Newsletter from Africa – January 2016

 Dear Friends of Africa,                                                                                            January, 2016

Our students have a penchant and an ability to go with it, to draft little memoranda and they leave them on my desk for my edification. When I find them particularly good I’ll read them during the meditation time at morning mass. A recent one goes like this. “The miracles of Jesus were unique. In biology he was born without a biological father. In chemistry he changed water into the sweetest of wines. In physics he walked on water. In medicine he cured without medications and in economics he fed 5000 people on just five loaves and two fish.” The author of this little prayer parodied the major science subjects we stress in the advanced level secondary school. i.e. junior college.

Yesterday I went to the Lushoto market to do a bit of shopping for my meager grocery needs at home. I was looking for some honey and brown bread. I was directed to a tiny shop and there found the desired items. The young sales girl was a tall attractive woman with an equally attractive manner. She provided me with my desired items and mentioned numerous things to boost the sales. To be honest it was not just the natural beauty of this lady that was attracting but it was the human nicety she had to point out other things that might fit my needs. Did she want to talk or was she that good of a sales person I don’t know but it was rather delightful being in her company and I was in no great a hurry to leave. As we all know there are people just like that nice to be with. At the close of our transaction I noticed reddish white scars on her hands. When I expressed concern about the scars she told me they were from being scalded with boiling water. There are also cases in my parish with similar signs and I gently asked. ”Was it from “falling down?” This is the expression for the condition of epilepsy.  And she replied with a side long look and lifted the  long garment generally worn here by women and revealed scared  tissue from her foot to above the knee like ropes of darkened contorted skin and knowing that I knew what it was all about she said ‘yes I fell down’. There are many cases of epilepsy here and most suffer scars of burns mostly from seizures in the African open fire kitchens. A young member of our church choir was missing for a couple of Sundays. Then during my visit to the village bringing Holy Communion I met the missing singer Christina. She came into the home where I was already engaged with some elderly people wanting the sacraments. She was limping with a homemade crutch.  Again a falling down case and her leg was charred black from foot to knee. I could tell from the looks and the odor that here there had been little or no treatment. My mind flashed back some 25 years ago when I had been doctoring for large wounds on my back due to melanoma surgery. The gifted surgeon Dr. Marshall of Elmira New York told me that the best treatment was water therapy just stand in the shower and let the tap water flow over the sores . It worked beautifully and we have introduced the procedure here in our villages especially for the frequent burn cases among epilepsy sufferers. It is now two weeks since our recent burnt leg started on the water cure, twice a day tepid water dripped from a tea kettle and in days new fresh skin seems to come alive. Christina, by name, now walks without a crutch and can even wear a slipper on her damaged foot. Long suffering is a unique African virtue. Even common place conversational expressions tie God to everyday life. Take a simple farewell like ‘See you soon”, would merit the reply, ‘If God wills it’. And meeting someone enduring a painful bereavement the expression, ‘With God there are no mistakes its’ all in His plan’, people will find it comforting. The following story I may have already written about but in the present context it can bear repeating.  It is about an elderly man named Alois who also has epilepsy. He had fallen into the kitchen fire and was left with a badly burned foot. He was totally neglected at the local public hospital so we brought him home for our own water therapy. After three months time he could limp around with a cane and an over sized soft leather shoe. Some years later as I returned from home leave l was informed that my friend Alois had fallen into the fire again. However the good news was that it was the bad foot again not the good foot that suffered the fire. The bad news however was that both hands were burned, the left one badly the right one less so. I had been gone for about three months so there was a big backlog of work to catch up on. I would daily promise myself that I would go to see my ailing friend. His patience shamed my procrastination and then he appeared in my doorway one mid morning. A bale of rags were bound around the damaged foot. His left hand was a charcoal black vestige of a human hand. His right hand was spotted with seeping sores. My first impulse was to rush him to the village dispensary. But he deterred me and said he wanted to go to confession first and to receive Holy Communion. He then made the painful climb up the stairway to the convent chapel and composed himself to receive the Sacraments.  It must have been weeks since he had a decent wash and was in a sorry state altogether. One of our Sisters belonging to his tribe later snapped off all the charred fingers like five burnt twigs leaving a paw like palm at the end of his fore arm. But in spite of his wretched physical state his devotion was impeccable. I wondered at the magnitude of the faith that found space to reside in the wreckage of that human body. The odor of festering and decay was so overpowering I was forced to open the chapel windows. He sat in the pew in a reverie of grace assured, his eyes closed and his shattered arms in his lap. As he opened his eyes he said softly. “I’m so very sorry to have troubled you so much but I really haven’t told about my real problem.”  As he said this he fumbled to open his shirt front with his few remaining fingers. This I did for him and he then pulled out a grimy plastic rosary. He held up the broken plastic cross of the rosary and said, ”Now this is my real problem and can you please help me with a new rosary?”

