Archive for August 7th, 2005

Blessing the Bomb

A day late but still relevant: a speech by Fr. George Zabelka, a Catholic chaplain with the U.S. Air Force, who served as a priest for the airmen who dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, and gave them his blessing. He died in 1992 but spoke movingly on the 40th anniversary of the bombings.
In one of those bitter ironies of history the 6th of August is also the day the church celebrates the Transfiguration, another event of cloud and blinding light and fear.
Remembering the first nuclear detonation, J. Robert Oppenheimer quoted the the Bhagavad-Gita: “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Janet Morley, in her book All Desires Known, offers a collect that mirrors the glory and the horror of the day:

Christ, our only true light,
before whose bright cloud
your friends fell to the ground:
we bow before your cross
that we may remember in our bodies
the dead who fell like shadows;
and that we may refuse to be prostrated
before the false brightness of any other light,
looking to your power alone
for hope of resurrection from the dead,
Amen.

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