Dominicans Speaking Out to Avert War

As Master General Returns from Visit to Iraq

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ROME, NOV. 22, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Dominican religious are pushing hard to avoid a military attack on Iraq, a goal underscored by their leader's recent visit to the country.



The visit by the Dominican master general, Father Carlos Azpiroz Costa, sparked a flurry of correspondence within the order.

Sister Marie Therese Hanna, superior of the Dominican nuns in Iraq, addressed the Dominican family of the United States in a letter sent to Sister Mary Jean Traeger, in which she stressed that "we continue to hope that the efforts of people of good will shall succeed in heading off a new war."

Sister Marie also spoke of "feelings of distress and panic as regards the near future (we know what an American attack on us means!)."

Vidimus Dominum's Web page (www.vidimusdominum.org) reported that Dominican spokeswoman Sister Margaret Ormond stressed the initiative of solidarity -- "There is a family in Iraq" -- launched by the Dominican Leadership Conference in the United States a month ago.

The initiative aims to send material help and to raise public awareness about the dire situation of Iraqi civilians.

Sister Margaret Galiardi spoke at a meeting of U.S. congressmen in recent weeks, emphasizing that "a policy of 'pre-emptive attacks' will only result in the world's only superpower losing any chance of assuming a role of true leadership in the world."

Upon returning from his Iraq trip, Father Azpiroz sent a letter to the Pope, thanking him especially for the publication of the apostolic letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae." The letter institutes a year of the rosary, a devotion rooted in the Dominican order.

Father Azpiroz said his visit aimed to "confirm" communities of religious, especially those "in the mission," in "these particularly difficult times."