As sad as the funeral was there was a time of mirth when the body was to be laid to rest. It was not just an ordinary dug grave but an actual vault with bricked up walls and a laid floor. It is only the second time in my life when I have seen such an arrangement.  With all due ceremony, the coffin was taken from the home and carried to the burial place with hymns and lamentations. But when it came time to place the coffin into the vault it was discovered that the discrepancy between the width of the vault and the width of the coffin was about six inches. There were some heated recriminations between the pallbearers and the masons who built the vault and at one point it became rather unseemly considering the mother and the wife of the deceased and the other mourners standing helplessly by. Many of these then departed in a reverent silence, while the arguments continued over the coffin on how to rectify the impasse.I recently attended a funeral in Moshi some four hours drive from our home here in Lushoto. The people from the Moshi area are quite affluent compared with our people here in the Usambara Mountains. When I enquired from one of the local clergy who was also going to the funeral whether we would wear Roman collars, he replied,  ”Oh heavens never, they’ll take us all for Lutheran pastors.” And truly they were there in force all impeccably done up in smart black suits and Roman collars.

Later that afternoon one of our parents from the Moshi area came to greet me and lamented the row at the burial ceremony. She also related to me the recent burial of her own grandfather also of the Chagga tribe of the Moshi people. The grandfather was a rather wealthy man with a fine herd of cattle. On his deathbed he insisted that the relatives pick out the finest of all his cows and at his death that cow should be slaughtered and prepared for the funeral feast. To this they are readily agreed. But then he stipulated that his body should then be wrapped up in that same skin and that would be his burial shroud. He was delighted with this idea wrapped up in one of his own cows and being an unforgettable part of the feast on the day of the burial. As the days past, his departure became imminent and the cow was selected, one to his satisfaction. However with the old man now gone the offspring began debating the propriety of wrapping grandfather up in the cow skin. The real issue being, what would the neighbors say. So they got the fancy coffin and all of the frills and flowers that go with it. On the day of the burial as they were carrying the coffin to the family plot and lowered grandfather into the grave the heavens opened with a cloudburst orchestrated with thunder and lightning that dispersed everybody and the coffin left alone in the newly dug grave. On their return to the site the coffin was gently floating above ground in the grave full of water. The brother of the grandfather reproached the family for disregarding the expressed wishes of the deceased and told them all to go and find rocks which he piled on top of the coffin and to the horror of the family members he poked a hole in the side of the coffin with pickax and down it went with copious gurgling and bubbling. His final word to the family was that this is what they deserved for disregarding the expressed wishes of the deceased. The grand old man had never worn a suit or a tie in his life and instead of being wrapped up in the watertight skin of one of his beloved animals which sustained him and his clan for generations, his final resting was in a soggy black suit and tie which he had never worn in his lifetime. But for sure that funeral was never forgotten in that community and they now listen very carefully to their elders.

Last week was truly one of mourning for many in our diocesan communities. Our own Sisters lost one of their Community very unexpectedly. The last foreign missionary of the Rossminian Congregation, and a not so old one at that, lost their Father Tony Mitchel an ever cheerful Irishman who was only found because he did not show up for Mass in the morning and there he was asleep in the Lord in his favorite chair in the mission sitting room.

