From Mr Paul McGowan SIR – One word which does not appear in the recent statement from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (Report, September 23) is “war”. If the Catholics of this country are to address the heart of our people we must tackle head-on our recourse to military force over the last 15 years.
This month we reached 10 years of war in Afghanistan; no one bothers to count the dead. The Iraq War is recognised to have been a disaster in every respect, and hundreds continue to die every month. The war in Libya is bringing 30,000 more deaths, according to the National Transitional Council.
And what do our leaders learn from these events? The Prime Minister tells the United Nations, and no one contradicts him, that it means that we cannot stand by and watch civilians being massacred. Yet our country has never stood by. Our politicians have been determined to engage fully in all of these bloody adventures and we, the people, have not stopped them.
The bishops take note of one phrase in particular from Pope Benedict which must resonate throughout the Catholic community: “No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual.”We are all given tasks, as Blessed John Henry Newman reminded us, which we alone can carry out. And if we fail to do them they will not be done. It must surely be part of our Catholic vocation in this country to set our nation on the path of peace.
Yours faithfully, PAUL McGOWAN Coventry, West Midlands