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Ray McGovern to Joe Biden: Time for Confession

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Had the Iraq war not killed, injured, displaced hundreds of thousands, the lame circumlocutions of the former vice president regarding his own culpability would be laughable.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during the Iraqi government's Day of Commitment ceremony, Baghdad, Dec. 1, 2011. The ceremony commemorated the sacrifices and accomplishments of U.S. and Iraqi service members.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during the Iraqi government's Day of Commitment ceremony, Baghdad, Dec. 1, 2011. The ceremony commemorated the sacrifices and accomplishments of U.S. and Iraqi service members.
(Image by (U.S. Air Force/Cecilio Ricardo))
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I don't have to remind you of the importance of the coming debate from a political perspective. But as you prepare, I invite you to spare a few minutes to look at the opportunity from a moral and religious perspective.

You may wish to examine your conscience regarding how you have acted on key foreign policy issues and reflect on John 8:32: "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

The holy days of religious traditions serve a very useful purpose, if we but take the time to pause and ponder. I write you on Rosh Hashanah, the first of 10 days focusing on repentance.

In Judaism's oral tradition Rosh Hashanah is the day when people are held to account. The wicked are "blotted out of the book of the living," while the righteous are inscribed in the book of life.

Those in the middle are given 10 days to repent, until the holiday of Yom Kippur, the solemn Day of Atonement.

If that has a familiar ring to it, Joe, we heard it in as many words at Mass last Sunday in the first reading, from Ezekiel 18: "If one turns from wickedness and does what is right and just, that one will live."

Same Tradition

At Rosh Hashanah the ram's horn trumpet blows to waken us from our slumber and alert us to the coming judgment. Rabbi Michael Lerner has been a ram's horn for me. On Sept. 28, he sent a note addressing forgiveness and repentance.

He encourages us to find a private place to say aloud how we've hurt others, and then to go to them and ask forgiveness.

"Do not mitigate or 'explain' just acknowledge and sincerely ask for forgiveness," says Rabbi Lerner. He suggests we ask for "guidance and strength to rectify those hurts and to develop the sensitivity to not continue acting in a hurtful way."

Again, a familiar ring. Think, Joe, about the instruction we both received as Irish "cradle Catholics." Surely you will remember the emphasis on examining one's conscience, confessing, and pledging to "sin no more."

The phrase comes back, clear as a bell; we were to "confess our sins, do penance, and amend our life, Amen." Remember?

And remember how clean we felt at the end of that therapeutic process? I was reminded of that by the gospel reading from John 1, in which Jesus says of Nathaniel: "Here is a true child of Israel; there is no duplicity in him."

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 
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shad williams

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(Member since Apr 13, 2011), 25 fans, 68 articles, 19 quicklinks, 3602 comments, 2 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
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He is a serial sneak...harmless? Nyet. Liar? Yes indeedy.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 16, 2020 at 7:49:42 PM

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Maxwell

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Obviously written some time ago, but still timely.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 16, 2020 at 8:18:17 PM

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