day I ran into the same woman again in the hallway outside Marianne’s room. After exchanging pleasantries, she shared with me that her husband had decided to come in to have a quick “in-and-out” hip replacement. During his recovery something went wrong with the new hip and because of the excruciating pain, he began to put so much weight on his other “good” hip that he managed to break that one. So, here he was now back in the hospital getting the first hip replacement repaired, but also having an entire replacement of his other hip! The woman standing before me, shaking her head really didn’t think it was funny – it was more that the situation was so absurd that she couldn’t believe it was all actually happening.

I saw the woman one more time in the hospital that week. She was at a table with a friend, on the far side of the food court. We waved to each other as people who had shared a common experience. We both had sat for hours in the same waiting room while our loved ones underwent surgery. We both were now attending to our spouses at the beginning of a long recovery. With a simple wave of a hand we were acknowledging each to the other that even though we can’t always make sense of what life dishes out, we still want more of it. We still want to go forward with our lives – she, to walk again with her husband; me, to walk with Marianne.

I have struggled, as do most people who have lived a bit, with the meaning of suffering.  I have come to an understanding (and in trusting to a loving God) that evil, pain, and suffering are simply facts of life. I trust that God knows best. But I do notice now how precious the good times are, especially as I become more and more aware of how little we can count on a safe and pain-free existence. I feel somewhat foolish thinking back on how much of my life I spent expecting, and counting on, things to go well. Oh well, as Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young.”

I was driving today to one more medical appointment while listening to the country music station. The song I heard lifted my spirits. Here it is. It’s about a man who just learned he had a terminal illness.

How’s it hit you when you get that kind of news?

Man whatcha do?

An’ he said: “I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,

“I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.

“And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,

“And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”

An’ he said: “Some day, I hope you get the chance,

“To live like you were dyin’.”

He said “I was finally the husband,

“That most the time I wasn’t.

“An’ I became a friend a friend would like to have.

“And all of a sudden goin’ fishin’,

“Wasn’t such an imposition,

“And I went three times that year I lost my Dad.

“Well, I finally read the Good Book,

“And I took a good long hard look,

“At what I’d do if I could do it all again,

“And then:

“I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,

“I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.

“And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,

“And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”

An’ he said: “Some day, I hope you get the chance,

“To live like you were dyin’.”

Like tomorrow was a gift,

And you got eternity,

To think about what you’d do with it.

An’ what did you do with it?

An’ what can I do with it?

An’ what would I do with it?

Blessings, Michael+

*Tim McGraw, Live Like You Were Dying

Rector’s Newsletter Article for September, 2011

September 11, 2011


In this issue of the parish newsletter I offer a quick peak into our recent vacation, and a couple of more comments about doctrine.

1. Marianne and I had great time in Rangeley, Maine on our vacation. We again took along our Field Spaniels, Oscar and Babette – and our Maine Coon Cat, Kirby. The dogs had a very good time swimming in Dodge Pond! They were really good about swimming out to get a toy and coming right back (for a treat). There was only one time when things got out of hand. We were down by the dock and the dogs were still on their leashes, when a female Mallard duck flew in, plopped down, and started paddling around about ten feet away. The dogs started barking and became just a tad excited. Oscar slipped his collar, but I was able to hold him by the scruff of his neck. Babette got loose and ran to the end of the dock, but didn’t jump in because her leash was caught on a nail. Marianne quickly got to her and grabbed the leash, and we decided that was enough excitement for the afternoon! We didn’t see the duck again, and the dogs went swimming a few more times before our vacation was over. Kirby declined our offers to take him swimming. And now on to the other topics.

2. I was reminded recently about something that seems on first glance a bit odd: Down to this day the Latin and Greek titles for the Nicene Creed are Symbolum Nicaenum (Nicene Symbol) and symbolon tes pistews (Symbol of Faith). In the ancient Greek world a symbolon was half of a broken object, which when joined to the other half, became proof of the bearer’s identity. So, by extension, the Creed became the symbol of Christian identity by which Christians could recognize each other.

3. In my last newsletter article I wrote about an ecumenical approach to achieving agreement on doctrine advanced by George Lindbeck in the 1980s. In his groundbreaking book, The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Post-liberal Age, (Westminster John Knox Press, 1984), Lindbeck proposed that by treating doctrinal statements as rules by which we speak about God, we might be able to discuss with other Christians the way church teachings are internally coherent, without getting bogged down in endless circular arguments about how something we say is true, is true, because we have always said it is true. Lindbeck uses the secular example of how Brits drive their cars on the left side of the road, and North Americans drive on the right. It would be fruitless indeed to spend much time arguing about who is right on that topic!

