Letter: War's dilemmas

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Joanna Bourke is right when she criticises Christian clergy for their collusion in sanctifying warfare (Review, 5 June).

Once again, the majority of British Christians have proved themselves indifferent to the outrage of war, as a nation is reduced to rubble and civilians are bombed and maimed in our name.

As a Roman Catholic my sense of disgust is increased by the moral absolutism of many Catholics with regard to abortion, and the moral relativism which prevails in times of war. It is apparently acceptable to kill television journalists and patients in Serbian hospitals, but not to administer the morning-after pill to raped Kosovan women. An all-male, celibate hierarchy is more able to sympathise with the moral dilemmas which men face with regard to militarism than with those which women face with regard to unwanted pregnancy.

Nevertheless, Joanna Bourke fails to acknowledge how difficult it can be for the minority voice of opposition to make itself heard during war. Every night during the bombing of Serbia there have been demonstrations in many of Britain's major cities which have been virtually ignored by the media. It should also be pointed out that, while the Catholic bishops of England and Wales have declared this war just, the Pope has been a lonely voice for peace.

Dr TINA BEATTIE

Bristol

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