By Linda Bordoni
US Bishops have expressed concern following the escalation of violence between their country and Iran and appealed for the pursuit of dialogue and a peaceful resolution to conflict.
In a joint statement signed by the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the chairman of the Conference’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, the bishops urge all parties involved to “embrace peace rather than violence”.
Archbishop José Gomez and Bishop David Malloy noted that U.S. bishops have spoken out regularly to encourage the pursuit of peace in the Middle East.
Once again, they say, in these critical days, all parties involved are called upon to work tirelessly – with diplomacy and dialogue - in the quest to resolve conflict.
Growing acts of violence
“Peace has been all too elusive – in recent memory alone, war has caused hundreds of thousands of lives to be lost, as well as untold suffering and endemic instability. We have particularly witnessed and addressed growing acts of violence in recent weeks, most recently with the attack on the United States Embassy in Iraq, the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani last Friday, and the missile attacks on Iraqi bases yesterday. We have called for necessary diplomacy, courageous dialogue, and tireless efforts toward peace to resolve such global conflicts. We do so now, and we will do so always,” they say.
The statement continues imploring the Lord “to help all parties in this time of growing belligerence to peer through one another’s transgressions and appreciate the legitimate fears that lie behind them.”
Humble pursuit of the common good
“All must discover islands of trust in a sea of distrust, do the hard work of reasoning together, acknowledge the futility of further violence and military action, and humbly pursue the common good together,” the bishops write.
They call for reflection on Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace message for 2020 and for prayers ‘to overcome evil with good and respond to hatred with love.’
Archbishop Gomez and Bishop Malloy conclude saying they join in the hope expressed that “the people of Iran share in the promise of a great future, and that the United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”
“In this spirit, we fervently believe, hope, work for, and indeed anticipate, days of peace ahead. We have just celebrated the birth of our Lord with Christmas. Jesus, as the Prince of Peace, calls us to the renewal of the heavens and earth. Let us bear witness to this truth, beginning with each of us.”