- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2003

The Episcopal bishop of Washington decried the war in Iraq in his sermon yesterday, calling for an end to fighting "in the name of Christ."
"If this Easter says anything … that we need to listen to as a people today, it is that this war, in the name of Christ, must stop," Bishop John B. Chane said to scattered applause in Washington National Cathedral.
"Where is the God of all three Abrahamic religions in all of this? Where have we really been in responding to this horror, this decimation of human life for Jews, Muslims and Christians?"
Other leading clergy also preached about the U.S.-led war in Iraq but were more circumspect in their language, with Washington's top Catholic prelate leading prayers for peace and expressing hope that the United States never again would be "having to start a war in another land."
Episcopal Bishop Chane told the packed cathedral that the United States was still engaged "in a pre-emptive war with Iraq."
Even though he urged worshippers to pray for U.S. soldiers and their families as well as the Iraqis, he said, "Easter reminds us that war is the ultimate definition of human failure."
Among those failures, he preached, is an ongoing three-year war in Congo, where "an estimated 2 million souls have died. Where have we been in responding as a people to this horror? We ask a question: Where is the Christ in all this?"
He added, "From September 20, 2000, to April 6, 2003, 2,945 persons have died in the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict. With 2,201 Palestinians killed and 744 Israelis, these numbers in no way reflect the tremendous number of injuries and destroyed lives that have been sustained on both sides."
But in his homily yesterday at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Northwest, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said, "Pray to the Lord that our beloved country never finds itself again having to start a war in another land."
The cardinal, who leads 550,000 Roman Catholics in the District and in five Maryland counties, beseeched the approximately 1,500 worshippers who filled the cathedral to promulgate Jesus Christ's message of peace and extend kinship to the Iraqi people.
At a sunrise service on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the Rev. Jack Hayford, well-known author and pastor of the nondenominational Church on the Way in Van Nuys, Calif., told about 5,000 people to remember the armed-services members who had died in Iraq.
"It costs sacrifice for there to be liberty," Mr. Hayford said, "and all of us are highly sensitized this Easter morning that we celebrate this great liberty."
In an Easter Sunday message that focused as much on world events as it did on the Resurrection, Pope John Paul II said the Iraqi people should determine their future.
"Peace in Iraq," proclaimed the pope, drawing cheers from some 60,000 people chilled by rain in St. Peter's Square, where he had just finished celebrating Mass on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica.
"With the support of the international community, may the Iraqi people become the protagonists of their collective rebuilding of their country," said John Paul, who had opposed the war vigorously.
Bishop Chane's sermon said the "clear message" of Easter "is that hate, ugliness, intolerance and the violence of human beings will always be overcome by the living Christ's unconditional love, His unending forgiveness and His grace of nonviolence that is the way to overcome violence and hatred and physical oppression."
After he was consecrated in June, Bishop Chane promised that he would "engage the secular and political leadership … at the highest elected and appointed offices."
Yesterday, the bishop said Christians must become involved in the world, because "Christ is not visible anywhere unless we are there to say war is no longer an option as a way of settling international disputes. Christ is not visible anywhere unless we are there to say poverty is a result of exploitation and racism, selfishness, ignorance and apathy."
This article is based on based in part on wire service reports.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide