Omission is 'typical' - Catholic Courier

Omission is ‘typical’

To the editor:

Your May edition was jam-packed, but I was surprised that you did not find room to note the 25th anniversary of “The Challenge of Peace,” the bishops’ 1983 pastoral letter on war and peace. To me this omission is typical of the Courier’s neglect of this issue.

The pastoral states: “Peacemaking is not an optional commitment; it is a requirement of our faith.” It also asks whether the destructiveness of modern war can fit the just war theory criteria, and it validates that Catholicism has two traditions of peacemaking, the just war theory and pacifism.

The latter tradition is invisible in many parishes. Both traditions need to be known for the sake of good conscience formation about our stance on war and peace. That is why I believe that Bishop Clark should lay out clearly why he believes the Iraq War meets the criteria for a just war.

I am glad that our diocese is providing chaplains to the men and women who serve in the armed forces. They deserve the emotional and spiritual support chaplains can give. But it is also part of our tradition to know that Pope Benedict XV, who worked tirelessly for peace in the midst of the carnage of World War I, forbade military chaplains from wearing their uniforms in the Vatican to emphasize the centrality of peacemaking for Christians. He also composed a peace prayer that was so strong that it was forbidden to be used in public in France. Needless to say, no national leaders sang happy birthday for him!

Dan Finlay

Ithaca

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