Sunday, October 12, 2008

Terrorist Nuns


From the Washington Times:

For decades, Sister Carol Gilbert and Sister Ardeth Platte have practiced their Roman Catholic faith with an unwavering focus on world peace. Their antiwar activities even landed them in federal prison earlier this decade for trespassing onto a military base and pouring blood onto a nuclear missile silo.

Now they face fresh infamy as two nuns secretly branded by Maryland State Police as terrorists and placed on a national watch list.

"This term terrorist is a really serious accusation," Sister Ardeth, a nun for 54 years, told The Washington Times on Thursday in the first interview that the women have given since being informed they were among 53 people added to a terrorist watch list in conjunction with an extensive Maryland surveillance effort of antiwar activists.

"There is no way that we ever want to be identified as terrorists. We are nonviolent. We are faith-based," she said.

The women freely acknowledge their participation in antiwar activities.

On Oct. 6, 2002, the two sisters and another nun - armed with bolt cutters, a hammer and baby bottles filled with their own blood - broke into an unmanned Minuteman III missile site in northeastern Colorado and painted bloody crosses on the silo. It was the day before the one-year anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.

Sister Carol was sentenced to 30 months and Sister Ardeth to 41 months in federal prison for the action.

"I learned to make it a meditation, almost a prayer," Sister Carol told the Baltimore Sun upon her release in 2005.

But they say being tagged as terrorists in a federal database is false and a blow to their commitment to a pursuit of peace.

"We're Dominicans; our mission is 'veritas,' which is truth," Sister Carol said.

22 comments:

Volpius Leonius said...

I guess they missed the part of the scriptures were we are told to be obedient to those in authority, even to death like Christ, providing that they are not personally asking us to commit an evil act.

How many souls do they think they have saved by their criminality?

And the picture of them tells it all, what kind of nuns look like that?

Catholics should not adopt communist tactics to try and intimidate the government into bowing to their demands.

The US government should do the Catholic Church a favour and send these "nuns" to Guantanamo Bay with the other terrorists where they can no longer damage the reputation of the Church.

alban said...

Fr Blake: Interesting juxtapostion between these 2 nuns and Sr. Alfonsa. Although some will, no doubt disagree, I believe that all 3 sought to carry out Christ's mission on Earth. I was particularly impressed that Sr Carol saw her time in prison as being a meditation.

I pray that the canonisation of Sr. Alfonsa will be a great comfort to the persecuted Christians of India, and especially to the 'untouchables'.

Fr. Gary V. said...

They get what they deserves.

TheSmokinAltarboy said...

Fr. Gary V. I hope you get what you deserve as well.

John said...

The post from 'Volpius' is dissapointing in its bias towards these two women as it appears that they do not fit in with his notion of what a nun does or how she lives. In answer to the rhetorical question of 'what kind of nuns look like that?'...the answer is the bulk of nuns in the Western world.

These are the women who had run schools and hospitals on shoe string budgets while they were young sisters and as their communities became smaller in the 70's and 80's they listened to 'the signs of the times' and in obedience to the Council documents and to their religious congregations they branched into areas of ministry that they discerned were more appropriate to the orginal founding charism of their congregations.

The Dominican ideal focusses around preaching and these women appear to have chosen to do this by drawing attention to the injustices committed by the US government. Notably they have also been prepared to accept the civil consquences for their actions.

We do not need to agree with their actions to be able to admire them but I think need to realise that our Church is big enough for all of us to be able to live out our different vocations and in doing so to further 'Christ's mission on earth' as 'alban' says. May God continue to bless them.

dillydaydream said...

Being on a list headed "Terrorists" in Maryland is one thing. Less romantically, they are probably on a list in the Kremlin or Tora Bora, headed "Useful Idiots".

Volpius Leonius said...

"The post from 'Volpius' is dissapointing in its bias towards these two women"

If deploring their foolish and irresponsible behaviour makes me biased against them then you are right ;)

Your post is disappointing in its bias in favour of them and against the lawful government of a sovereign nation.

