SILVER SPRING, MD - March 18 - The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas,
one of the world's largest English-speaking Roman Catholic congregations
of women religious, have publicly denounced President Bush's war
on Iraq. They have issued a corporate statement, the result of
a month-long process of reflection, discussion, and a poll of
published their statement today in Silver Spring MD, and noted
that the statement "...is not intended to express a negative opinion
of efforts to assure the security and defense of this nation,
nor is it intended as a criticism of the military, or those who
serve in it. It is a historic moment of unanimity calling the
international community, and the US as part of that international
community, to use non-violent means to contain and decrease any
potential harm Iraq may pose."
spent a month weighing the pros and cons; deliberating about the
consequences of war-making and non-violent peace-making; reflecting
on their community's rule compelling each sister to "commit themselves
to follow Jesus in his compassion for suffering people." This
process led community members to determine that their call to
reverence the dignity of each person and pursue integrity of word
and deed in their lives could only be lived out in this present
global context by corporately and publicly opposing the USA's
determination to go to war with Iraq.
Over 90 percent
of those responding resolutely state, "It is our firm belief that
war is not the answer to difficulties in our world and particularly
of the Middle East."
urge President Bush, his advisors and members of Congress to cooperate
with and respect the United Nations' processes, and to reflect
on the probable repercussion within the Islamic world of a US-initiated
attack based on fear and suspicion against an Islamic nation.
They also urge the President, Congress and presidential advisors
to listen to the voices of the hundreds of thousands of United
States citizens begging for a halt to this attack on Iraq.
of Mercy of the Americas is an international community of sisters
vowed to serve people who suffer from poverty, sickness and ignorance,
with a special concern for women and children. In innovative and
traditional ways, Sisters of Mercy address human needs through
collaborative efforts in education, health care, housing, and
pastoral and social services. The Institute includes 25 regional
communities with 5024 members and 2371 associates who serve in
North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Guam and the
Philippines. The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas sponsor or co-sponsor
seven major national healthcare systems, 20 colleges and universities,
20 elementary and preschools, 39 secondary schools, and hundreds
of affordable housing developments. They also serve in programs
ranging from hospices for persons with HIV/AIDS, to adult literacy
centers, and resettlement programs for refugees.
Opposing War Against Iraq
We, the Sisters
of Mercy of the Americas, oppose the use of military force against
the people of Iraq. It is our firm belief that war is not the
answer to the difficulties of our world and particularly of the
Middle-East. We believe that such action would be immoral and
unwise. While we acknowledge that the present government of Iraq
may pose a potential threat to its neighbors, we call on the international
community and the United States as part of that community to use
non-violent means to contain and decrease that potential for harm.
As part of this effort we urge President Bush, his advisors and
the members of Congress to:
the United Nations in its effort to investigate the charge that
Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction and to await the outcome
of that investigation, respecting the integrity and skill of the
the probable repercussions on the Islamic world of the United
States' initiating an attack based on fear and suspicion against
an Islamic nation;
the voices of hundreds of thousands of United States citizens
and persons around the world who are begging for a halt to what
they see as a frightening insistence on the necessity of an
attack on Iraq.
to Editors and Producers: In addition please visit the website
for the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, http://www.sistersofmercy.org/justice/issues/peacemaking.html
for peacemaking resources.