The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) publicly declares opposition to the ongoing war in Iraq, with its daily escalating death toll, and to proliferation of nuclear weapons. LCWR members, who gathered in assembly in Anaheim, California, August 19 -22, 2005, represent approximately 70,000 women religious in the United States.

War dehumanizes and diminishes all of the human community and devastates Earth. The ongoing war in Iraq is taking an immense toll on human life, not only of young men and women in the military but also the lives of innocent civilians of all ages. This war has caused untold damage to the land and to the infrastructures of Iraq. We also have grave concerns about the alienation and diminishment of the moral and political leadership of the United States in the world community.

We call on our government to develop a responsible plan for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq; to support the development of infrastructures for both human and environmental stability in Iraq; to respect religious and cultural diversity within Iraq; and to redirect needed resources to meet human needs at home and in other parts of the world.

The assembly also notes the observance of the 60th anniversary of the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Together with our brothers and sisters in Japan, we say “Today, more than ever, the world desperately needs a new path toward peace.”  (Statement of the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace)

The LCWR has a long history of opposing the research, development, testing and use of nuclear weapons and of the diversion of funds from human services and needs to the buildup of armaments. 

We are mindful of the 1983 Pastoral Letter of the United States Bishops, “The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response”:

The whole world must summon the moral courage and technical means to say no to nuclear conflict; no to weapons of mass destruction; no to an arms race which robs the poor and the vulnerable; and no to the moral danger of a nuclear age which places before humankind indefensible choices of constant terror or surrender. 

These imperatives are even more compelling in this age in which “increasingly, violence, military force and terrorist activity are used to settle disputes.”  (LCWR Call 2004-2009)