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February 27, 1998     The Message
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February 27, 1998

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Washington Letter 4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i' By PAUL R. LEINGANG  :.  Editor A day's journey through Lent It was one of those fascinating items that stuck in my mind, even though I have no idea Where it came from. It may have been in a school text book, or a scouting manual, or maybe even in a magazine or a comic book. What it was, was a way to estimate a measure- ment. And it was very simple. To estimate the height of something, all a person need do is start with some- thing known, and apply it to the unknown. The example I remember is a 10-foot pole. A per- son who knew the height of a lO-foot pole could imagine how many such poles would be required to reach the top of a building, for example. It might easi- ly take two such poles to reach to the very rooftop of a small house. Since a 10'foot pole was not something very com- mon in my experience, I decided to use something more familiar -- my dad. He was about six feet tall. The system did work, and it worked very vell. I would look at the porch roof on our home, for exam- ple, and estimate that the height was more than one dad, but not as many as two dads tall. If I had mea- sured it carefully with traditional tools, I am sure, the height would have been somewhere between eight and 10 feet. A dad-and-a-half was close enough, though, at that time, for me. I was then, of course, not much more than a half-a-dad high myself. I never knew what a cubit was, until I looked it up in the dictionary. The cubit was what God used to tell Noah how long and wide and high to build his ark. A cubit, I discovered, was roughly the length of a person's forearm, about 18 to 20 inches. I can almost imagine an old man using one arm, from elbow to fingertip, elbow to fingertip, elbow to fingertip 300 times along the length of the ark. The ark was to be 30 cubits high -- about 45 to 50 feet tall. Or about eight of my dads. A biblical measure that makes sense to me is "about a day's journey." It is imprecise and certainly, at least at its beginning, it meant different things to different people. Imprecise and variable -- that's d measurement fit for human usage. A week of seven days seems to make sense in terms human and divine, although I am wondering whatever happened to the one day of rest which was once part of every seven. The measurement in the Sacred Scriptures which most intrigues me today is the Jubilee Year -- the fiftieth year, the year that follows seven years times seven. During a jubilee year, our spiritual ancestors were instructed to let the land lie fallow, forgive debts, set the captives free, return everything to its ) rightful owner, and celebrate. Those worth contemplating as we Year 2000. How do you measure a Christian are the comparisons, the models? friends about what is required to family. ,i X- - The gested "Nine Ways to Live Jubilee .... son." Make time for prayer. Practice forgiveness. :  Celebrate the Eucharist. Live a just life. Help the poor. Be a domestic church. Share faith. Join a small Christian community. Know your faith. I add only a suggestion to take the measure your progress, and help same. Lent is a time to begin to take along about a day's joume 3 Comments about this column or the Christian Family Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. Assessing just-war criteria seven years after the last By MARK PATrlSON Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS)- The Unitect States has been making its case to justify military action against Iraq for its refusal to give unfettered access in the country to United Nations weapons inspection teams to look at possi- ble weapons manufacturing and housing sites. This has given rise to concerns that Iraq once again is making weapons of mass destruction, induding chemical weapons. But while the United States makes its case, Catholic observers of the standoff with Iraq are themselves examining whether the arguments made to wage a military campaign against Iraq 4ould meet the criteria for a just war. There are eight criteria used in Catholic moral tradition for a just war: 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711  Wsekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published  exc last week in December by tho Catholic Press ot Evan,le llWr_ ............... ,_./Am Hughm addm  comcra..,,CtCtons to P.O. B 4169. Evar4Vi{, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $18.50 per year Sioole  Price: $.50 E,catM, IN 4T/'0L fh, Ua nuttier 8438. tna: Rn tKI0 rra 3579 I 0Ires ot o0yr   Clho Press o Eara --Just cause: War must be nec- essary to deter or repel unjust aggression. -- Competent authority: The appropriate lawful authorities must authorize the use of force. -- Right intention: Some inten- tions, such as punishing an aggiessor or recovering material possessions, are not considered sufficient justification for the vio- lence of war. Others, such as pro- tection of human rights and defense against real or threatened injury, may justify war. -- Last resort.