Peace delegation to visit Downing Street

 A delegation of Catholic peace campaigners will go to Downing Street tomorrow from 5 to 6pm to pray and present a petition appealing for peace for Iraq and the Middle East. Support for the Pax Christi Declaration on the Morality and Legality of War against Iraq has grown since the first 5,000 were presented to Downing Street in August. A further 4,000 signatures will be presented to Mr Tony Blair on 22 November. Among the Church leaders who have added their support are Bishops Terence Brain and Christopher Budd, the Most Rev Bruce Cameron, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Rev Dr Kenneth Greet, former President of the Methodist Conference. Members of the Delegation presenting the Declarations include Rev Giovanni Scudiero, Dean of Studies at the Missionary Institute, London and Vice-President of Pax Christi, Rosa Shea, Chairperson of the National Justice and Peace Network and Sr Maureen Lynch, Comboni Missionary Sisters and Pat Gaffney, General Secretary, Pax Christi. In their accompanying letter to Mr Blair they say: " The ordinary people of Iraq have suffered enough - they should not have to bear the burden of military violence carried out in the name of alleged compliance with UN resolutions, regime change or any political or strategic interest which the UK and the USA are trying to secure. On many occasions in recent history, Pope John Paul II has reminded us that war is a failure of humanity; it diminishes all those who are involved. The Gospel also reminds us that the way to transform an 'enemy' is through love and actions that create reconciliation, trust, and the social justice that ensures that all peoples have their needs met. We also offer, to you and your family, a copy of the Prayer for Peace in Iraq and the Middle East. This is being used every Friday by Christians around the country in private prayer or in services and vigils in parish communities. We invite you to share this with your family. We urge you to take the risk of peace. Thousands of people around the world are looking to the United Kingdom to bring its wisdom and discernment to the political arena at this time to prevent further suffering and bloodshed in Iraq" At the same time, Pax Christi will hold a prayer vigil at Downing Street. This is in solidarity with the call for regular Friday prayer which has come from Pax Christi, CAFOD and the National Justice and Peace Network.

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