Bishops Voice Concern For Peace In The Middle East, Urge People Of Good Will To Serve As Peacemakers

March 14, 2012 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Moved by the ongoingconflicts in the Middle East, the U.S. bishops stand with Pope Benedict XVI andthe bishops of the region as witnesses against violence and appeal for peace“for all peoples and nations in the Middle East,” according to a statementissued by the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops.

Gathered in Washington for theAdministrative Committee meeting March 14, the bishops said the suffering ofpeople in the Middle East was close to their hearts, minds and prayers and thatall people should be concerned.

“While we have special bond with thesuffering Christians throughout the Middle East, our care extends to allpeoples of every faith and every nationality,” said the bishops. “We urge achange of heart and mind on the part of all those who sow division and hatred. Weplead with leaders of nations to show respect for the rights and dignity of allthe citizens of their respective countries. We insist that peace, which isultimately a gift of God, must be made the goal of every nation not onlyinternally but in consort with all the nations and peoples of the region.”

The bishops said Catholics, otherChristians and all people of good will “must reach across the divisions thathave separated them and become peacemakers” and refuse to caught up in hatred,violence and death.

Fulltext of the statement follows in English and Spanish:

 

Concern forPeace in the Middle East:

A Statement of the AdministrativeCommitteeof the United States Conference ofCatholic BishopsMarch 14, 2012

During the meeting of the Administrative Committee of theU.S. Bishops, the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East were never far from ourminds, hearts and prayers.The daily reports of conflicts,turmoil, bloodshed and violence can leave no one indifferent and unconcerned. WithPope Benedict we share a special bond with our brother bishops, especially ofthe churches of the East who continue to guide their precious faithful and care forthem in the most difficult of circumstances. We are one with them in theirwitness of opposition to violence from any quarter and in their appeals forpeace for all peoples and nations in the Middle East.

While we have a special bond with the suffering Christiansthroughout the Middle East, our care extends to all peoples of every faith andevery nationality. We urge a change of heart and mind on the part of all thosewho sow division and hatred. We plead with leaders of nations to show respectfor the rights and dignity of all the citizens of their respective countries. Weinsist that peace, which is ultimately a gift of God, must be made the goal ofevery nation not only internally but in consort with all the nations andpeoples of the region.

When innocent women and children are slaughtered, whenjournalists are killed pursuing their profession, when the defenseless are cutdown on their way to work or even in their homes, then those responsible mustbe brought to reasonable justice. Violence so often leads to more violence. Waris always a loss for humanity whether it be civil and internal or nation tonation.

In a time of political uncertainty, economic suffering andsocial and cultural crisis, men and women of good will must reach across thedivisions that have separated them and become peacemakers refusing to be caughtup in the whirlwind of hatred and death that violence sustains. As bishops ofthe Catholic Church, we urge our brothers and sisters in the Christian Churchesas well as all our brothers and sisters and the religious leaders of all faithsto renew their commitment to work together, to pray and to use all their goodoffices to offer an alternative to division, conflict and violence. May theirwords and their example be heeded by one and all including nations outside theMiddle East whose own words and actions must serve reconciliation and notdivision, mutual respect and not hatred, justice and not violence. In this way conflictsmight be resolved by peaceful means and peace based on justice, freedom andsecurity might be the new heritage of all the peoples and nations of the MiddleEast. 

 

Preocupación por la Paz en el OrienteMedio

Declaracióndel Comité Administrativo de la
Conferenciade Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos

14 demarzo, 2012  

Durante la reunión del Comité Administrativo de la Conferencia de ObisposCatólicos de los Estados Unidos, no dejaron nunca de estar presentes ennuestras mentes, corazones y oraciones los continuados conflictos en el OrienteMedio. Los reportes diarios sobre conflictos, caos, violencia y derramamientosde sangre no pueden dejar a nadie indiferente y despreocupado. Junto al PapaBenedicto compartimos un vínculo especial con nuestros hermanos obispos,especialmente los de las iglesias del Este, quienes continúan guiando ycuidando a sus queridos fieles en las circunstancias más difíciles. Estamos unidosa ellos en su oposición a la violencia, de dondequiera que esta venga, y en sussúplicas por la paz para todas las gentes y naciones del Oriente Medio.

Aunque estamos unidos de forma especial a los cristianos que sufren portodo el Oriente Medio, nuestra preocupación se extiende a todos los pueblos decualquier credo y nacionalidad. Urgimos a todos aquellos que siembran ladivisión y el odio a que ocurra un cambio en sus corazones y sus mentes. Rogamosjunto a los líderes de las naciones, a que se respeten los derechos y ladignidad de todos los ciudadanos de sus respectivos países. Insistimos en que lapaz, que es a fin de cuentas un regalo de Dios, debe ser a lo que todas lasnaciones aspiren, no solo internamente, sino también entre todos los países y gentesde la región.

Cuando mujeres y niños inocentes son asesinados; cuando los periodistasmueren tratando de realizar su labor; cuando los indefensos son aplastados encamino a sus trabajos o sus hogares, los responsables deben ser llevados antela justicia. La violencia muchas veces lleva a más violencia, y la guerra, seaesta civil e interna, o de nación contra nación, es siempre un daño a lahumanidad.

En tiempos de incertidumbre política, sufrimiento económico, y crisissocial y cultural, los hombres y las mujeres de buena voluntad deben ir más alláde las divisiones que los han separado, y se deben convertir en conciliadores yagentes de paz, negándose a ser atrapados por el torbellino del odio y lamuerte que sustentan la violencia. Como Obispos de la Iglesia Católica, urgimosa nuestros hermanos y hermanas de las iglesias cristianas, así como a nuestroshermanos y hermanas líderes de los diferentes credos, a renovar sus compromisosde trabajar unidos, orar y utilizar sus cargos para ofrecer una alternativa ala división, al conflicto y a la violencia. Que sus palabras y sus ejemplos lleguena todos, incluyendo aquellas naciones que no se encuentran en el Oriente Medio,para que estas palabras promuevan la reconciliación, y no la división; elrespeto mutuo y no el odio; la justicia y no la violencia. De esta forma losconflictos se podrán resolver de forma pacífica, y la paz, que está basada enla justicia, la libertad y la seguridad, será la nueva herencia de todas lasgentes y naciones del Oriente Medio.

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Keywords: conflict, violence, Middle East, Syria,Afghanistan, Catholic Church, bishops, Pope Benedict XVI, U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops, USCCB, peace, Christians, good will, hatred, suffering, cycleof violence, justice

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