Our new President of Tanzania, Mr. John Mugufuli is making a lot of waves very early in his administration. On his first day in office he walked down from the State House to the Ministry of Finance and found just six higher officials at their desks. There was a lot of scurrying around after that visit. The following day he visited the Main City Hospital and found dozens of patients lying on the floors, many of them having been there for weeks without medical attention of any kind. The top hospital officials were banished on the spot. Today the heads of the Internal Revenue got the ax for allowing tax evaders to get off scot free with hundreds of cargo containers getting into the country without any Duty being paid. The saga carries on with daily revelations in the news. The most recent is the cancelation of the usual gala Garden Party for the official opening of Parliament costing millions of shillings being replaced with a tea and cookie party in the afternoon and the money saved being diverted to buy 300 beds and bedding to go with them for the Dar es Salaam city hospital. For the men and woman Tanzanian in the streets these are dramatic changes. The cartoon artists for the daily papers are having a heyday.  One delightful one was the depiction of a computer screen with a note stuck to it declaring. ”Your Honor President  Mr. Magufuli, I’ve just made a quick dash to the toilet, but I’ll be right back, I promise”. His latest as of today is the cancelation for all public celebrations for the National holiday for Independence on Dec.9th and for the local communities to spend the day in cleaning up their town and city streets. Foreign travel and junkets for Government officials are also out. The curtailment of the opulent lifestyle of the government officials is certainly justified when we consider the abject living conditions of so many Tanzanians, scratching away on tiny plots to eke out the basics for survival. All of these presidential efforts sound good to these people who live in the countryside in dire poverty for generations not knowing literally where the next meal is coming from. No doubt Mr. John Magufuli will incur the ire of the former elite and that will make his life difficult. But that is the lot of Prophets and Reformers and let us hope he is a man up to his job, better styled, his “Mission”.

And very close to home here at Mazinde Juu we lost one of our top teachers, Joseph Macha at the age of 42, succumbing to liver cancer after four months of great pain and discomfort. His devotion to his vocation as a teacher left all of us in awe and admiration. Time after time I would see him trudging up to school with his corrected home works under his arm. He was preparing the fourth year students for their big national exam last month. I’d tell him  ”Joseph, take it easy we have lots of help for the students and you don’t need to be doing all of this.” To which he always replied, ”These are my students from their first year and I am going to see them through to the last and I’ll finish the syllabus with them even if it kills me” And it did, but he died on the job doing it. God love him. Joseph’s wife Catherine kept us in touch with his progress till the last day and in fact the last hour. In his last message to Sister Evetha the Headmistress of our school here at Mazinde Juu, he asked Sister to forgive him for not having collected all the Mathematics books from the students before he left. To me his message was to forgive him if he had not really done his best in giving them what he should have as a teacher. His life example was a lifetime lesson for each and every one of us I can tell you. My gratitude to all of you who are so generous and selfless in reaching across the continents to make sure that our children have the classrooms to go into and the dedicated teachers like Joseph to inspire them. The Peace and Joy of Christmas be with you.

cozy house

Fr. Damian

Newsletter from Africa – April 2016

Dear Friends of Africa,                                                                                                  April 2016

The events I would like to relate now came from an encounter I had 55 years ago and the descriptions of events related to me at that time took place some 55 years previous to that. In other words, what I’m now describing are the observations of a young man who saw firsthand the havoc and the destruction of missions and villages during the Maji Maji rebellion of 1905 in Tanganyika. Very briefly the Maji Maji rebellion was the uprising of the people of Tanganyika against the German Colonial rule which extended from 1895 to 1916 when German occupation in East Africa came to an end with the defeat of the German forces by combined British forces from Europe, India and South Africa. The causes of the uprising were the usual complaints of any subjected people; forced labor, taxes and in general, unwelcome foreigners ruling over them.

