Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
January 20, 2003
All are responsible for peace
Canadian Defence Minister John McCallum needs to be rebuked by Prime Minister Jean Chretien for altering Canada's policy on a possible U.S. led war against Iraq. McCallum said not only that Canada would be militarily involved if the United Nations Security Council approves an invasion, but might even do so if the security council doesn't support the war.
McCallum's Jan. 9 statement pleased U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when McCallum was visiting, but moved away from far more tempered statements by Chretien and Foreign Minister Bill Graham. It makes one wonder who is determining Canada's policy on Iraq - the U.S. government or Canada's own decision makers?
Neither the U.S. nor any other nation has the moral authority to invade another nation without broad support from the international community. U.S. President George Bush, it seems, would like to believe that the U.S. has such authority. But despite the American history of atrocities, invasions and conspiracy in overthrowing democratically elected governments, the U.S. is acting as though it and a small number of allies have the moral authority to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
None of these comments should be taken as expressing support for NDP leadership candidate Bill Blaikie's comment that "I certainly find it strange . . . that a pro-life politician like George Bush is preoccupied every moment of his life to kill as many Iraqi children as he can . . . ." Blaikie's over the top comment only polarizes people by demonizing a person he disagrees with at a time when Canadians need to seek unity on principles on a serious issue.
But Blaikie's comment, his refusal to retract it and support for it from most of the NDP MPs go a long way to show why the only party that could provide a left-wing alternative to the Liberals has become so estranged from the majority of the Canadian public. They don't seem interested in contributing to mainstream opinion, only lampooning it.
Still one has to question why Bush - elected because of his anti-abortion views - would be an active proponent of capital punishment and U.S. military unilateralism. Being pro-life is not one issue - it means upholding the dignity of human life in the face of a far-reaching culture of death.
We would urge Bush to ponder on Pope Paul VI's comment to the UN in 1965: "No more war, never, never again. It is peace, peace, which must guide the destinies of people and all mankind."
Or he could meditate on Pope Pius XII's words: "Nothing is lost by peace; everything may be lost by war."
After a century of unsurpassed inhumanity, now is the time for a culture of peace. Promoting peace is one obligation of politicians, governments and international organizations. They can do this by avoiding individual wars, but also by enacting the opening words of Blessed John XXIII's encyclical, Pacem in Terris: "Peace on earth, which all men of every era have most eagerly yearned for, can be firmly established only if the order laid down by God be dutifully observed. The social order must reflect a moral order of goodness and respect for the rights of others."
Peace is everyone's obligation. The world's religions have a responsibility to encourage governments to carry out their own responsibilities.
And each individual has a responsibility for peace. Our first responsibility is to pray for peace and to pray "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace." For Catholics, this is the Year of the Rosary and we should strive to make that our special peace prayer as often as possible.
We need to pray for our enemies. Against the seeming unlikelihood of such a prayer being answered, we should pray for Saddam Hussein to be converted from a lifetime of thuggery to a life of virtue.
Finally, we need to realize that in this world we live not in peace, but in what St Augustine called "the shadow of peace." True peace will only be found in our eternal home if we have spent our lives building peace on earth.
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