We, members of the National Boards of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), at our annual joint meeting onFebruary 20, 2002, join our sisters and brothers who seek a path of peace and justice at this difficult moment of history.

We grieve for the thousands of innocent lives that have been lost on and since September 11, 2001, through acts of terror and military response.  We believe the conditions that give rise to violence in our world must be addressed.  We also believe no condition justifies use of terror and violence against innocent people.  We do not believe that the use of military action that causes disproportionate destruction of human life can be justified.

As the United States-led response to terrorist attacks continues we are concerned about how these actions impact people in our own country and around the world.  In particular we are concerned that

  • threats to expand action to other regions and countries will lead to a rapid escalation of military action without clear objectives or reasonable expectation of success;
  • human rights and the dignity of persons are threatened when anyone is detained without clear cause, due process, or fair treatment;
  • civil liberties are at risk when policies intended to increase security in our own country are overly restrictive or unevenly applied;
  • the needs of those who are poor and marginalized in our own country are being sacrificed to fund a large increase in military and homeland security expenditures.

In his own time, Jesus, speaking to a people under occupation by a military power, said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  Today, as we live in an era of unprecedented violence, we commit ourselves to seek new paths of peace and justice, to address the many forms of violence in our midst and to forge new bridges of understanding which give birth to hope and human dignity.