US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Soul-searching on Sept 11

Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

It's hard eight years after the tragedy of 9/11 not to do some reflection on what has happened since. There can be no doubt that the attacks were cowardly and grossly immoral, but I can't help wonder if our response as Americans has been any more moral--or Christian for those of us who are--or if our reactions have actually exacerbated the tensions that led to that violence rather than cooling them. Think Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the death of innocents and the millions of suffering refugees, including the many Christians of Iraq who have left because of sectarian violence and will likely never return.

I wrote in my June 2008 column, reflecting on my initial support for the war in Afghanistan and my tepid opposition ot the war in Iraq, especially given its effect on the Christians of Iraq: "I do not think I will ever again be able to contemplate something called a 'just war.' Perhaps some new Hitlerian monster will rise up and change my mind, but I think Pope John XXIII was right when he argued in his 1963 encyclical Pacem en Terris that, because of the power of modern weaponry, 'it no longer makes sense to maintain that war is a fit instrument with which to repair the violation of justice.'"

More than a year later, I still feel the same. I wish we had responded some other way to the violence against us, something more like "turn the other cheek" than "an eye for an eye." Anyone else?