Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Tablet, the newspaper of the diocese of Brooklyn, notes in an editorial that War Is Not Unavoidable.

More and more commentators are asking whether in terms from the sport of boxing Catholic moral theologians have not “thrown in the towel” when it comes to the Middle East. Have the terrorists cornered us into silence? Have they distorted the meaning of “martyrdom” to justify suicide bombing and let their fanaticism be translated into moral zeal?

The recent Hezbollah-Israel conflict came down to suicide bombing vs. lobbing devastating bombs and rockets from out of reach into populated areas without regard for civilians let alone schools, hospitals and social service institutions. Roads and bridges were destroyed as military “infrastructure.”

The other side disguises combatants as civilians, attack with women and children making a moral defense impossible.

We see the effect of all this in the increasing brutalizing of soldiers, assuming tactics in violation of the rules of warfare and the war goes on with casualties counted in the thousands. The war in Lebanon slips into the war in Iraq. Where is the moral outcry?

The “seconds” in a boxing ring throw in the towel when the outcome is futile and only violence remains. Should some moral voice do the same in Iraq?

No, rather, we need to pursue a peace that is brokered by the United Nations, if it can get beyond its own paralyzing inertia, and help rebuild these ancient civilizations that have been further chipped away.

This past week, in Assisi, Italy, Muslims knelt on prayer rugs in the town hall, Shintoists performed rituals in the garden of a Franciscan convent, and Buddhists meditated in a room full of Renaissance frescoes.

Christians filled the town’s cathedral to pray until the tolling of the church bells called members of all faiths to an evening procession for peace through the streets of the medieval city.

This annual interreligious gathering to pray for peace told the world, in its official appeal, that “War is not unavoidable. Religions never justify hatred and violence. Those using the name of God to destroy others move away from true religion.”

The editorial in available on-line here.