CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The U.S. bishops will meet with a group of Catholic House Democrats to map plans for a strategy that could force the Bush Administration to end the Iraq War. The church leaders want U.S. forces to leave Iraq "as quickly as possible." They accepted an invitation to meet with the House Democrats that was extended by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Youngstown.
The bishops have long questioned the moral basis for the war, and said today that the nation needs moral courage to change course.
"The current situation in Iraq is unacceptable and unsustainable, as is the policy and political stalemate among decision makers in Washington. Our conference hopes to work with the Congress and the Administration to forge bipartisan policies on ways to bring about a responsible transition and an end to the war.
"Prior to the war when too few members of either party in Congress opposed authorizing the use of force, our Conference of bishops, in solidarity with Pope John Paul II, repeatedly raised grave moral questions about military intervention in Iraq and the unpredictable and uncontrollable negative consequences of an invasion and occupation. Sadly many of the tragic consequences we and others had feared have come to pass."
No date for the meeting has been set. The Rev. Thomas G. Wenski, Bishop of Orlando, Fla., signed the letter accepting Ryan's invitation, which was dated July 17. It was made public this afternoon by church officials. Wenski is chairman of the committee on international policy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.