Baltimore, Md., Nov 14, 2007 / 08:39 am America/Denver (CNA).
The U.S. Catholic Bishops' Conference on Tuesday released a statement calling for a responsible transition of power in Iraq in preparation for a gradual American withdrawal.
"As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gathers in Baltimore, our thoughts and prayers are with our military personnel in Iraq, their families, and all the suffering people of Iraq," the statement begins.
Bishop Thomas Wenski, of the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida, chairman of the bishops' Committee on International Policy, summarized the statement: "We don't advocate for retreat. Neither do we advocate staying the course. We advocate for responsible transition" that takes into account the humanitarian crisis that the war has precipitated, he said.
The statement itself explained the place of the bishops in the discussion of Iraq policy, saying "we do not have specific competence in political, economic and military strategies and do not assess particular tactics, but we can, as teachers, share a moral tradition to help inform policy choices. Our Catholic teaching on war and peace offers hard questions, not easy answers. Our nation must now focus more on the ethics of exit than on the ethics of intervention."
"The grave moral concerns we and others raised prior to the war now give way to new moral questions," the statement declared.