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Other ways besides force to promote justice, peace Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 -- 1:00 AM

To the editor:

Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, empowers and commands us to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, be compassionate as God is, avoid judging and condemning others (cf. Luke’s gospel, chapter 6). Does this not seem to be the antithesis of making war or responding to warlike actions of others?

Fr. Jim Murphy has written a seriously-considered, morally challenging letter, published in the December 25 issue of the Catholic Herald, summarizing the teaching of the U.S. Catholic bishops and two (of many) popes, opposing war as a means of bringing about justice and peace.

We humans, throughout our short history on this planet, have so often used this short-sighted means to oppose evil and bring about good. Has it ever really “worked”? Even in what traditionally have been deemed “just wars,” a great deal of evil has come about, intended or not. There has never been a “war to end all wars” because such a thing is impossible.

So why do we supposedly intelligent beings keep banging our heads against the walls of war, trying to achieve something good?

There are other ways to oppose evil and promote justice and peace. Dorothy Day, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Franz Jaegerstatter, Sr. Dorothy Stang, and so many others have used a variety of nonviolent means to do just that. I would submit that much more good has come from these means than use of military force.

Dave Robinson, of the national Catholic peace organization, Pax Christi, calling upon the witness of Dorothy Day, suggests that “the greatest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of heart.” What a gift to the human community if Catholics were to rise to Father Murphy’s challenge of having “a major impact on morality in the U.S. if they (we) rejected support and participation in the U.S. military at this time” and seek a new way in this New Year.

Sr. Maureen McDonnell, O.P., Madison