Bishop of Pueblo
February 15, 2003
Today, as the United States appears to be closer to launching a preemptive war against Iraq, more and more people in our nation and world are speaking clearly against war and calling for peaceful resolution. Perhaps at no other time have so many voices spoke in unison. Perhaps at no other time have leaders of the world's religions spoken with such firmness against a war that has yet to happen in the hope that the killing can be prevented.
A preemptive war against Iraq is an unjust war. It sets a dangerous precedent and threatens the lives and well-being of people in our nation and world.
I call on President Bush and members of the U.S. Congress to hear what the world is saying and back off from war. War itself is not the answer to conflict. It breeds more violence and hatred and it costs an enormous amount of resources, resources that could otherwise go to help those in most need.
The Iraqi nation is a nation that is half children. They are among those who would be the victims of a war. Already over half a million children have died because of an unjust sanctions regime. It would be a horrible legacy for any nation to have been the aggressor in a war that kills so many more.
Diplomacy and the work of the international community have the better chance at bringing about resolution and peace.
Our nation should, instead, lead the international community in reducing the violence and oppression that most often are the seeds of war. To that end, the U.S. should work together with other nations to strengthen the United Nations and other international institutions that have hope to bring about greater justice in the world.
Now is an urgent time for people to stand up and join Pope John Paul II and others to say "No to war!" Our combined voices and the grace of God may yet stop the war.
I call all to pray to God for peace, both individually and every time they gather with others in prayer and worship.
May God bless our world and all who call it home.