Christopher Hitchens has some for the late Pope, which you have surely seen by now. There is a two-fisted debate going on between fellow MilBloggers Baldilocks and Sgt Stryker.

The problem Rome faces is this: it has decided to embrace the Culture of Life without reservation. As Hitchens points out, the Vatican is a government. It has the right of pit and gallows. It has decided not to use them, out of the horror it feels for its own history. The Inquisition has writ terror on their souls. They have cast away the sword entirely, that it may never again be used for evil. That means, also, that it may never strike a blow for good.

The Vatican, in other words, is struck with the same sickness of the soul that afflicts Germany. The pacifism that has arisen in both places is a reaction to the horrors that came before. It is a wound in their hearts. Until it heals, they will not be whole: and as the Church teaches in other matters, in such holes in the soul grows a gnawing and terrible evil.

At the time of the Abu Ghraib scandals, I argued that the proper punishment for rape of prisoners -- whether with organic instruments or flashlights -- was death by firing squad. The criminal is driven out of the unit even by dishonorable discharge, but that is not enough. The unit's honor must not be stained by these evil acts. In order to be sure that it is not, the remainder of the unit must not merely turn its back on the guilty. It must perform its function as a unit of riflemen, and gun the guilty down as enemies.

Enemies they truly are, of all we hold dear. It matters not that they once wore our uniform, and pretended to swear the same oaths.

The military has proven unwilling to exact that kind of vengeance, tied as it is to a legalistic notion of justice that all but prevents these punishments -- punishments at which a Patton would never have blanched.

But the military at least can punish and shame in public. It has not so lost itself in regulation and procedure that it cannot punish at all. The Church can no longer separate itself from its foes within. Where now is the "sundering sword" that Chesteron praised so high?

All those vague theosophical minds for whom the universe is an immense melting-pot are exactly the minds which shrink instinctively from that earthquake saying of our Gospels, which declare that the Son of God came not with peace but with a sundering sword. The saying rings entirely true even considered as what it obviously is; the statement that any man who preaches real love is bound to beget hate. It is as true of democratic fraternity as a divine love; sham love ends in compromise and common philosophy; but real love has always ended in bloodshed.
Gone, gone, from the Church he loved. Where now is the hand that can hold the Jerusalem blade, that Wretcherd spoke of so recently? Where is the sundering sword, that will strike these men from the Church? Where is the hand that will bind millstones to their necks, in front of the wine-dark sea?

Yet all is not lost. The sicknesses of the soul can be healed, and a Church that will not strike its foe is no more damaged than a man who will not strike his weakness: no worse a Church than an addict is a man. It is particular to the Catholic philosophy that God exists, and loves, and forgives; and that all men stand in equal need of these things. Using that faith, many a man has put the bottle behind him. It may be that there is yet a Theoden in the Church, if the right wizard exists to break his spell.

Grim's Hall is open to warriors of all faiths, as is the US Military. This is not a Catholic, nor even a Christian blog. It is a place for warriors. The Catholic Church preaches a warrior faith, but her priests and sons have laid down their sword. As a man -- as a fighting man, which is the only kind of man to be -- I charge them to take it up again.

Whatever differences exist between one warrior and another, they ought always to drive one another to live up to their own codes. You Catholics are meant to be Fishers of Men; you are meant to wield the sundering sword. Where is the courage that ought to flow from faith? Stand up!

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