January 2007 - Volume 11, Issue 6

Editorial – Our Obligation For Peace

By Rev. Mark Connolly

Photo of a cross in front of a golden sky with the sun's rays coming through the cloudsAs we start off the new year, 2007, almost every thinking person wonders what is going to happen in Iraq during this coming year. Right now from the new report we have about Iraq, the talk is about reducing the number of troops and bringing them home. There is no doubt that any thinking person would want every one of our troops out of Iraq as quickly as possible, but we also know what could happen to those people who are left behind. All of us still have the terrible images of what took place when we left Vietnam with the hundreds of anguished people trying to get out of there before more catastrophes were experienced by them.

Each one of us has an obligation concerning peace in the world. We cannot look back on history for one hundred years and fail to recognize something is wrong with the way we think or vote. So many of the leaders of the past had such amoral consciences, like Hitler, Stalin, the leaders in North Korea, the leaders of many countries of the world who seem to play games with the lives of their people. It has been estimated that since the reign of Stalin and Hitler over one hundred million people have lost their lives. It seems in our country every other decade we are finding reasons for starting a new kind of war. In Vietnam we went to war because of the domino theory. In Iraq we were told about weapons of mass destruction that never existed and you certainly hope and pray that the generation that follows us will not have this war oriented mentality for some other part of the world.

It would be so tragic if, in thirty or forty years, models and slogans are brought into the mind and psyche of the American public that justifies another tragic outlay of men and resources that end in the killing and injuring of thousands. When Pope Paul VI came to the United Nations in 1968 he had the slogan, "war never again, war never again". That might sound idealistic, but it is a far greater slogan to follow than those slogans that lead to the destruction of American lives and other lives whom they engage in combat. We cannot sit back and figure the role of peace is some one else's problem. It is your problem. It is my problem. And basically that means as good citizens we have an obligation to take an active interest in politics - to write to our congressmen and senators, to indicate that nothing justifies a war especially a war that might bring the use of nuclear weapons. For us, as Catholics, we have an obligation to do what Christ said, "to render to Caesar the things that are Caesars and to render to God the things that are God's".

I know in the light of all the scandals that have taken place in the field of politics, that it is so easy to write off our political system. To stay uninvolved, to stay uninterested, is going to create greater problems for our country. We have to be vigilant of terrorists crossing our borders, but we have to be equally vigilant that apathy and indifference does not become a way of life for each one of us so we become very indifferent to whether we vote or not or for whom we vote. To vote is a privilege. To vote is a gift. Those privileges and gifts are the envy of the world. Many of the countries throughout the world look toward our country for some form of leadership. We know we are not perfect. We know we have made mistakes, but we also know we have the potential for good. We have fed the hungry, we have taken care of the oppressed, we have served those in need and want for many, many years. That is our role. Our being a super power is not based on how many weapons we have. Our being a super power is based on how we bring the gospel of Christ to our every day lives and every day homes and especially in the field of politics.