Italian Methodists reaffirmed their "solidarity with the American people" while calling for a peaceful resolution to the war with Iraq. The statement about the Iraq war was adopted during a March 23 special session of the synod of the Waldensian/Methodist Church of Italy, meeting in Torre Pellicle, Italy.
Synod members noted the "vast opposition" to a war and the resulting damage to international relations, but did express solidarity with Americans themselves.
"We have not forgotten Sept. 11, 2001, the day of profound injury that so profoundly touched the Western world," the statement said. "We have not forgotten June 6, 1944, when thousands of young men gave their lives on the beaches of our continent for the liberation of everyone."
Citing Bible passages that support peacemaking, justice and reconciliation, the statement implores Americans "to abandon the road on which you started" and not try to decide unilaterally what is good and bad.
"The dictator in Iraq is certainly one of the bloodiest and most odious of those who chain their people under a yoke of tyranny," the statement said. "But there are others who are equally odious and perhaps more dangerous. Will you continue along this road?
"Fraternally, we appeal to you to listen to the voices for peace in your churches who call for a change of policy, to turn to the consensus of the nations at the point at which you left them, to contribute to the reformulation and renewal of that consensus, so that the multilateral, global base for a just and stable governance might re-emerge."
The synod also acknowledged the failure of others to ensure peace. "In addressing this appeal to you, we are sadly aware of our own inconsistency: all of us in fact have failed to pursue peace, and all of us on this side of the Atlantic as well as the other, have contributed to the planting in the Two-Thirds World seeds of resentment through the old shame of colonialism and the new robbery of exploitation.
"Having this sense of inadequacy, set humbly before God in prayer, we now offer, for our country and our church, a serious responsibility for Iraq: to bring the hostilities to a close, to bring relief to the families who suffer, and to reconstruct a stable society when the armies finally fall silent," the statement concluded.
By Albert H. Lee