They not only do not fit what I expect a nun to do they do not even fit with how I expect a good and decent person to behave.

"These are the women who had run schools and hospitals on shoe string budgets while they were young sisters"

Are you jsut assuming that or do you actually know that for a fact?

Even if true it works against them, it would mean that under their care those schools which did good have now disappeared and have been replaced by this shameful display of self indulgence which only does bad.

"Notably they have also been prepared to accept the civil consquences for their actions. "

They didn't have much choice did they?

"The Dominican ideal focusses around preaching "

Yes but with preaching content is all important and I don't remember St. Dominic throwing blood on the swords and spears of knights or promoting pacifism and dedicating his life to "world peace".

"We do not need to agree with their actions to be able to admire them"

What kind of messed up logic is that? You should never admire someone for doing wrong. I suppose you admire suicide bombers to because they are brave?

andiclare said...

John,

These sisters poured blood over a nuclear missile silo, (after breaking into an official military base). Whether you like it or not, agree with it or not, that is an act of terrorism.

You said: We do not need to agree with their actions to be able to admire them but I think need to realise that our Church is big enough for all of us to be able to live out our different vocations and in doing so to further 'Christ's mission on earth' as 'alban' says.

First of all, yes we do need to agree with their actions in order to admire them. Why else would be admire them? And respectfully, your next comment about the Church being "big enough for all of us" doesn't make much sense in this context. No, they aren't living out their vocation as obedient Dominican nuns. That is precicely what makes their actions so egregious.

Volpius Leonius said...

"I believe that all 3 sought to carry out Christ's mission on Earth."

But only one of them did it right ;)

Tell me what do you think Christ's mission on earth is and how did the two terrorists carry that out? (And don't say world peace, Christ Himself said this was NOT it. "Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth" Matthew 10:34)

Christ was crucified at least in part because he would not lead the Jews in civil disobedience against the Romans like they wanted Him to, to equate the actions of these two women with Christ is an insult to Our Lord.

epsilon said...

If a few more catholics spoke out against illegal western warfare on countries that had done nothing to them originally, these nuns might not have had to take such drastic action. They poured a few drops of their own blood on killing machines. Who got killed as a result of their actions? Nobody.

Still, the Bliars and Bushes of this world have not yet been incarcerated for the millions of innocent lives they butchered in the last few years. Get a grip, you pharisees!

Well said, thesmokingaltarboy!

andiclare said...

epsilon,

Do you really believe these nuns had to make this protest? Is this part of their Dominican vows?

Also, you ask "who got killed as a result of their actions? Nobody."

What single bit of good resulted from their actions? Was there actually any good done, or was this just an act of self-indulgence on their part?

Volpius Leonius said...

"If a few more catholics spoke out against illegal western warfare on countries that had done nothing to them originally, these nuns might not have had to take such drastic action."

They weren't protesting against the war in Iraq they were protesting about the US having nuclear weapons according to them. Don't read your own gripes into the actions of others. As a Catholic I will follow the Popes lead on nuclear weapons, I never heard him speak out against it so I'm sure not going to do it.

However on the subject of Iraq, the invasion is over protesting about it after it has happened when its to late to do anything about it is ridiculous, and don't say you want the troops out now, if we did that what remains of the Christian community would be dead within a week and hundreds of thousands more will die two wrongs done make a right. And that's not just me saying it the head of the Iraqi Catholics just recently asked us not to pull out for those very reasons. Again I will follow the Popes lead on this to, again he has not been demanding troops are pulled out of Iraq, he urged caution about the invasion if I remember but he has never outright condemned it. That's the Main stream media who also condemn Catholicism who are doing that.

"They poured a few drops of their own blood on killing machines. Who got killed as a result of their actions? Nobody."

Potentially lots of people if the US was not there with nuclear weapons to defend us against countries like Russia, haven't you heard about Georgia recently?

If someone broke into your home and vandalised your property would that be ok?

Is it acceptable behaviour for any Christian to behave like a criminal anarchist?

I have seen the result of this kind of behaviour you are condoning when it becomes endemic in a society, it is not pretty, civilisation descends into barbarism, ever heard of Somalia?

