Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 21, 2008
Bishops urged to speak more strongly against Iraq war
By DENNIS SADOWSKI
Catholic News Service
The Catholic Worker Movement has called on the U.S. bishops to denounce the American-led war on terror while urging the Church and U.S. citizens to repent for "our affronts to God" fed by violence and materialism.
Meeting in Worcester, July 9-12 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the movement, a national gathering of 500 Catholic Workers issued a broad statement that encouraged the Church and "all people of good will" to embrace prayer, fasting, vigils and nonviolent civil disobedience to end military occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The statement also pressed the Church's leadership "to break its silence and to wield the authority provided by the nonviolent Gospel of Jesus Christ, by calling the entire nation to repent for the war crimes we have committed in the so-called war on terror."
Representing 55 communities, the Catholic Workers said a strong denouncement of the nation's war efforts by the bishops would send a clear message to congressional leaders and the White House.
Catholic Worker Frank Cordaro said the bishops have not been forceful enough in opposing the war.
"What we hope to do is to put some light into some dark times with the Church of the U.S. completely abdicating its responsibility to the nationalistic, militaristic spirit that has captured the soul of this country," said Cordaro.
Cordaro founded the Phil Berrigan Catholic Worker House in Des Moines, Iowa, 32 years ago.
Stephen Colecchi, director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the bishops for several years have urged an end to the war and called for a responsible transition to a stable government in Iraq.
Specifically citing several statements and letters since 2006, Colecchi said the bishops have supported an end to the war as soon as possible.
A November 2007 document explaining the bishops' stance on Iraq described the situation there as "unacceptable and unsustainable."
They continued: "Our nation must now focus more on the ethics of exit than on the ethics of intervention."
The Catholic Worker statement focused on several other concerns including:
- Greater government support for soldiers returning from Iraq.
- The end of the use of torture of foreign detainees.
- Closing the military prison at Guantanamo as well as other secret prisons around the world.
- Redirecting resources from military purposes to meet human needs.