Religion can change the world for the better
Robert A. Sirico
The Grand Rapids Press
November 28, 2001
Just at the close of the Cold War, the pope wrote “Centesimus Annus,” (a pastoral letter) taking account of the collapse of communism. He says we should not close our eyes to the danger of fanaticism or fundamentalism among those who in the name of a (religious) ideology claim the right to impose on others their own concept of what is true and good. An authentic faith could never endorse the killing of innocents, which is what other Islamic scholars are saying.
There's little war or politics can do to curtail extremism. It is religion, a real moral sense, that can change the human heart for the better.
The just war doctrine says total war without any boundaries is wrong. The U.S. is abiding by these restrictions, even with the bombs that have gone astray. They want the action focused on the guilty parties alone.
We have to find some kind of just settlement to the Palestinian question that regards the integrity of the Palestinians and the security of Israel. It seems to me Bush is doing exactly (that).
Anytime the U.S. props up dictatorships, it kind of creates a greater intensity. I think the shah was better than Khomeini for the iranian people, but I wonder if we didn't increase the intensity of the fundamentalists because of our support for the shah.
We dare not underestimate the power of prayer. We could come together as a community and pray together for peace, for just settlements of these conflicts, especially for the innocents caught in the middle of this.
I saw on TV a 12-year-old boy whose parents were killed by the Taliban, and he had a little tent. In a few weeks it will be very cold there. I don't know what I can do for him. But I know I can pray for him.
Ever since Cain killed Abel, these kinds of things happen. The exceptional moments have been moments of peace and relative tranquillity. Peace is not the absence of conflict. It's a way of relating that is nonviolent.
People have to be helped to understand why this has happened, spiritually — the reality of evil and what the solution to that is, which involves our own examination of conscience and our repentance for how we treat others.
We have suffered from an atmosphere of cynicism in this country for a long time. I think all that's been wiped clear. We can be patriotic again. Prayerful again. Sensitive and wholesome.
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