Guess what, lots of people die when to many people like these nuns think they are above the law.

"Still, the Bliars and Bushes of this world have not yet been incarcerated for the millions of innocent lives they butchered in the last few years. Get a grip, you pharisees!"

I sure would love to know were you got the millions figure from. As for the accusation of been a Pharisee, well that is just silly.

All authority comes from God and God will judge how they used that authority when their time comes.

And again I will follow the lead of the Pope, he seems to get along fine with Bush so I am not going to join in with the secular presses attacks on him.

Hatred is not a Christian virtue, I think you need to forgive Bush and Blair for the mistakes you think they have made.

John said...

Andiclare...while you obviously do not agree with what I said, thanks for polite and respectful tone. I will try to do the same in explaining what I had meant by a couple of things you mentioned.

I actually do not agree with the actions of these women, but I do admire them, as it seems that they are living out their Catholic vocation as they understand it. Obedience is complex, but it seems that they and lots of other Religious women are obedient to their consciences and to what they discern to be the way to live out their vocations.

The actions of the women were non violent and a form of protest and as such are not a form of terorism. It is often folks who disagree with others who have used these labels and seems to be something that happens more and more in the US at the moment.

dillydaydream said...

If those nuns care so deeply for the rights of the satanocracies - sorry, theocracies, that they are giving support to, perhaps they should follow their religious leaders' teachings and cover their heads.......

andiclare said...

John,

The difficulty I am having with your reply is "...living out their Catholic vocation as they understand it" and "...obedient to their consciences and to what they discern to be the way to live out their vocations."

These are statements of moral relativism, and as such are not compatible with Catholicism and concepts like good and evil, right and wrong, absolute truth.

If their actions are wrong, then all good people should condemn them.

Volpius Leonius said...

Obedience to your conscience is nothing more than been obedient to yourself, anyone can do that it is no sacrifice.

If your conscience is not properly formed you can do some very bad things indeed following your conscience alone.

gemoftheocean said...

Bunch of hippy nuns. Hey, sisters, the Berrigans and their shennanigans are passe.

Anne said...

I remember reading about the original incident- I thought it a little wacky- but to label them as terrorists is not appropriate.

Where is the terror they caused?

I believe their intent was to make a statement to prevent terror and death.

Volpius Leonius said...

"Where is the terror they caused?"

Put yourself in the shoes of the soldiers who had to react to the alarm of intruders on the base dressed in what sounds like chemical and biological weapon suits, you can be sure part of them felt fear.

You imagine the thoughts that went through those young men and women's minds. "Is this s terrorist attack? Are they suicide bombers? Are they armed? Are they trying to set the nuclear war head off? Do they have chemical or biological weapons?

Are they trying to kill me?

Or do soldiers not count as people to you?

Richard said...

Am I the only one who finds a certain dark humour in this?

"We are nonviolent," she said. ... On Oct. 6, 2002, the two sisters - armed with bolt cutters, a hammer and baby bottles filled with their own blood - broke into an unmanned Minuteman III missile site in northeastern Colorado

Anne said...

The bolt cutters and hammers were used on an inanimate object not to cause pain or terror- it was not an act of "violence."

It qualifies as Trespassing and Illegal Entry.

End of Story.

epsilon said...

Andiclare and Volpius:

The nuns' protest 6th October 2002: "The site the nuns were accused of damaging held [nuclear] weapons that could be launched within 15 minutes of a presidential order...They said their protest was a symbolic disarmament, prompted by an imminent war with Iraq" (quote from commondreams.org)

If you want figures from reliable sources such as the ORB research group and the British Medical Journal, they're on my most recent blog entry.

Benedict XVI on nuclear weapons 1st January 2008:
Pope Benedict XVI said divisions and conflicts "cast dark shadows" on the future of humanity, warning of the danger coming from more countries possessing nuclear weapons.

He urged authorities to step up negotiations for a "progressive and mutually agreed dismantling of existing nuclear weapons."

There's only one country in the world that has ever used nuclear weapons against another country!