Bishop of Pueblo
It grieves me that we have come to the onset of U.S. war against the nation of Iraq. I have added my voice and my prayers to those of the Pope John Paul II and multitudes of people in our nation and world that have said the path of war should not have been taken. As the Holy Father says of war, and I say of this war, it is a "defeat for humanity." For me, it is a day of sorrow. It is a time to lift up our prayers to our all powerful God.
I call on all people to pray for all who are in harms way. The violence of war spares none. It spares not those who are injured and die; it spares not those who inflict the violence. Families are torn and the family of humanity is torn.
Let us pray for the many women and men in the military who, with courage and self-sacrifice, are giving of themselves in the service of our nation. May God bring them back to us safely.
Let us pray that God will move leaders in the U.S. and in Iraq to take every opportunity to hold back on violence and to protect life, not to destroy life.
And, let us especially pray for the most vulnerable people, the children, women, and men who live in Iraq who have been the victims of an oppressive regime and twelve years of heavy sanctions. They will again be the victims of the violence of war. The innocents cry out to God and God hears their prayer. May God keep them safe.
I pray for those who have worked tirelessly for peace. Their efforts are not in vain. My hope is that humanity will be blessed and redeemed by the commitment of peacemakers and the emergence of a less violent world, a world growing in solidarity.
We enter a solemn time, a time of sorrow and pain, and a time of fear. Rather than fear, however, let us choose hope, a hope that humanity, in honest reflection, will arise to the challenge to be more faithful to the cause of peace in our world.