Speaking for Peace
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
We are honored and humbled by your invitation to join you in this witness for peace and nonviolence as we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. As citizens of the United States of America and as leaders of women religious congregations ministering in the United States and throughout our world, we note with solemnity and sadness the impact of the dropping of the atomic bomb on these civilian populations by our country. As difficult as it is, we keep the memory of this moment alive, knowing that to forget the past is to repeat history. We express to you our sorrow and deep regret. We commit to a stance of reconciliation and to work to create a peaceful, hope-filled future.
Increasingly in our world, we see many factors that lead to division among people – major social and global changes, the ripple effect of happenings in a world where there is less and less separation of time and distance, disparity in people’s access to basic resources, groups using religion to justify political and personal aggression, and increased use of violence, military force and terrorist activity to settle disputes. We carry great concern about our country’s contribution to these factors and, as an organization and, as member congregations, speak out on issues such as global warming, relief of debt, ‘free trade’ that penalizes poor developing countries, and religious intolerance.
We see our government’s attempt to promote democracy and peace in other countries through political maneuvering and reliance on military force as detrimental to the ultimate goal of promoting peace and freedom for all people. We in LCWR have consistently spoken publicly about our opposition to the use of military force and instruments of war, including nuclear weapons, that cause so much suffering and devastation. We call our government to conscience as we see it increase its military budget and add to the proliferation of nuclear arms.
We share the awareness expressed by the United States Bishops in their 1983 Peace Pastoral:
We are the first generation since Genesis with the power to virtually destroy God’s creation.
We cannot remain silent in the face of such danger.
Peacemaking is not an optional commitment.
It is a requirement of our faith.
Our 2004 Joint Assembly with the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) addressed the theme “No Longer Bystanders – Making Peace in Violent Times”. The two conferences, LCWR and CMSM expressed opposition to the use of violence in any form. We have continued this commitment during this year by prayer and reflection, through conference resolution and through advocacy.
Further, at our 2004 LCWR assembly, we women religious of the United States affirmed our LCWR Call for 2005 – 2009, saying:
In this time of God’s favor, we, the members of LCWR, hear God’s call and we commit ourselves for the next five years to:
- Ground all our actions in contemplation
- Live and lead rooted in right relationship with all of creation
- Practice honest, respectful dialog towards peacemaking and reconciliation
- Risk being agents of change within our congregations, our Church and our society
- Stand with those made poor, particularly women and children
- Collaborate with others to create a future filled with hope
Out of this pledge for peace and reconciliation, we at LCWR commit to live so that “Our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active.” (1 John 3:18) We affirm you in your efforts to witness for peace, and we support any means you choose to promote and work for peace. We seek to collaborate with you in your stance for a peaceful, nonviolent world. Together, let us work to create a future filled with hope.