To the editor:
Many are unaware of or have forgotten Bishop Clark’s position on Iraq. Before the U.S. invasion in March 2003, he believed the war was unjust. As the troops went in, Bishop Clark expressed reservations but predicted a “decisive victory” and ended up supporting the war in a March 27, 2003, Catholic Courier statement: “It is my expectation that our nation will continue to respect and uphold long-held tenets of human rights and the laws governing war. In all our actions in war, we must value the lives and livelihood of Iraqi civilians as we would the lives and livelihood of our own families and citizens. Always, my thoughts and prayers and affection are with the faithful young women and men of our armed forces answering the call of our president. They and their families will inevitably endure great sorrow. Reservations or concerns about this war should not be transferred to military personnel and their families.”
It was ironic that the daily gospels at that time included Matthew 5:43-48, “My command to you is, love your enemies.”
Nineteen months later, Bishop Clark was asking, “Why did we ever get into this mess? How do we get out with integrity and honor? And, how do we struggle with those questions without seeming unpatriotic or not supportive of our troops?” (Catholic Courier Oct. 9/10, 2004). Last December he wrote, “As we look back on the past year and the litany of violence that fills our airwaves and newspapers, let us resolve to pray to God for guidance as a nation and work passionately for a just end to this war.”
It is sad that Bishop Clark did not stick to his earlier conviction. Just/unjust war theory served to distance the Gospel then it too had to be discarded to “support” Catholics who chose to participate in the president’s long planned war. The war has always been illegal, immoral, unjust and evil.
Mary Anne Grady Flores
North Plain Street
EDITOR’S NOTE: In the March 27, 2003, statement quoted above, Bishop Clark himself noted the irony in the timing of the U.S. attack. He wrote: “I am struck by the great irony that presents itself in the timing of this action, which takes place as we prepare for Easter, a season of life and new beginnings. While a decisive victory by our military forces seems certain, I am convinced of the truth of Pope John Paul II’s recent reminder that ‘war is always a defeat for humanity.’”