By Stephen M. Colecchi
The war in
In late 2007, the bishops offered pre-election moral guidance on
They stated: “The war in
This statement marks the most recent of several that the bishops have issued reflecting their consideration of
Pope Benedict XVI, and the bishops, have questioned whether the resort to war could meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching on the use of military force. In particular they questioned the moral legitimacy of “preventive war” to counter gathering threats. As the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church teaches: “[E]ngaging in a preventive war without clear proof that an attack is imminent cannot fail to raise serious moral and juridical questions.” (#501)
We should continue to learn from the decisions that were made prior to the war. However, now that our forces are in
"Perhaps if enough voters ask the right moral questions, a new
The bishops use the term “responsible transition” as a shorthand way to refer to a moral framework regarding the war. This framework is rooted in the Church’s commitment to protect the life and dignity of the human person. The word “responsible” refers to our obligations to minimize loss of life and to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people. The word “transition” reminds us that our nation should withdraw its troops as soon as possible.
Achieving a responsible transition will not be easy. The surge in
For more than two and a half years, the bishops have called for bipartisan cooperation to break the political stalemate in
The bishops are acutely aware of the sacrifices of military personnel. In addition to our responsibilities toward Iraqis, our country has moral obligations to provide for the human, medical, mental health, and social needs of military personnel and their families.
The bishops’ moral framework does not provide a detailed roadmap out of
The bishops’ moral analysis has some practical relevance. The bipartisan Iraq Study Group explicitly promoted “responsible transition.” Some members of Congress have attempted to craft bipartisan approaches.
Perhaps if enough voters ask the right moral questions, a new
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Stephen M. Colecchi is director of the Office of International Justice and Peace, for the