Ken Homan is a Jesuit Brother. When he was a student at Creighton, he was a Cortina Student. This is where he stands with regard to the possibility of the United States’ intervention in Syria.
I have not been following the Syrian conflict as closely as I should. I blame myself because I have recently focused on other issues (such as the 8.29 Fast Food Strike). I (we) can no longer ignore the situation in Syria. It demands our attention. Why? Because just like the prophets in the Old Testament, a cry goes up to heaven. Apathy is the worst of sins, closely followed by inaction.
We can respond with more violence and more bloodshed, but it would not be our own. From ships out to sea and unmanned drones, we would drop explosives on a country already full of explosions. And yes, I mean we, as in you and I would be active material participants in this crime. We cannot excuse it as “our government,” but we are those who fund and participate in this war. By Catholic Social Teaching, just war and the use of force is a very final resort. I believe our acknowledging it as any resort, however, moves it to the foreground of our conscience. It leaves us with a sense of it possibly working. With onslaught of chemical weapons, we might jump immediately to thoughts of the Holocaust. Wasn’t that a just war scenario? I would argue no—evil flourished thereafter and delved deeper into our hearts. We must be creative.
As both Pope Francis and Fr. General Nicolás have noted, violence will beget more violence. This violence is not necessarily the violence of men shooting each other, stabbing each other, burning each other’s lungs with chemical weapons. But this violence includes the horrendous violence of poverty, homelessness, and unjust death. These are the terrible things we will reap if we send shrapnel flying around another country already distraught by fear. We will further entrench a Christ-people into death and despair.
We have only one option—love. Evil leaves us with lackluster ideas and inability to generate new ideas. Hopelessness. But the creative power of love overcomes all evil and darkness. Our only hope here is to act with a creative Christ-love for these Christ-people. We can no longer kill people for their sins. But we must engage the fullest mystery of Christ. WE must die for their sins. Rather than marching in with guns and cannons firing, I ask you to take this question as seriously as possible: What if I and millions of others simply marched into Syria with gifts of food, water, and shelter, accepting the bullets and blades that may kill us? What if I die for someone else’s sins?
For more thoughts on the challenges the Syrian conflict gives us and our response, check out this great piece by Sam Sawyer, SJ. http://thejesuitpost.org/site/2013/09/on-syria-praying-because-we-dont-know-what-to-hope-for/