NCR Today

Won't automated drones just cause more war?

 | 

Eugene Robinson, a Pulitzer-prize winning columnist for The Washington Post, got me pondering this morning. His column was on the morality of targeting (and killing) perceived enemies using drones, those “robots of the air” that are remotely controlled. They are currently used by the United States in at least six countries: Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.

This is not warfare, Robinson contends; it is assassination. I agree: Assassination by remote control.

Clearly, we use drones because it is a way of striking a perceived enemy without endangering American lives. Those of a pacifist persuasion will naturally be opposed to using drones. But even if someone believes it is morally permissible to go to war, this method raises a lot of serious questions and Robinson raises several:


  • Given public outrage at the use of drones in Pakistan (because they’ve killed so many innocent people), won’t this method earn us new enemies?

  • Doesn’t this robot system increase the chance of deadly mistakes?

Editing Henri Nouwen

 | 

Robert Ellsberg, editor-in-chief of Orbis Books, writes a moving essay about his professional and personal relationship with Henri Nouwen:

Henri Nouwen worked with many editors in his life. As it turned out, I was the last. I would not have foreseen this, 10 years before, when I first brought him the news that I had been offered a job at Orbis Books.

"Well," he said, "if someone were to ask me if you would be good for this job, I would say: 'Intellectually, nobody better; a perfect fit.' But, I don't know whether you have the human gifts for that kind of work -- being able to work with people, you know."

Vatican's point man for religious life: 'We've started to listen again'

 | 

From time to time, Vatican officials are accused of living in a bubble, detached from the complex and sometimes harsh realities facing ordinary people. However accurate that may be in individual cases, it’s certainly not the story of Brazilian Archbishop João Bráz de Aviz, 64, appointed in January as the new prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Consider these details from his biography:


  • Bráz grew up in a poor family in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná, with four brothers and three sisters – the youngest sister, today 47, has Down’s syndrome. His father was a butcher.

  • His surroundings were so rural that when a child was born, the family had to travel by horse-drawn carriage for 25 miles to have the baby baptized. A priest visited their area once a month, so popular lay leaders were in charge of catechism, worship, and devotional life.

Drones: The new arms race

 | 

Welcome to the 21st century version of the arms race -- drones. According to a story in today's Washington Post, development of drone technology has become all the rage in other countries given the "success" the U.S. has shown in their use in reconnaissance and in attacking targets.

As the story notes, the unmanned crafts are small, inexpensive compared to conventional weapons, deadly, and achieve their goals without the concomitant mess of soldiers coming home in body bags. Recent experience has also shown that few in the United States have been upset by the deaths of unknown civilians in rural Pakistan.

On this day: St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria

 | 

On this day we remember St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria.

"Anthony Mary was born in Cremona, Italy in early December of 1502 to the noble family of Zaccaria. His family had given the city over the years, no less than eighteen governors. His father, Lazzaro, died young when Anthony was still an infant.

"His mother, Antonietta Pescaroli, a widow at 18 years of age, might have accepted any of the numerous suitors for marriage. With her great attractiveness, her gifted mind and vast wealth, there was every promise of a brilliant future ahead. However, she refused every offer so that she could devote her­self entirely to works of charity and the education of her son.

Morning Briefing

 | 

Happy Independence Day

 | 

A wonderful quote I'd never seen before, shared by my friend and fellow Catholic freelance writer Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda:

"Whereas nationalism involves recognizing and pursing the good of one's own nation alone, without regard for the rights of others, patriotism, on the other hand, is a love for one's native land that accords rights to all other nations equal to those claimed for one's own. Patriotism, in other words, leads to a properly ordered social love." --Pope John Paul II in Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium (Rizzoli, 2005)

Great food for thought on our country's Independence Day.

Ireland braces for new report on sex abuse

 | 

"A long-awaited report into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Diocese of Cloyne is due to be made public within weeks," begins a report today in The Irish Times.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said today the report "is expected to be brought before Cabinet on Tuesday, July 12th and published shortly afterwards" according to the paper. The story says the report on the Cloyne diocese will focus on allegations of child sexual abuse against 19 priests who served there between 1996 and 2009.

Read the entire story here.

Pages

Subscribe to NCR Today

300x80-lighthope-web-ad.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

December 2-15, 2016

NCR_12-2.jpg