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Peace & Life Connections #140
December 14, 2012

140 statue 3 HOLIDAY EDITION

Note: Due to the holidays, Peace & Life Connections will not be published on the next two Fridays, and will start a new year on Fridays in January.  

Quotation of the Season: A Christmas Carol
John M. Grondelski, National Catholic Register, December 17, 2011
2 (Pro-Life) Christmas Classics:
A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life Carry a Message for All Seasons

140 Scrooge        Dickens’ Christmas Carol . . . is a polemical work: Dickens was sparring with the laissez-faire capitalists whose influence in industrializing Britain sought to limit concern for the poor to running poor houses and treadmills. . . His other target was Thomas Malthus. Malthus, the intellectual granddaddy of zero population growth, had argued that population increase would inevitably lead to disaster. . .  Scrooge gives voice to the elite opinion of his day when, dismissing the businessmen who come to his office seeking charitable contributions, he opines that those who would rather die than go to a poorhouse “had better do it and decrease the surplus population.”
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Quotation of the Season: It’s a Wonderful Life
John M. Grondelski, National Catholic Register, December 17, 2011
2 (Pro-Life) Christmas Classics:
A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life Carry a Message for All Seasons
        140 wonderful lifeThe film’s pro-life message is present from the very start. When a heavenly voice summons Clarence, the childlike guardian angel, to save George, the message is clear: “At exactly 10:45pm, earth time, that man will be thinking seriously of throwing away God’s greatest gift.” . . .  Capra shows George Bailey’s foolishness is thinking he could so fathom the true meaning of so great a gift of God’s as his life as to dare pronounce “I suppose it would be better if I was never born at all.”

[Editor’s note: In our first holiday issue, we expounded on applying the movie’s theme to the pro-life and peace movements, showing that “It’s a Wonderful Movement.”]
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Quotation of the Season: The Nonviolent Resister
John Dear (CL Endorser)
“Peace on Earth” Means “No More War,” Christmas, 2005
140 Gandhi        The story goes that when the nonviolent Jesus was born into abject poverty to homeless refugees on the outskirts of a brutal empire, angels appeared in the sky to impoverished shepherds singing, "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth!" That child grew up to become, in Gandhi's words, "the greatest nonviolent resister in the history of the world," and was subsequently executed by the empire for his insistence on justice . . . When Gandhi was asked one Christmas day for his thoughts about Christmas, he spoke about the connection between the wood of the crib—Christ's poverty—and the wood of the cross—Christ's nonviolent resistance to evil. He said Christmas summons us to the same lifelong nonviolence. It has social, economic, and political implications. I think, like Gandhi, that we have to make those connections and pursue those implications.
 140 Dear 2
John Dear, S.J.
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Quotation of the Season: The 1914 Christmas Truce
Rand Paul, U.S. Senator
Values Voter Summit, speech posted September 14, 2012, page 2
        When I read “Silent Night,” the story of Christmas – of the Christmas Eve armistice, I marveled at men who found goodness so profound that it overcame hatred. I was awestruck by soldiers who put down their arms to sing Christmas carols with the enemy and came out of their trenches to play soccer and exchange small gifts. I was amazed at men who were so transformed by the moment that they were left unable to fight and had to be transferred away from the front lines. This is from World War I. I realize, though, that the Christmas armistice was an anomaly and that millions died in World War I and World War II and all the 20th century wars, despite the fact that few, if any, of the soldiers involved knew enough of their foe to want to kill them or befriend them. . . . The coarsening of our culture towards violent death has more consequences than even war. Tragically, this same culture has led to the death of 50 million unborn children in the last 40 years. I don’t think a civilization can long endure that does not have respect for all human life, born and not yet born. (Applause.
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