DAILY CATHOLIC for February 17

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vol, 9
no. 34

The just desserts of peace would be sweet compared to the bitter alternative in the desert!
          Our hard-hitting editorial yesterday calling for America to show restraint and not attack Iraq as Bill Clinton has been making overtures to doing, received even more endorsement not to attack with the announcement today that all the United States Cardinals, the head of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the official Vatican observer to the United Nations, as well as Pope John Paul II strongly urge the United States to wait and explore all avenues of negotiations.

          In an unprecedented move by the Holy See, they announced that Archbishop Renato Martin met personally with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to extend the Holy Father's deep concerns and, as Catholic World News reports "to convey the "profound concern" of Pope John Paul II regarding the possibility of a military strike against Iraq. He asked Annan to visit Baghdad personally in an effort to ward off violence, and relayed the Pope's urgent request to 'swear off' military options." Archbishop Martin, meeting with Annan on Valentines Day at the UN headquarters in New York, strongly urged the head of the United Nations of the Vatican's grave concern over the possibility of war. Last report is that Annan is taking the respected pontiff at his word and plans on personally visiting Baghdad soon.

         On top of this, it was announced by Catholic World News yesterday that all seven active cardinals in the U.S. endorsed a letter personally sent to Clinton beseeching him to be wise and cautious in his announced intent to bomb Baghdad. In an effort to convince this administration that such action of a military threat could not be justified morally. In their letter they wrote in part: "We write ... to urge that instead of using the military option, you reinforce the diplomatic initiatives by widening the participation of other governments, especially Arab states, in the concerted effort to bring about Iraqi compliance on these issues...We are pleased that you and your administration are taking a leading role in attempting to enforce the UN resolutions. From that perspective, however, we view with grave concern the stated position of the US administration indicating a readiness on the part of the United States to use military force to compel compliance by Iraq. In our considered judgment this action by the United States could be exceedingly difficult if not impossible to justify and would seriously jeopardize the possibility of achieving any lasting peace in the region." The letter has the full support of the majority of bishops through the NCCB and countless priests and Catholics who regard life as sacred - whether it's an American life or an Iraqui life.

         We are pleased the bishops are in union with the Pope on this all-important issue of searching all alternatives short of violence. Whether Clinton will comply remains to be seen. His track record does not bode well for Catholics. Consider the Holy Father's stern rebuke to him privately and publicly regarding abortion. Did Clinton listen? Not on your life, but rather intensified his crusade for the culture of death, masqueraded by the plaudit of "saving the woman's life and dignity." Since Bill Clinton lives and reacts by the polls, this next week and a half will tell the story. If he gets resistance for going to war from Iraq in his "town hall meetings" that begins first in Columbus, Ohio on the Buckeye campus of Ohio State, then he might rethink his course. If he gets any kind of inkling that the American people will go along with anything Slick Willy says - because they can't separate his moral venue from the military venue - then we're in deep trouble, folks! Let's hope and pray that the embedded hawks at the Pentagon, where the president is speaking today, will choose wisdom over valor and folly. There is already a grassroots groundswell against American troops being sent to battle by many respected military leaders as well as families of military personnel.

         Do you think the American people will wake up in time to the grave dangers inherent in rushing pell-mell into the desert. There was another who met peril in the desert in World War II. He was the Nazi tank commander General Rommel, better known as the "Desert Fox." Today we have another "Desert Fox" sitting in the White House who has outfoxed so many with his lies and "tanked" when it comes to respecting life. Let's hope and pray America will dessert this desert fox from Arkansas, not in the same manner that he deserted the military during the Vietnam War, but rather by upholding the sacredness of life and emphasizing the importance of peace. After all the garbage we've been fed by this "chef of doublespeak," our plate is full. It's time to remember the words Jesus uttered on the cross "I THIRST!" - the title of today's Lesson/Meditation in the THE HIDDEN WAY and to seek Mercy for both Christian and Moslem, American and Iraqui. To reach out to others through the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and heartfelt prayer. That way we can wash down all the cholesterol junk the fat-cats have been feeding us by sipping of the cool, clear water of common sense and prayer. By reaching out in love to our enemies, we quench Our Lord's thirst and He returns the favor with loving Mercy for all His children. If we can do this, then the just desserts of peace would be sweet in comparison to the bitter alternative in the desert!

Michael Cain, editor

February 17, 1998       volume 9, no. 34
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