A Message to the Trinity College Community As War Begins in Iraq
TO: Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumnae and Friends of Trinity College
FROM: President Patricia McGuire
Since late last night, the world has seen and heard the sounds of war commencing in Iraq. In this time of grave global concern, threats to domestic security, and the real possibility of significant loss of life for many nations including among our U.S. military personnel, the deeper meaning and responsibilities of our mission at Trinity must become even more pronounced. This is no time for ‘business as usual’ around campus. We have a very serious obligation to teach and to learn as much as possible about this war, its causes, its aims and objectives, and the pathway to restoration of peace.
As a learning institution, built on principles of freedom of thought and speech, we respect the expression of all points of view on these difficult, conflictful issues. What we must insist upon is that every person here have a point of view, engage this dialogue, step up to active participation in the consideration of this war and its ultimate implications for the world, whose future is, in part, a profound responsibility of Trinity’s graduates and those who teach them. In each generation, Trinity College has educated women and men who have gone on to prominent, powerful and profoundly influential positions in government, media and corporate affairs —- and even more so, in teaching children, creating and leading families, and being exemplars for good, for charity, peace and justice. Now, this generation is called upon to follow in their footsteps.
As an institution particularly devoted to the education and advancement of women, I call upon the students and faculty of Trinity to take the time in the weeks ahead to focus in a special way on the impact of this war on women, children and families both here in the United States, as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and throughout the Middle East.
As a Catholic college, we have a profound moral obligation to learn and discuss the teachings of our faith tradition concerning war and peace. I urge each member of the Trinity community to become more conversant with the social justice teachings of the Church, and in particular, I commend for your reflection the encyclical Pacem in Terris, by Pope John XXIII, written 40 years ago almost to this day.
On Ash Wednesday of this year, Cardinal Pio Laghi met with President Bush to deliver the current Pope’s plea for peace. In a homily later that day, Cardinal Laghi summarized the Church’s teachings on peace, and this excerpt seems particularly relevant to reflect upon today: “…for the Catholic Church, peace is built on four pillars: truth, justice, love and freedom. The Church’s solicitude for peace has been a constant one and that is why she never tires in her work for the cause of peace. She believes that peace can always be constructed even in the darkness moments. She believes in the power of the human mind and the courage of the human heart to find peaceful solutions to disagreements… she believes that war is a defeat for humanity; that is, it is a defeat for our intelligence, our creativity and our firm conviction that peace is always possible.”
Let us pray for a swift end to this war; let us pray for our troops, that they may return home soon and safely, remembering in particular our Trinity students, alumnae and family members who are now in active service to our nation. Let us pray for the peoples of the world who are suffering so much because of war and terrorism. And let us pray each day for peace.