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US Bishops urge 'resolve and restraint'

Saying military action is always regrettable but sometimes necessary, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday urged America to use "resolve and restraint" in its airstrikes on Afghanistan.

The appeal was made in a statement released in Rome by the conference president, Bishop Joseph Fiorenza of Texas. It came as bishops from around the world were meeting in Rome for a monthlong synod, or meeting, with Pope John Paul II.

"We renew our call that our military response must be guided by the traditional moral limits on the use of force," the statement said. "Military action is always regrettable, but it may be necessary to protect the innocent or to defend the common good."

"We support efforts to make clear that this response is directed at those who use terror as well as those who assist them, not at the Afghan people or Islam," Fiorenza said in his statement. "Measures to ensure the safety of innocent civilians are both necessary and important."

The US bishops' conference also said it strongly supports humanitarian initiatives to offer relief to the Afghan people.

Statement on Military Action