One of my novice brothers, a friar of the province of Central Canada, is a native of Syria. How his heart must be breaking every day over the awful events.
His brothers in Boston answered the pope's call for prayer and fasting today. We recited the Office for the Dead this afternoon. We also went to various Masses and prayer services for the people of Syria living through this nightmare. I joined a service of solemn vespers held at the Paulist Center in downtown Boston. We sang an arrangement of the Magnificat, the sublime prayer of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, that we often sang in the novitiate. I remembered the tenor harmony and let it float on top of the choir's stately and gentle performance.
I pray this nation will listen to what the Church says and do only good things that will stop the violence, start peace, and let justice reign. I pray this nation acts generously to aid the wounded, the sick, and the refugees. I pray especially for the Congress, which must now consider what the president has asked of it, to authorize unspeakable force. Thirty percent of the members of Congress are Catholic. Do they know the just war doctrine of the Church? Do they know the doctrine of pacifism that preceded the development of the just war theory?
Do any of those Catholics really believe that adding more destructive force to the typhoon of destructive powers swirling mercilessly over the people is going to destroy the violence?
National self-interests aside, have these lawmakers considered that to confess Jesus as Lord and to be a Christian precludes forever the use of unjust means to achieve just ends? Have they considered that the means of war may be one of those means which in our age can no longer be even remotely considered just?
Have they considered, as the ancient apologist Tertullian did, that when Jesus Christ told Peter to sheathe his sword in the garden of Gethsemane, he effectively sheathed the sword of all who would be warriors, now and through the end of time?
May God show us, each one of us, the wisdom to speak the words of Christ and do his works of mercy and justice.