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From Catholics for a Peaceful End to War and Terrorism: Lenten statement - Call for signatures

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  • Scott Mathern-Jacobson
    From Scott Wright and the Catholics for a Peaceful End to War and Terrorism group ... Please send endorsements of statement below to:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2005
      From Scott Wright and the Catholics for a Peaceful End to War and Terrorism group ... Please send endorsements of statement below to: lenten-witness@...

      Please spread the word.


      Thursday, February 3, 2005

      Dear friends,

      The Catholics for a Peaceful End to War and Terrorism network met this morning to finalize the statement and plans for a Lenten Witness in front of the White House - much like we did two years ago.

      Plans now are to circulate this statement through our networks for signatures. If you, or your organization, would like to sign on, please send you name and organizational affiliation to lenten-witness@... as soon as possible.

      Pax Christi USA has offered to circulate this statement with signatures to the press for Ash Wednesday.

      There will also be a public Lenten Witness on Ash Wednesday, from noon to 1 pm, on the street between the White House and Lafayette Park. A liturgy is being prepared for that day, and will include the distribution of ashes and the day's Scripture readings.

      This witness will continue every Friday during Lent, with a focus on the war, as well as another topic of concern.

      Please spread the word, and come! Two years ago we had a very moving and effective witness during Lent, leading up to the beginning of the war. We want to continue that witness of two years ago, and offer a call to conversion during this season of repentance.

      Thanks again for your support,

      Scott Wright
      Religious Task Force on Central America and Mexico


      The biblical inspiration for Lent came from the prophet Jonah, when he declared �Nineveh shall be destroyed�� so the people of that city, beginning with its king proclaimed a fast and put on penitential sackcloth.

      For people of faith in the United States, this same attitude of repentance is particularly appropriate at this moment of history. Our churches have remained essentially silent as our government and U.S.-based transnational corporations have done so much for which we need to ask forgiveness and do penance.

      For us, Lent must go beyond tokenism � sacrificing some little pleasure in the name of doing penance. Rather, this time becomes a Season of Repentance, a total experience wherein we take on ourselves a penitential mode, privately and publicly, throughout these blessed forty days.

      Lent 2005 finds inspiration in other calls to repentance. In 1967 Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. called America to �break the silence� and end the Vietnam War. In 1980 Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador wrote a public letter to then-president Jimmy Carter pleading that no further military assistance be sent to that country. Today we take up the mantle of Dr. King and Archbishop Romero.

      Our government has become engaged in an unjust and protracted war in Iraq, one based on flimsy and suspect motives. Our leaders told us that this would be a brief war, with few casualties and that the United States had no intention of remaining long in Iraq. Two years later we still see no end to the hostilities which our country initiated.

      Our Lenten witness � public and private - calls for the United States to commit itself to a complete withdrawal from Iraq, and to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict under the leadership of the United Nations.

      The United States military has condoned and used torture in the Abu Ghraib prison and similarly violated international law and human rights in Guantanamo, Cuba.

      Our Lenten witness � public and private - calls for an end to torture and disregard for the rule of law, and the imposition of severe sanctions on all those responsible for these crimes.

      Thousands of refugees and migrants continue to cross our borders seeking safety and economic survival in the United States. In the name of national security our government is implementing border policies that endanger the lives of these sisters and brothers.

      Our Lenten witness � public and private - calls on the U.S. Congress and the Bush Administration to replace these measures with those that will ensure the security of migrants. Further, we call on our government to implement more humane refugee policies.

      The divide between the wealthy and the poor grows daily in the United States and globally. For example, trade policies are in place which favor U.S. corporations and create conditions of slave and forced labor around the world.

      Our Lenten witness � public and private - calls on our government to pursue just trade initiatives; to join the international community in protecting the natural environment; and to ensure that essential resources and services � land, water, health care, education � become available to all human beings.

      In this Season of Repentance we commit ourselves to public and private action � prayer, fasting, and witness � on behalf of the tortured, the terrorized, the poor and the suffering across the globe. We raise our voices in public actions and in private prayer to echo the words of popes Paul VI and John Paul II: �NO MORE WAR, WAR NEVER AGAIN!�

      As we enter and experience this season of Lent 2005, a Season of Repentance, we strive to be faithful to the Gospel and to the many prophets who have gone before, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and Oscar Romero. We open our hearts to the suffering people in our world, helping to take them down from the many crosses on which they are dying, crosses in many cases created by the policies of our nation.

      We believe that by these Lenten actions for justice, peace and the integrity of creation, God will �pour out a portion of the Spirit upon all people,� that �the sons and daughters shall prophesy, young women and men shall see visions, old ones will dream dreams,� and a Day of Jubilee will dawn.

      "Love is the measure."

      - Dorothy Day


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