The MajiMaji, came from the Swahili word “maji” meaning water. The medicine men who were key figures in recruiting fighters for the cause would sprinkle the fighters with “maji” water, which they were told would turn German bullets into harmless water.  Needless to say it did not work as prescribed by the medicine men and hundreds died in the conflict. The Maji Maji were strong in Central Tanganyika and spread south to Lake Nyasa and then East to the coast along the Mozambique border. It was the arrival of the Maji Maji at the mission of Nyangao where my story begins. Nyangao was a mission just 5 miles from where I was stationed at Namupa, my first appointment in Africa. That was in 1960.

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon and the boys at the seminary where I was stationed were busily occupied with sports and games during their Sunday free day. An elderly man came to my office where I was dutifully correcting English and Latin homework. This man was accompanied by an elderly woman seemingly of about the same age as her husband which I was later informed was in the mid-seventies. They were not at all enfeebled but quite vigorous, having walked the five miles from Nyangao to Namupa in little over an hour.

After the usual formalities of greeting the gentleman as I truly recall him from the impression he made on me at the time, made me a proposal. He needed money to buy a piece of property and needed 100 shillings to meet the price that was being asked. At that time 1 US dollar was worth 7 East African shillings.  He said that he had no collateral but would leave his wife with me until he returned the loan which he promised to do within ten days. I told him that I trusted him and after giving him the 100 shillings I said farewell and told him his wife would be better off with him than with us at the Mission. On the 10th calendar day he appeared again and with the wife as well. He thanked me profusely for the loan and brought a big bunch of bananas as a token of thanks and the 100 shillings wrapped into a dried banana leaf. I offered them tea and cashew nuts and we talked at length about local affairs, the coming of Independence in December of that year 1961, the rains and the nuisance of wildlife in our area, namely elephants who found the village cornfields handier for good lunches than foraging for hours in the forest for grass and tree bark. And the lions, leopards as well as hyenas thought the mission cows, goats, sheep as well as chickens were better for nighttime snacks than chasing wild pigs and fleet footed bush bucks through the woods.

I asked about his background and here came a story one of the most compelling I have ever heard and I believe this is the first time I have ever put this story on paper. He was born and raised a Muslem and was given the name Ramadhani. At the age of twelve he was given the job at the Nyangao mission as a cook’s helper, keeping the wood fire stoked and the pots and kettles scoured and gleaming.

It was the time of the Maji Maji and missions were vulnerable being the centers unfairly associated with the German government authority, but the most visible manifestation of foreign rule, big buildings, schools, hospitals all quite un-African in spite of being primarily for the benefit of the Africans. Even baptized Christians were targeted by the Maji Maji perhaps being seen as collaborators with the foreign rule.

Anyway to get on with the story, my friend Ramadhani told of the terror and fear of the approaching Maji Maji fighters. The Priests, Brothers and Sisters made preparations to flee to the nearest military outpost in Lindi some 65 miles away. The small mission band had weapons and as events unraveled according to Ramadhani they knew how to use them. As he was later to relate in his story that Sister Walburga was a crackshot and the best in the party. He himself was risking his life by fleeing with the missionaries but he was true and loyal throughout and never left his devotion to his benefactors in those hard and desperate times. He could have easily stayed at home in safety and let the Maji Maji ransack and burn the mission but he never left his Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in their desperation. I watched Ramadhani closely as he narrated his story of the flight to Lindi as he relived the harrowing events of that fateful night some fifty-five years ago. They left the mission in flames but were now bent on making it to safety in Lindi. However, the Maji Maji were also determined to obliterate the white faces that represented the colonial oppression and quickly began tracking the small band of fugitives. The details were not many but my narrator, Ramadhani, had the gift of the real story teller. The Maji Maji were hot on the trail of the fleeing missionaries about 4 or 5 in all. After a few hours of a mad dash through dense forest in the dead of night they felt that they had put a safe distance between themselves and the pursuing Maji Maji. They felt a bit relieved having escaped with their lives the destruction and the plundering of their mission and paused for a brief halt to regain their breath. Unwisely they made a small fire to boil some tea, a signal the Maji Maji picked up straight away. The missionaries were huddled in a small depression with a false sense of protection but totally exposed on all sides by the determined Maji Maji. The fighters had wiped out the mission but were determined also to finish the foreigners, the perpetrators of the foreign rule regardless of the peaceful services the mission gave, particularly the hospital and the schools that the missionaries ran. The little fire and the smell of smoke alerted the Maji Maji fighters and they began a bitter assault with spears and arrows on the missionaries. The arrows and spears were not very effective especially in the dark but the ferocious gun fire from the missionaries put the Maji maji on a more cautious footing. Any moving shadow on the rim of the enclosure called for gunfire and the initial results of the missionary weaponry made the Maji Maji very wary. During a lull in the battle Ramadhani bought the hot tea for the missionaries to drink. As Sister Walburga laid aside her rifle aside and turned to take her cup she was fatally struck with a spear in her side still reaching for that hot cup of tea.  Now I don’t know if there is an official account of this incident but these are the recollections of a man who claims to have been there. Those who survived the attack eventually reached Lindi mission and relative safety. Sister Walburga is now highly revered to this day and processions in her honor go to her grave every year on the anniversary of her death.

