Thursday, April 25, 2013

Year of Grace and The War in Iraq

Among the eye catching bold headlines in  News and Events for the Archdiocese of Brisbane is an item promoting the presence of General Peter Cosgrove at the Brisbane West Deanery Year of Grace Event.

Regular visitors to this blog will be aware that I am less than impressed with Peter Cosgrove's promotion as a public role model for Catholicism.

What makes this appearance of the much decorated and lauded war hero so disgraceful is that he is sharing the platform with the popular Bishop Bill Morris the Bishop Eremitis  of Towwoomba. There is a wealth of hermeneutic to be unpacked in the profiles of the speakers which place Morris last in the listing.Perhaps  the order is designed to provide gender balance for Margaret Vider, the lone female member of the panel.Mark Coleridge, the Archbishop of Brisbane has described the Year of Grace as a time to "contemplate the face of Christ". I ask the Archbishop, where is the face of Christ in having General Peter Cosgrove leading the panel of speakers for this event?

In March 2003 Bishop William Morris, was  chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, which released a statement condemning the War in Iraq


[W]e believe that the strict conditions of Christian teaching for the use of military force against Iraq have not been met. In particular, we question the moral legitimacy of a pre-emptive strike. Indeed, any action against Iraq without broad international support and the mandate of the United Nations Security Council would be questionable.

War on Iraq contends that the military intervention fails to meet the just war criteria.
For the first time in the history of the western democracies, the United States, Britain and Australia have prepared for a war without the blessing and moral authority of their churches. This is a completely unprecedented situation 


In a 2010  interview with the ABC News Peter Cosgrove stated "I wasn't particularly conscious that the church was taking a very strong position". It's hard to believe that the then Defense Chief was not aware of public opposition to the War from the Vatican and the Australian Catholic Bishops.

The presence of Peter Cosgrove as a public face of Catholicism is disgraceful in the Year of Grace. His acknowledgement of mistakes made in Iraq barely makes him a model penitent. The Australian Catholic Bishops have lost another opportunity to stand with the Church's tradition of nonviolence and peacemaking.


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