(Silver Spring, MD) The Leadership Conference of Women Religious recently issued a statement to President George Bush, members of his Cabinet and members of Congress decrying the continuing tragic loss of life in Iraq.

“We mourn the deaths of Iraqi children, women and men, military personnel and civilians of all countries involved in the ongoing conflict, as well as those who lost their lives in the recent attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad,” the statement reads. “We also grieve the devastating impact on a beautiful land and ancient culture.

“As women of faith and Christian principle, we recognize that there are numerous contributing causes to the climate of violence which continues in Iraq. The use of armed force by the United States in a pre-emptive strike has invited violent response and civil unrest. The lack of post-war planning and the massive destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure and social order raise grave questions of moral responsibility. We challenge ourselves and all people of good will to seek conscientious, just and nonviolent solutions to our world’s problems. We further call upon the government of the United States to cooperate with the United Nations to secure peace and a hope-filled future for the people of Iraq.

“From our life of faith and service, we have learned that peace is not achieved through physical force. Peace prevails where peace has been learned, met, experienced, modeled. We invoke God’s call as presented to us in the Book of Deuteronomy: ‘Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live.’ (Deut. 30:19)”

The statement was adopted by more than 900 LCWR members, representing 76,000 Roman Catholic sisters in the United States, during the recent LCWR assembly in Detroit, Michigan.