I never looked deeper into the history of the Maji Maji uprising and took as bare fact the unsolicited account Ramadhani gave me. It would be interesting if there is an official account of the destruction and flight from the Nyangao mission. If I find an approved authorized version of the death of Sister Walburga I will share it with you. For now, we have Ramadhani’s account of the recollections of a little 12 year old boy which I feel are quite authentic. At that time of this narration there were still many survivors who could have corroborated his story if I felt he was he was fabricating but the circumstances were such that I had no reason to doubt the veracity of this man’s reminiscing.   And for the processions to the grave of Sister Walburga on the anniversary of her death we may just as well be honoring a hero trying to save her fellows as others want to honor her as a martyr dying for the faith. That for me is all for the dear Lord to sort out.

But in our Benedictine congregation of St. Ottilien, death has certainly stalked our predecessors. In the late 18 hundreds and early 19 hundreds scores of missionaries, Priests Brothers and Sisters died before completing a brief one or two years of mission service, succumbing to malaria or some other tropical disease which were rampant and fatal at that time. A walk through the mission cemeteries is a revelation. Scores of mission personnel dying before even getting into their third year of service many never completing a single calendar year.  For our Congregation the death knell continued during the First and Second World Wars when all able bodied men were called up for military service from our German monasteries and 143 Priests and Brothers lost their lives. Daily as we call to mind our deceased for-runners in our congregation who have passed on, the KIA {Killed in Action} after the names of all those young men, is a grim reminder on not just being unknowing of the day or the hour of death but the how and why that they gave their lives is just as imponderable.

When the Communists took over in North Korea many of our mission personnel were captured and imprisoned. Thirty four missionaries died due to starvation or brought to their deaths by brutal beatings or frozen to death. St. Ottilien has published a book illustrating their heroic lives. It is mentioned there that many of those who were killed were specifically made to suffer for their Christian faith. Our very first mission in Tanganyika opened at Pugu near Dar es Salaam in 1889 and was overrun during the Bushiri revolt against the colonial government. It was burned to the ground and a brother and two sisters lost their lives and others were captured and held for ransom.

In the early days of the congregation many of the young confreres were inspired by the ideal of martyrdom for the Kingdom of God. But of course our goal was never to come out to die for the Lord but to live for Him and build up the Kingdom by fighting the big enemies that our first President Julius Nyerere so constantly identified as Poverty, Ignorance, and Disease. With our focus on Education we hope to provide the people with the knowledge to identify and find the means and have the will to eliminate the Poverty and Disease themselves.