- Military action is justified only when all peaceful alternatives to deter or reverse aggression have been exhausted. -- Probability of success: There must be a sufficiently clear prospect of success to justify the humarkand other costs of engag- ing in war. Proportionality of goals: The human and other costs of war must be measured against the values at stake and the anticipat- ed outcome. -- Proportionality of means: In the conduct of the war, the mili- tary means used must be com- rnensurate with the evil that one is seeking to overcome. -- Discrimination: The princi- ple of noncombatant immunity must be preserved. Civilian pop- ulations cannot be targeted. In the weeks leading up to the Persian Gulf War, the US. bish- ops stressed that all the criteria, not just some, mu be met at lte same time before war could be ccmsidemd morally justified. But according to Jesuit Father John Langan of the Woodstock Theological Center at George- town University in Washington, making such an insistence "is a gray area." "How do you know when you've come to the last resort?" he asked, adding that "life does- n't allow you to know," usually not until after the fact. In retrospect, the Persian Gulf War seven years ago, in which the United States led a multina- tional force to drive Iraq out of neighboring Kuwait while severely crippling Iraq's infra- structure and military capacity, was "imperfectly just," Father Langan said. There was a just cause in repelling Iraqi aggression, but "I was not in admiration of Ameri- can diplomacy" he said. "We sent very mixed signals about what we were doing at the time." Iraqi President Saddam Hus- sein is "a serial aggressor," Father Langan added. By not removing him seven years ago, "that's what's left us with the present problem," he said. "There is a real lack of clarity about what to do if most of (the just-war criteria) are met but not all," Father Langan said. In the current situation, "you can make a fairly strong case for not acquiescing in (Saddam) hav- ing the'weapons. But the question is if our own periodic bombing is going to take Iraq out of play as far as use of weapons of mass destruction (are concerned), or just entrench them .... There is no decisive conclusion of success." The U.S. Catholic Conference position has been outlined in two letters. A Feb. 5 letter was sent by Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick of Newark, N.J., chairman of the bishops" Inter- national Policy Committee, to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. AFeb. 12 letter to Pres- ident Clinton was signed by all seven active U.S. cardinals and the U.S. bishops' conference president, Bishop Anthony M. PiUa of Cleveland. The cardinals' letter said the U.S. readiness to use force "could be exceedingly difficult if not impossible to justify and would seriously jeopardize the possibil- ity of achieving any lasting peace in the region." Archbishop McCarrick's letter said the U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait "achieved some of its objectives for disarming Iraq" but is "morally intolerable and unacceptable" because of "the death and suffering of the Iraqi people brought about because of sanctions." Gerard E Powers, U.S. Catholic Conference adviser for military and political affairs, recalled how the criterion on last resort "was a major concern in the Gulf war." Concerns on the current standoff include the possibility that a cam- paign against Iraq "could lead to a general Middle Eas.t war," he said. " "The major issue is the proba- bility of success," Powers said, citing the into play." He said siderable that "raises be achieved alluded threat of a may be to let the U.N. tots back Sa'ddam might mind if air "asset" such as i Guard hand, could get where it Iraq regularly to alice. "I think shallow" among bomb Iraq, citing a "less "In does not National Seminary Conference, St. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28. :: Rite of Election, Diocese of Evansville, St. Church, Loogootee, Sunday, March 1, 1 Rite of Election, Diocese of Evansville, St. Church, Newburgh, Sunday March 1, 5 p.m Bishops and Major Superiors of the meeting at the Fatima Retreat House, ..... March 2. Presbyterate Meeting, Catholic 4, 9:30 a.m. to 12".30 p.m. CST. E-mail pilot project meeting, ,: . March 4, 12:30 p.m. CST. Priests Personnel Board Meeting, Wednesday, march 4, 1:30 p.m. CST. Meeting with Confirmation Class, St. Church, Newburgh, Wednesday, m ....