These comments are by Father George Zabelka, a Catholic chaplain with the US Army air force, who was priest and pastor for the airmen who dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
He was discharged in 1946, and during the next 20 years he realised that what he had done and believed during the war was wrong, and that the only way he could be a Christian was to be a pacifist. These comments are from an interview he gave to Sojourners Magazine in 1980.
"For the first three centuries, the three centuries closest to Christ, the Church was a pacifist church. With Constantine the Church accepted the Pagan Roman ethic of a just war and slowly began to involve its membership in mass slaughter, first for the state and later for the faith.
"Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants, whatever other differences they may have had on theological esoterica, all agreed that Jesus' clear and unambiguous teaching on the rejection of violence and on love of enemies was not to be taken seriously. And so each of the major branches of CHristianity by different theological methods modified our Lord's teaching in these matters unti l all three were able to do WHAT JESUS REJECTED - that is, take an eye for an eye, slaughter, maim, torture.
"It seems a 'sign' to me that 1700 years of Christian terror and slaughter should arrive at August 9th 1945 when Catholics dropped an A bomb on top of the largest and first Catholic city in Japan.
"One would have thought that I, as a Catholic priest, would have spoken out against the atomic bombing of nuns - three orders of Catholic sisters were destroyed in Nagasaki that day. One would have thought that I would have suggested that as a minimal standard of Catholic morality, Catholics shouldn't bomb Catholic children . I didn't.
I, like the Catholic pilot of the Nagasaki plane, was heir to a Christianity that had for 1700 years engaged in murder, revenge, torture, the pursuit of power, and prerogative violence, all in the name of our Lord."
Fr George Zabelka
Back to Peace Points