But there are many things that various Christians can agree on, and they can agree not primarily because these are things that each group has always said they believed, but because they represent core truths about Christian Faith. Often, these are things that we can all agree should not be said about God.

Here is an example of how this approach might work:

The doctrine of the Trinity says that the Father and Son are co-eternal, and therefore the Church has insisted that the Creator of the universe is essentially loving, forgiving, and merciful. But the violence attributed to God in parts of the Old Testament seems inconsistent with the Christian belief in a loving Creator. In this case the doctrine of the Trinity reminds us that the Bible is a divinely inspired document that has been written and handed down through the generations by fallible human authors, and that the actions and motives attributed to God by these authors must always be interpreted through the offering of God Himself in the Life, Suffering, and Death of our Lord Jesus.

“He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:8, RSV.

Therefore, we must not say that God is violent or actively encourages violence.

I pray that you would take from these comments about the Nicene Creed, that
a. by calling the Creed a symbol (or sign), the Church has never said that it should be received symbolically, but instead, truthfully as “statements of our basic beliefs about God.” (BCP, p. 851)
b. by seeking agreement between Christian churches through dialogue, we all might learn more of what is essential to Christian faith and belief, so that we “may all be one.” (John 17:21)

May God bless you, Michael+

Rector’s Newsletter Article for April, 2011

March 29, 2011

From the Rector’s desk –

I am writing this article in the second week in Lent. During my daily prayer time my thoughts turn constantly to the people of Japan as they struggle to respond to three separate and interrelated catastrophes. Even trying to deal with one earthquake, or one tsunami, or a nuclear reactor failure would be devastating by itself, but all three at once seems more tragedy than any one country could be expected to bear. And yet, even though it is difficult to watch on television, there is no lack of courage and fortitude among the people of Japan. How do people persevere when family members are suddenly washed away? Where do the workers who are sent in to cope with the nuclear reactors find it within themselves to go on when they know they are cutting their lives short by continuing to be exposed to high levels of radiation?

The news from Japan has been heartbreaking, but the work of the many selfless and courageous people who are coping with overwhelming problems is inspirational. My prayers are with the people of Japan as they experience unremitting suffering.

Heavenly Father, we commend to thy goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; especially the people of Japan; that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

I also have been praying for the people of Libya. I watch television helplessly as Colonel Qaddafi becomes increasingly bellicose, delusional, and violent. The situation seems to change hourly, but as I write this, an international coalition is engaged in bombing strikes to create a no-fly zone and force a cease-fire.

As our country engages once more in the use of military force I have been reviewing the Christian teaching concerning the proper use of military force, usually called the ‘just war’ tradition. International law has replaced, and expanded upon, just war theory in governing the conduct of independent nations in their relationships with one another. But it is still very important for Christians to understand the basics of just war in order to be able to make good judgments and conduct reasonable debate, concerning our involvement in armed conflict. I offer the following as a reflection on the Christian tradition regarding how Christians have been guided in the use of appropriate military force.

Just war theory traditionally (from Cicero, Ambrose, Augustine and Aquinas) sets down seven conditions for waging war:

1. The cause must be just. (no retaliation is allowed for a personal insult, but force may be used to protect innocent life and correct a grave, public evil.)

2. Comparative justice. (the injustice suffered by one party must significantly outweigh that suffered by the other.)

3. War must be declared by the legitimate authority.

4. The authority must have the right intention. (just cause, not material gain or to maintain the economy.)

5. The war must have a reasonable chance of succeeding. (Arms may not be used in a futile cause.)

6. Last resort. (force may be used only after all peaceful and viable alternatives have been tried.)

7. Proportionality. (benefits of waging war must be proportionate to its expected evils or harms.)

It may be foolish of me to say anything about our involvement in Libya. By the time you receive this newsletter the situation may have changed dramatically. But, at this point, I think I can say that if there is convincing evidence that Qaddafi intends to commit genocidal violence against those rebelling against his regime, and we can prevent him from doing this by limiting his military power and forcing a movement toward a cease-fire, then I am in support of the United Nations resolution. On the other hand, if the number of civilian casualties is expected to be high and the likelihood for creating anarchy and chaos is very high also, then the decision does not satisfy just war conditions for a reasonable chance for success, comparative justice, and proportionality.

I pray our leaders’ intentions are right, our involvement will be short-term, and that peace will be waged even more strongly than war.

In Christ, Fr. Michael Gorchov