Last month our Form VI students sat for their final National Examinations. The results of these exams will determine who will go on for further study at University level. As part of our preparations for the exams every Sunday night prior to the examinations we had a vigil for the Holy Spirit to enlighten their minds for the task ahead. It is a moving experience with just the Pascal Candle in the Chapel lit and letting the singing and the silence fill our hearts and souls. I never miss being there with the students and lend an encouraging word from time to time as well with a little ferverino to keep our sprirts high. I give them credit for their seriousness and devotion. Nobody walks out during the Holy hour which invariably goes on for two hours. And it is all voluntary. Now the exams are over and the students have gone home. Those who have been with us for the full six years of Secondary school have become like our children and leave a mark on the school as well as on us and leave a void as well. We are with these children day and night and hour after hour so in all likelihood we will have been with them longer than their own parents. However, the first year students fill the place with their youth and exuberance and help us to get over the loss of the ones who have gone on with their lives and we hope for bigger things. Our prayer for them is also that they will also be better beings.

Our new Library functions as a key center for them now and they put it to day and night use in honing their study skills. It completes the triangle of classroom and chapel in enabling the students to gain the moral and the mental habits that will fit them for their lives in the big outside world. That is what I like to think is happening.

Our sincere thanks to all of you who have enabled us to make a difference here in Africa in the lives of these children with the sincere hope that they too will also go on to continue to make a difference in the world in which they live.

Examination timeMazinde Juu Carpentry


Father Damian

사드의 한반도 배치 결정에 대한 한국 천주교회 입장

“내 평화를 너희에게 준다. 내가 주는 평화는 세상이 주는 평화와 같지 않다”(요한 14,27).

한국 천주교회는 고고도미사일 방어체계(사드)의 한반도 배치 결정이 초래할 상황을 주시하고, “평화는 결코 ‘무기라는 힘’의 균형으로 이루어질 수 없으며, 상호 신뢰에 의해 확립된다.” (「지상의 평화」, 110.113항 참조)고 하신 요한 23세 성인의 가르침을 기억하며 아래와 같이 교회의 입장을 표명한다.

1. 동북아시아의 평화와 세계 평화에 대한 우려

2016년 ‘세계 평화의 날 담화’를 통해 프란치스코 교황님은 현재의 지구촌 상황이 이른바‘산발적 제3차 세계대전’이라고 불릴 만한 양상을 보이고 있다고 규정하신 바 있다. 인종, 민족, 국가, 종교 간 갈등이 점차 심화되는 현실에서 강대국의 충돌 지점에 위치한 한반도의 평화 유지가 갖는 의미는 그 어느 때보다 중요하다고 말할 수 있다. 이러한 상황에서 수도권 방어에 대한 현실적 실효성조차 확보하지 못한 사드 배치는 한반도가 새로운 냉전체제의 중심이 된다는 점에서 우려를 금할 수 없다. 교회는 “평화는 단순히 전쟁의 부재만이 아니며, 오로지 적대 세력의 균형 유지로 전락될 수도 없다.”(사목헌장 78항)고 천명한다. 군사력의 증강을 통해 한반도의 위기가 진정되고, 평화가 오리라는 기대는 버려야 한다. 평화는 인간에 대한 올바른 이해를 바탕으로 하며, 정의와 사랑에 기초한 질서의 확립을 통해 이룩된다.
여러 차례 주장한 바와 같이, 핵개발은 북한 스스로 포기해야 한다. 이로 인한 강대국 간의 긴장 고조가 민족의 공동선과 동북아시아의 평화에 어떠한 도움도 주지 못하기 때문이다. 또한 동시에 북한의 핵을 저지하기 위한 사드 배치도 결코 정당화될 수 없다.
역사를 통해 우리는, 군비경쟁이 인류에게 심각한 위험을 초래하고, 가난한 사람에게 극심한 경제적 고통을 안겨 준다는 것을 잘 알고 있다. 동시에 지성과 감성의 교류와 공감이 분단의 장벽을 허무는 현장도 경험하였다. 한반도의 핵문제를 둘러싼 긴장과 위기는 군사력의 우위를 과시하는 압박으로 해결될 수는 없다.

