Saed Hassan and nephew Noor Mohammad, who lost his sight and hands in strikes on the Agam region.(Globe Staff/Dominic Chavez)

In the Fall of 2005 Daniel Maguire, Professor of Ethics at Marquette University, delivered a lecture entitled The Lies of War. He dedicated his talk to a 10-year-old Afghan, Mohammed Noor. The boy was having Sunday dinner when an American bomb struck his home. He survived but with the loss of both eyes and both hands. Dr. Maguire reminded his audience, “The sightless eyes of this child should haunt us to the end of our days and sear on our souls the absolute need to not just pray for peace, but to do something to make it happen.”

Of his experience with the war in Vietnam Ralph McGehee, a former CIA intelligence analyst has written, “I hated my part in the charade of murder and horror. My efforts were contributing to the deaths, to the burning alive of children - especially the children. The photographs of young Vietnamese children burned by napalm destroyed me."

As a veteran of that same war, I never imagined that the United States would venture into creating such a murderously remorseful conflict again - preemptively, no less. During Mass one day at noon in the Quonset chapel of the field hospital south of DaNang where I was stationed, a corpsman burst into the chapel exclaiming that I was needed immediately in triage. I had just consecrated the bread and wine so I excused myself from the gathering, telling them to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus directly from the altar. I received the consecrated bread as I hurried to the triage area in alb and stole. When I returned to the chapel about an hour later, the paten and chalice were still on the altar. Some of the Blood of Christ remained in the chalice. I consumed it and sat down to collect my thoughts. That’s when I noticed that the alb I was wearing had been stained with many drops and smudges of blood. I had not only drunk the Precious Blood but I was wearing it.

Recalling and reflecting on Jesus’ passion and death reminds us of his continued suffering in human beings enduring the violence of war. It must also inspire us “to do something to make (peace) happen.”

As you pray each Station, please keep Mohammed in mind – and all the other children - and adults - who have become victims of U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Include in your praying the many seriously wounded and maimed casualties of those of every nation involved in the conflict - and all those mourning dear ones killed in the war.

Rev. Sebastian L. Muccilli

The First Station - Jesus is condemned to death.

Photo by Benjamin Lowy / Corbis

We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

After you have been taken into custody, Jesus, by the Roman occupation forces, you are whipped, crowned with thorns and derided mercilessly. Though wrongfully accused you absorb the condemnation of political authority and the approving nods and ridiculing shouts of your own people. No one speaks up for you!
Revenge is in vogue when prisoners are captured by the military. Just being corralled and detained before questioning is traumatic. While being questioned, the prisoner is at the mercy of the interrogator who most often is at liberty to use varied forms of psychological and physical pressure to extract information. Beyond those dehumanizing tactics, five years ago the U.S. deported Afghan prisoners – some as young as 14 and 15 years-of-age - thousands of miles away from Afghanistan to the American naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba, to endure not only imprisonment without legal representation but also the excruciating treatment of confinement to cages while shackled and with no opportunity to communicate with each other, let alone their families. They have been judged and found guilty without trial. No one speaks up for them!
As long as we remain sheep, we overcome. Even though we may be surrounded by a thousand wolves, we overcome and are victorious. But as soon as we are wolves, we are beaten: for then we lose the support from the Shepherd who feeds not wolves but only sheep.
– John Chrysostom

The Second Station - Jesus accepts his cross.

Photo by Warren Zinn / Army Times / Corbis
We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

You have, Jesus, with us in mind absorbed all the humiliation and violence begun when humanity initiated cruelty as a means of dominating others and implementing control over them. War seems to always find means to justify some violent end – and to declare heroes in conquest and killing. You put the lie to that philosophy in accepting your cross and making nonviolence the only way to peace.
There are noble moments in war when individuals sacrifice their lives to save others. There are countless testimonies of such goodness amid the hellish mayhem of grenade, mortar and rifle fire. But such heroism is also evident in natural cataclysms and accidental mishaps. A civilized people do not require war in which to exemplify heroic behavior. Such energy can be channeled into social justice endeavors like ameliorating hunger and poverty, advocating for wrongfully incarcerated individuals and coming to the aid of disasters’ victims.
Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometime hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism…
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Third Station - Jesus falls the first time.

Photo by David Leeson / Dallas Morning News / Corbis

We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

The weight of your cross and the staggering emotional weight of condemnation and sentencing bring you to your knees, Jesus. The spectacle amuses soldiers and onlookers who goad you into resuming your painful journey.

Who will mitigate this overwhelming, awkward burden forced on two cultures? It turns energetic U.S. teenagers into killing machines and leaves Iraqi and Afghan youths determined to oppose a detested occupation force. Both sides fall prey to pervasive fear. Such fear drives them to slaughter each other and leaves survivors marred for life emotionally.
Contrary to the stirring sentiments of the Declaration of Independence, we now pledge "our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor" not to one another for our mutual protection, but to the state, whose actions continue to exploit, despoil, and destroy us. - Butler D. Shaffer

The Fourth Station - Jesus meets his mother.

