In the World

Life Arises from Hiroshima: Chaplain George Zabelka

By Dan Buttry

At the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we look at the questions of values transformation that saw life, hope, and new questions arise from the ashes.

George Zabelka in uniform

George Zabelka was a Catholic chaplain in the U.S. Army Air Corp during World War II. Toward the end of the war he was stationed on Tinian Island with the 509th Composite Group. That was the Atomic Bomb Group that included the crews of the Enola Gay and Bock’s Car, the B-29s that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was a zealous military chaplain at the time.

Then Chaplain Zabelka visited Nagasaki as part of the occupation forces after the war. He was struck especially by the suffering of the children from the atomic bombing. In a separate story about the 70th anniversary, historians point out that most Americans never saw the extent of the suffering until the 1950s because of strict U.S. censorship of photos, films and reporting on the devastation.

… Zabelka dedicated the rest of his life to spreading the nonviolent teachings of Jesus and working for peace between people. On the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima he undertook a “Pilgrimage of Forgiveness” to meet with victims and ask forgiveness for his and his Church’s silence. He asked forgiveness “for bringing you death instead of the fullness of life, misery instead of mercy.” (Read the text of a talk he gave on the40th anniversary; or read more about his life on Wikipedia.)Find the rest of the article on Read the Spirit

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We are a progressive Baptist Church affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA. We have been in Palo Alto since 1893. We celebrate our Baptist heritage. We affirm the historic Baptist tenets of: Bible Freedom, Soul Freedom, Church Freedom, Religious Freedom

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