2. 민족 화해 분위기의 냉각에 대한 우려

지정학적 특성과 강대국들 간의 이념적 대립으로 분단된 한반도는 분단 71년의 역사 속에서 위기를 평화로 이끌어가기 위한 수많은 노력을 기울여 왔다. ‘7·4 남북공동성명’(1972), ‘남북기본합의서’(1992), ‘6·15 남북공동선언’(2000), ‘10·4 남북공동선언’ (2007) 등은 남북 관계의 발전과 평화 번영을 위한 노력의 귀중한 결실이다. 최근의 신무기의 추가적 개발과 배치는 남북 간의 긴장을 고조시킨다는 점에서 그간의 모든 민족화해와 공동번영 노력에 역행하는 일이다.
최근의 남북 관계는 개성공단의 폐쇄로 큰 시련을 겪고 있다. 이러한 상황에서 사드 배치로 인해 주변국 간의 긴장과 적대감이 증가된다면 남북 협력과 대화의 길은 더욱 요원해질 것이다.
이에 교회는 정부 당국이 한반도를, 패권이 충돌하는 위험 지대가 아닌 화해와 협력의 상생 지대로 변화시켜 가는 노력을 경주해 줄 것을 촉구한다. 힘이 아닌 설득과 대화를 통해 핵 포기를 이끌어내기 위하여 전방위적으로 노력해 줄 것을 간절히 촉구한다. 프란치스코 교황께서 방한 중 청와대 연설에서 언급하신 바와 같이, “외교는 화해와 연대의 문화를 증진시켜 불신과 증오의 장벽을 허물어 가는 끝없는 도전이며 가능성의 예술”이다. 진정한 평화는 상호 비방이나 무력시위가 아니라, 인내를 수반하는 대화를 통하여 이루어진다. 정부 당국이 평화에 대한 확고부동한 믿음을 가지고 외교적 노력을 경주해 주기를 거듭 촉구한다.

3. 민생 불안과 부담 증가에 대한 우려

한국 천주교회는 사드 배치가 어려움에 처한 한국 경제에 미칠 부정적인 영향에 대하여 심각한 우려를 표명한다. 아울러 교회는 균형 있고 절도 있는 군비 축소와 대화 협력을 통해서 궁극적인 평화 실현과 경제 성장이 가능하다는 점을 다시 한 번 강조한다.
또한 교회는 “발전은 평화의 새 이름이다.”(「민족들의 발전」, 76항)라고 선언한다. 비인간적인 삶의 여건을 인간적인 환경으로 이해시키는 발전만이 진정한 평화를 가져올 수 있다. 이러한 관점에서 볼 때, 이후 국제 갈등으로 인해 남북한의 정치적, 경제적 상황이 악화될 경우 평화 실현은 더욱 힘들어지리라 예상된다.
한반도를 포함한 전 세계의 위기는, 자신에게 살생의 무기를 들이대고, 자기 화살을 불화살로 만드는(시편 7,14) 우를 범하지 않고, 창을 쳐서 낫을 만드는(이사 2,4) 세상을 건설하기 위해 모두의 지혜를 모아야 할 때임을 보여준다. 특별히 우리 민족은 한반도의 평화가 군사력의 우위로 이룩될 수 없으며, 민족 간 화해와 협력을 통해 한 걸음씩 진행되어 나아가야 함을 실증해야 할 시점에 있다.
그러므로 한국 천주교회는 한반도의 군사적, 경제적 불안을 가중시키는 사드 배치를 강행하려는 현재의 상황에 심각한 우려와 함께 분명한 반대의 입장을 표명한다.
사드의 효능도 검증하지 않은 채 사드 배치를 강행하여 국민들에게 불신과 불안을 안겨 줄 뿐 아니라, 이로 인해 커다란 외교적인 손실을 입게 될 상황을 걱정하지 않을 수 없다.
그뿐 아니라 지역 주민들의 건강을 위한 환경평가를 거치지 않은 채 강행하는 사드 배치를 원점에서 다시 검토하고 한반도와 세계 평화를 증진시키는 방안을 모색해 주기를 간절히 촉구한다.

2016년 7월 15일

민족화해위원회 위원장 이기헌 주교
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