Bishops seek meetings with Republicans and Democrats on Iraq War


The U.S. bishops have asked to meet with Republican members of the House of Representatives to discuss a responsible transition to end the war in Iraq.

The letter followed a similar one in response to Rep. Tim Ryan (D—Ohio) and 13 other House Democrats who had sent a letter June 28 asking to meet to discuss the war in Iraq.

The bishops’ request was outlined in a letter from Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Policy, to Rep. John A. Boehner (R—Ohio), House minority leader.

“The Catholic Bishops of the United States are concerned for the dangerous and deteriorating situation in Iraq,” wrote Bishop Wenski in his letter to Boehner. “Too many Iraqi and American lives have been lost. Too many Iraqi communities have been shattered. Too many civilians have been driven from their homes. The human and financial costs of the war are staggering.”

The letter reiterated the bishops’ call for members of Congress and the Administration to break the political stalemate in Washington and to pursue a bipartisan policy to end the war as soon as possible.

“The current situation in Iraq is unacceptable and unsustainable, as is the policy and political stalemate among decision makers in Washington. Our Conference hopes to work with the Congress and the Administration to forge bipartisan policies on ways to bring about a responsible transition and an end to the war,” he stated.

The bishops pointed out that the U.S. decision to pursue military action in Iraq has brought with it “new moral responsibilities toward the Iraqi people.”

The bishops said the U.S. must make provisions for Iraq refugees who fled their native land in search of safety and security for their families.

“In our most recent public statement this year, our Conference reminded policy makers that each course of action in Iraq ought to be evaluated in light of its moral and human consequences and the traditional principle of ‘probability of success,’” Bishop Wenski wrote. “The moral measure of “probability of success” weighs more heavily with each passing month.”

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