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Faculty, staff, students join in interfaith 'Prayer for Peace' at Mission Church

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Feb. 13, 2003 -- Santa Clara University President Paul Locatelli, S.J., encouraged an audience of students, faculty, and staff today to pray for peace, not war, in Iraq, and to press for the pursuit of truth, justice, love and freedom.

The gathering at an interfaith prayer vigil of approximately 150 people in Mission Santa Clara de Asis was among similar events at all 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in a national Day of Prayer for Peace.

I hope that it is not too late for the truth of justice and the truth of love,” said Locatelli. In calling for the gathering, the SCU president had said that "we pray that, even at this late hour, a peaceful resolution may be found.”

"Even on the eve of war, many Americans and others – I included – are not convinced that war on Iraq is necessary," he told his Mission Church audience late this afternoon.  "If we go down the road to war, it will not end the threat of El Queda nor address the causes of Islamic rage."

 "This recourse to pre‑emptive violence will not prevent violence," he warned.  It could well have the opposite result: We could begin a death spiral that will pit nation against nation, religion against religion, culture against culture."

"As a university community living in a democracy, our fundamental commitment is to discover the truth...to doggedly pursue the truth wherever it leads us, whatever it costs us. Democracy demands an internal logic and ethic that will not compromise freedom, respect for human dignity or the common good, even when faced with a brutal tyrant like Saddam Hussein," he said.

On the eve of a meeting of the Pope with Iraqi leaders, and of a report to the United Nations by its weapons inspectors, Locatelli cautioned: "Democracy has to exhaust every path that might lead to peaceful resolution. War is the last resort, and only to protect innocent people who have been attacked or an attack is imminent."

For a complete text of President Locatelli's remarks, see http://www.scu.edu/president/peacevigil2003.

Each of the 28 Jesuit institutions organized or planned activities to promote awareness for a peaceful resolution to the conflict with Iraq. For a complete list, see http://www.scu.edu/news/docs/AJCUAntiWarPDF.pdf.

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About Santa Clara University:

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California's Silicon Valley, offers its 8,060 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is online at www.scu.edu.

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