Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Critical Mass

Yesterday my Provincial wrote me and all the Jesuits in our Detroit Province. Fr. Scullin was in Jerusalem on 12 July when the Hezbollah and Israel intensified their attacks on one another with the ongoing, tragic consequence of innocent civilian deaths. On 14 July, his final day in Jerusalem, Fr. Scullin prayed at Christ's tomb.

"I am writing to ask you to join with our church leaders in calling for an immediate cease-fire in Israel and Lebanon. Both parties to the violence seem to demonstrate an indifference to the children, women and men who are innocent victims in this horrific conflict."

Since the U.S. invaded Iraq, many citizens have equated calls for an end to violence with disrespect for the U.S. and its leadership. That is a false premise. In fact people of faith cannot help but call for an end to violence. They also call all people of good will to unite with them in a clear call both to end violence and to preserve and protect innocent children, women and men.

"All of us have our baptismal commitment to a ministry of reconciliation," Fr. Scullin wrote. His sentence made my heart skip a beat. Baptism includes every Christian. Baptism shapes each Christian into a prophet as well as a royal and priestly member of God's people. Anointed with chrism, the sacred oil named after Christ, baptizing ministers say, "As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet and King, so may you always live...."

Yes, the cultural and political and religious terrain in the Near East is difficult, even treacherous. However, wholesale slaughter of innocents by anyone is the utmost treachery. Violence and war have no part with God. That may be the most difficult tenet of faith to accept. Difficult does not mean impossible. To put it another way, we have been baptized for the impossible not only the difficult.

[This link from the Christian Science Monitor is entitled, "Refugees Overwhelm Lebanon," little covered by many media.]

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