Friday, April 13, 2007

Iraq: Catholic Resources for Discernment

Dear Companions in Jesuit Ministry,

Peace of Christ!

This is a traditional greeting on Jesuit letters, and it takes on special meaning in these days when our nation is struggling over how best to find an elusive peace in war-torn Iraq. We are all painfully aware of the great consequence and complexity of the current policy deliberations. They are not only political and military decisions, but moral and ethical ones as well. Our Catholic faith calls us to participation in the national debate, especially in its moral and ethical aspects. That call is not only to us individually but as community – whether that be family, neighborhood, parish, school, retreat house – and we write to encourage and perhaps facilitate further discussion and participation.

The search for reconciliation in Iraq and here at home over these frequently divisive issues will only bear fruit through thoughtful discernment and informed dialogue. Yet, complicated by politics and self-interested agendas, much of the current public discourse can be contradictory and confusing. Many of us struggle to sift through it all to find good and helpful material. As a contribution to our common effort at good citizenship, we would like to offer a series of collected materials from various sources that we think helpful . We encourage you to consider these materials individually and in community.

Perhaps you would want to ask yourselves these questions:
- Does this material and particularly its assumptions coincide with my own experience?
- What are the moral and ethical norms that underlie the argument? Are they applied appropriately?
- How is this helpful for my own understanding and my own discussion and action, however informal, regarding our national decisions regarding Iraq?

The first set in an ongoing series of materials is now available at

We will provide other materials in the coming weeks. Any suggestions you might have for future materials would be welcome at And we apologize if you have received these materials in multiple ways. We are trying to send it as widely as possible.

As Companions of Christ’s Mission, may we pray for guidance from the Spirit He has sent to be with us always.

James R. Stormes SJ
Secretary, Social and International Ministries

Jesuit Conference

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