Call for true peace process in Afghanistan

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jamesweisgerber_fall2007.gifIn a message published today, Archbishop V. James Weisgerber, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, called for a serious debate on the Canadian presence and mission in Afghanistan. This debate, he said, should focus on the key issues facing the Afghan people.

As spokesperson for the Bishops of Canada, Archbishop Weisgerber said Canadian members of Parliament should remember that, most of all, the people of Afghanistan want peace. "Political and electoral considerations must take second place when it is a question of human lives and a people's future," he said. "We would invite the members of Parliament to put aside any predetermined stances, recognizing that the truth will involve concerted efforts. Diverse points of view need to be welcomed as contributions toward developing a detailed and constructive action plan, with peace as the ultimate goal."

Referring to the Manley Report, Archbishop Weisgerber added that the Canadian government needs to show greater transparency on the Afghanistan conflict. "More complete and reliable information from the government will help Canadian citizens better understand the objective, the questions and the conditions involved in the Afghanistan conflict, and also how to evaluate the engagement there of Canadian armed forces and humanitarian agencies," the CCCB President stated. "This information is essential if all Canadians are to be involved in making decisions that can lead to real and lasting peace in that country."

Although admitting the situation is complex, Archbishop Weisgerber cites Pope Benedict XVI in observing "that war is the worst solution for all sides. It brings no good to anyone, not even to the apparent victors."

The CCCB President indicated the Bishops want the social teaching of the Catholic Church to be heard, and went on to note three points based on this teaching: peace negotiations, carried out in good faith and involving all the parties concerned; a clear distinction between military operations and humanitarian aid; and safeguarding the human dignity of Canadian soldiers.

Archbishop Weisgerber concludes his message by inviting every person of faith to join him in prayer "that the Afghan people find peace and security; that the families of soldiers who gave their lives find consolation; and that our political leaders engage in a serious debate that will help Canadians decide on Canada's role in Afghanistan."

Last Updated on Tuesday, October 20 2009  
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