Editorial: Peacemaking In Our Time

Reprinted from The Common Good, No 37, Pentecost 2006

In this time of war and great suffering, Jesus calls us to love without measure, to stand with the victims, to be a voice for the voiceless and to be non-violent peace and justice makers. Our faith in the risen Christ compels us to proclaim with our lives the hope of the Gospel – that love casts out fear and that the God of life has overcome the forces of death. We rejoice in the many signs of hope occurring in our midst.

As the U.S. war on Iraq has intensified, so too has hope-filled non-violent resistance to it. This resistance has included the inspiring witness of Cindy Sheehan and other peacemakers who in August 2005 organised Camp Casey at Mr Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, and which remains today as a permanent reminder to the President every time he drives to his ranch for holidays. She, along with Gold Star Families, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War and a growing number of conscientious objectors and military refusers have had a powerful effect in exposing the lies of the ‘war president.’ In the face of the U.S. government’s plans to militarily dominate earth and space, its first strike nuclear policy, and its systematic attempt to control the world’s resources, many groups continue to resist these plans of global domination.

Here in the US, while much of the Church leadership has been silent since the war in Iraq began, many faith communities have acted in hope, calling for an end to this sinful war. One such community has been the Franciscans of Holy Name Province, representing over 400 priests and brothers in the Eastern US. Their 2 June statement calling for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq stated, ‘President Bush unleashed the very forces of death, destruction and dislocation that Pope John Paul II worked so relentlessly to avoid.’ Another sign of hope has been the prophetic witness of Fr. Bob Cushing, fired from his church for apologising to the people of Japan for the US nuclear bombings. And there is the inspiring witness of Stephen Kobasa, a Catholic high school teacher for 25 years, who was fired from Kolbe Cathedral High School for refusing to display an American flag in his classroom.

Signs of hope abound everywhere in our country and world. Wherever people are oppressed, wherever peoples’ rights are violated, from death row to Guantanamo, wherever war rages and the earth is endangered, people are doing amazing things to stand for life and for justice. We especially honour all prisoners of conscience.

In this time of great injustice and evil, we pray for the courage to be faithful followers of Jesus and to live in hope, believing that with God all things are possible.

—Art Laffin.

Exerpt from The Little Way, Winter 2005, newspaper of the Dorothy Day CW, Washington DC

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