[Silver Spring, MD]  We, the members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, are compelled to work toward a world where reverence for all living beings finds expression in an approach to life free from violence. We stand in solidarity with the victims of violence everywhere, with a majority of the American people, and with the leaders of our Catholic Church as we heed the Gospel call to peace, reconciliation, and universal love.

Like so many, we are horrified at the violence we witness in our world and appalled by the continued carnage in Syria. We wholeheartedly condemn the use of chemical weapons along with the indiscriminate killing of civilians, and other violations of international humanitarian law.  In the face of so much pain and suffering; confronted by so much evil and immorality; we know that we must act.

However, we reject the false choice currently being offered by our political leaders in Washington, DC.  We need not choose between military action and doing nothing.  Like Pope Francis we know that, “Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.” Only aggressive diplomacy and deliberate dialogue can end the violence and bring about peace in Syria.

We urge the US Congress and the President, working with the international community at the United Nations to provide the leadership necessary to:  

  • De-escalate the violence by stopping the flow of arms to all sides and seeking a ceasefire.
  • Provide humanitarian assistance to the millions of Syrians forced to flee their homes by the continuing violence.
  • Pursue a just political settlement with all of the stakeholders including members of civil society.
  • Bring to justice those responsible for these egregious violations of international law and crimes against humanity.

We will act to stop the killing and end the violence. We join with Pope Francis in appealing for an end to violence everywhere and calling on all people of good will to observe a day of prayer and fasting for peace on September 7. Let us pray for the grace to respond to violence, conflict, and war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation, and love.

Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM
Associate Director for Communications
Leadership Conference of Women Religious