Months ago I wrote here about the Syrian Civil War in order to highlight the devastation taking place there: the hundreds of thousands being killed, the millions of people being displaced and, above all, the futility of the war that could not be won by any of the combatants. I also wrote that world leaders would have to seek a negotiated solution to the conflict, if not out of self interest, at least based on our common humanity calling us to stop the bloodshed and suffering of innocent people. It is still possible to sit at the table and hammer things out, if not to everybody’s liking, at least to stop the senseless violence. Declarations of war, unilaterally or communally, will not help. Each side has millions of supporters and followers that could escalate this conflict into a much bigger one that would have tragic effects throughout the world.
As Christians we have a bias in favor of dialog. We have tradition of reflection on war called the “Just War Theory”, we have the social teaching of the church that tells us that if we want peace we have to work for justice. We have the process of discernment that we learn from St. Ignatius of Loyola that we can apply to this situation. Above all, we have recourse to the Prince of Peace in prayer and we have his example and teaching to guide us. The U.S. bishops tell us that while we can work for peace, ultimately, it is a gift from God. May we continue to work and pray for Peace. Amen