US Bishops accept invitation to meet with Members of Congress on Iraq War


The U.S. bishops have agreed to meet with a group of Catholic House Democrats to discuss a “responsible transition” to end the war in Iraq.

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

The call was noted in a July 17 letter from Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Florida, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Policy. The letter was in response to a June 28 request for a meeting on Iraq from Rep. Tim Ryan (D/Ohio) and 13 other House Democrats.

“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,” Bishop Wenski wrote in his letter.

“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,” he continued. “Representatives of our Conference welcome the opportunity to meet with you and other policy makers to discuss ways to pursue the goal of a ‘responsible transition’ to bring an end to the war in Iraq.”

The bishop noted that, prior to the war, the U.S. bishops joined with Pope John Paul II in raising grave moral questions about military intervention in Iraq and its unpredictable negative consequences. “Sadly, many of the tragic consequences we and others had feared have come to pass,” he wrote.

He said the goal of the Iraq Study Group for a “responsible transition”, with U.S. troops leaving “sooner rather than later”, is one shared by the U.S. bishops. He added that the U.S. bishops have been calling for a “responsible transition” since January 2006.

The U.S. must also “make provisions for refugees who have fled their native land in search of safety and security for their families,” Bishop Wenski wrote.

Bishop Wenski concluded his letter by pointing the lawmakers to the U.S. bishops’ three most recent public statements on Iraq.

“Our shared moral tradition can guide this effort and inform our dialogue with other leaders as we seek a way to bring about a morally responsible end to the war in Iraq,” he stated.

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