Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 17, 2008
Letters seek remorse for war, urge pope to confront Bush
Catholic activists ask pope to tell Bush to end Iraq War while in U.S.
By PATRICIA ZAPOR
"Shouldn't any of us who recognize the horror of what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan be condemned if we are silent?"
- peace letter
"In 2005 alone, 122,000 Iraqi children under age five died. There are many, both within the Church and outside of it who long for your voice to speak for those innocent dead and - face to face with those whose policies denied all respect for their lives - demand that the killing stop."
Kobasa said the letter grew out of conversations among people in the Catholic Worker Movement and spread through informal networks. Its text can be found at www.unobserver.com.
The separate anniversary statement, titled Call to Lament and Repent: Guide Our Feet to the Path of Peace, has spread through email networks, but was started as a Lenten project through Sojourners, an evangelical Christian community.
Its text can be found at: http://go.sojo.net/campaign/iraqstatement.
Signers include well-known evangelicals such as the Revs. Tony and Bart Campolo, father-son ministers and authors, and the Rev. Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, and Catholics including Franciscan Father Richard Rohr and Alexia Kelley, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
"This season of Lent, we are truly living 'in darkness and in the shadow of death' as we mark on March 19, 2008, the fifth anniversary of the war with Iraq," it opens. "It is a war that is being waged by our country, financed by our taxes and fought by our sisters and brothers. As U.S. Christians, we issue a call to the American Church to lament and repent of the sin of this war."
The statement says, "We lament the suffering and violence in Iraq . . . (and) the effects of this war on our country."
"We repent of our failure to fully live the teaching of Jesus to be peacemakers."
Repentance means more than "just being sorry," it continues. "Repentance requires a change of heart and a commitment to a new direction."
It concluded with signers pledging to pray "for the nation to learn lasting lessons from the tragedy of the war in Iraq and commit to greater wisdom in the future," to help heal the nation by seeking reconciliation of divisions and to reach out to veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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