Catholic Bishops to Congress: Vote No on Bombing

usccb-emblem-w300USCCB asks Catholics to urge Congress vote against military intervention in Syria

Thomas Reese  |  Sep. 3, 2013 NCR Today

The United States Conference of Catholics Bishops has asked Catholics to urge Congress “to vote against a resolution authorizing the use of military force in Syria. Instead, ask them to support U.S. leadership, in collaboration with the international community, for an immediate ceasefire in Syria and serious, inclusive negotiations for peace.”

In an “Action Alert,” the conference asks Catholics to tell their representatives and senators:

As Congress debates a resolution authorizing military force in Syria, I urge the Senator/Representative instead to support U.S. leadership for peace.

Both the Holy See and Conference of Bishops have condemned the chemical attack, but remain convinced that only dialogue can save lives and bring about peace in Syria.

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In a recent letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace,  wrote: “‘[T]he path of dialogue and negotiation between all components of Syrian society, with the support of the international community, is the only option to put an end to the conflict….’  We ask the United States to work with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial and neutral humanitarian assistance, and encourage building an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.”

The bishops note that:

During the week of September 9, Congress is expected to take up a resolution authorizing the use of military force in Syria in response to heinous chemical weapons attacks on innocent civilians.

Providentially, Pope Francis has declared September 7 a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the World.  In solidarity with our Holy Father, USCCB will engage in prayer, fasting and advocacy for peace in Syria.



USCCB Policy Letters on Syria:

Pope Francis’ Declaration of a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Syria

Position of the Holy See on Syria:

[Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese is a senior analyst for NCR. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @ThomasReeseSJ.]

PDA to Rothfus: Vote No on Bombing


September 4, 2013

The Honorable Keith Rothfus

250 Insurance Street, Suite 203

Beaver, PA 15009

Dear Representative Keith Rothfus,

The use of chemical weapons on August 21 near Damascus is a grave breach of international law that has rightfully outraged the world community.

The United States and some of its European allies are calling for military strikes on Syria, but apparently without support from NATO or the Arab League.  At Syria’s invitation, a U.N. investigation is already underway and will soon make its report.

A punitive military response without a U.N. Security Council mandate or broad support from NATO and the Arab League would be illegal under international law and unlikely to alter the course of the war. It will only harden existing positions and postpone a sorely needed political process to put an end to the catastrophic violence.

Instead, all should seek to leverage the consensus among the entire international community, including Russia and Iran, condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria and bringing under U.N. oversight the country’s stockpile of such weapons.

It is imperative to determine the facts of the attack and present them to the public. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must bear personal responsibility. The chemical attack should be a catalyst for redoubling efforts to convene a peace conference, to end hostilities, and urgently to find a political solution.

The Syria Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) President Obama sent to Congress doesn’t prohibit the use of U.S. ground troops. It isn’t limited in duration. It isn’t even geographically limited to Syria.  If this AUMF passes, it is likely to remain. The Syria AUMF isn’t a mandate for limited strikes. It’s a blank check for war.

Therefore we oppose any Congressional military authorization and favor instead a forceful diplomacy based on path to a cease-fire and power-sharing arrangements under international supervision.

In peace,

Tina B. Shannon
PA 12th Congressional District Chapter