Photo by AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg
We affectionately remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.
You must have wished that your family members, Jesus, would be spared your final, harrowing hours. Amid the dusty clamor of a morbid, public spectacle your eyes, Jesus, met the eyes of your inconsolable mother. Lamenting and faithful, she endured in her own being your stumbling, torturous trudge towards Golgotha.
Love insists on presence even though horror may accompany such devotion. What monstrous sorrow afflicts the families of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib denied access to their sons and brothers, husbands and fathers. Imagine parents and siblings, wives, husbands, children and partners separated from dear ones bearing arms and constantly in harm’s way! How many loved ones have muffled a scream with the dread appearance at the front door of Casualty Assistance Calls Officers reporting, “We regret to inform you…?”
To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole. - Nuremberg Tribunal

The Fifth Station - Simon helps Jesus carry the cross.

AP Photo / Laura Rauch

We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

Simon of Cyrene had been merely an observer of your humiliating downfall, Jesus. Out of curiosity he joined the crowd, which had declared you an enemy of the status quo. He was pressed into assisting you because he stood out as swarthy and strong, as an ideal candidate to help you, Jesus, as you stumbled under the awkward and clumsy instrument of your looming execution. You welcomed his company as much as his aid.

There are times when we are forced into situations, which become graced opportunities of service. Up until that moment, we cringe from becoming involved in someone else’s project, problem, or mishap. We need not be forced or urged into tending to wounded and maimed veterans returning from a war zone. The Gospel requires that we respond – while never burdening them with negative judgments about their participation in the war. Life will take on a luster and value it never had before because another’s cross-bearing is shared and alleviated.
Jesus Suarez del Solar was killed in Iraq on March 27, 2004. On March 12, his father, Fernando Suarez del Solar, began a 241 mile march that traced the life and passion of his son, Jesus, from Tijuana to Camp Pendleton. From there Fernando will continue, where his son left off, and walk in the footsteps of the Cesar Chavez-led march from Delano to Sacramento. The march will end on the anniversary of the death of Jesus, when his father plans to lead a blood drive for those in need in Iraq.

The Sixth Station - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Photo by Ruth Fremson / The New York Times

We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

Slipping from the crowd, Veronica, removes the veil from her head and without words wipes your face, Jesus. It is an act of courage and compassion, so graced with tenderness and respect that no one dares interrupt or interfere.

There are non-combatants in war: nurses, corpsmen, physicians, chaplains, and Red Cross volunteers, who minister with devotion and healing in their eyes and hands. Their mission is to serve and care for those who have been traumatized by a conflict they never imagined could personally touch them with such grave consequences. The angelic presence of care-givers injects hope into the horror of war allowing the wounded to cope with their undeserved fate.

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.
- George Bernard Shaw

The Seventh Station - Jesus falls the second time.

AP Photo / Itsuo Inouye

We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

The path toward impending death, under the burden of pain and humiliation, brings you to this dreaded moment of falling again, Jesus. The crowd, which had turned to silence at the sight of Veronica’s compassion, lets out a combined groan of empathy. A few leave the scene and come to terms with not wanting to be associated with your suffering and death, Jesus.

Some young but mature persons come to the realization that they cannot in any circumstance ethically join the military. They turn their backs on recruiters declaring conscientious objection to war. It even happens to men and women already inducted into military life after they have participated in the brutality which war celebrates. It is incumbent on a gospel-oriented church to offer succor and defense to youthful citizens who face derision and defamation. All the baptized are called to be advocates of those who follow the directives of their conscience, especially in a war initiated under false pretenses.

On my knees I beg you to turn away from the paths of violence…. I say to you with all the love I have for you, with all the trust I have in young people: do not listen to voices, which speak the language of hatred, revenge, retaliation. Do not follow any leaders who train you in the way of inflicting death…. Give yourself to the service of life, not the work of death. Violence is the enemy of justice. Only peace can lead the way to true justice. - Pope John Paul II

The Eighth Station - Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem.

AP Photo / Anja Niedringhaus

We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

Your admonition to the women of Jerusalem haunts us to this day, Jesus. You countermanded their grief, redirecting it to those of us surviving your gruesome passion. It continues to reverberate through 20 long centuries of elected violence - to this very day, this very war, which makes men and women committed to nonviolence shudder and weep with its destructive consequences.

Branded with an internationally notorious reputation for preemptively invading and occupying a sovereign state, the United States is also infamous for its inhuman incarceration and torture of prisoners. American parents cannot help but feel worried and distraught for their children’s future. Add to that concern the amount of money allotted by the Congress for military spending, while the same Congress cuts funding for needed social programs, and we have every reason to shed tears for ourselves and for our children. Now we are told that in the last 5 years, the number of Americans living below the poverty line has increased by 5.4 million to a total of 37 million.

Each of the Iraqi children killed by the United States was our child. Each of the prisoners tortured in Abu Ghraib was our comrade. Each of their screams was ours. When they were humiliated, we were humiliated. - Arundhati Roy

The Ninth Station - Jesus falls for the third time.

Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images

We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

The accumulated malevolence of all wars and ethnic killings of the centuries was condensed into your onerous cross, Jesus. How could you maintain such a burden for any length of time? You strain every fiber of your waning energy to resume the ascent to Golgotha out of love for every person of every age.

When we begin to enumerate not only the intra-and international conflicts of the last 2,000+ years, but the misery and vulgarity each of them propagated, we cringe from embarrassment and disgust for having turned to violence in any form during our lifetime. Perhaps that is why those initiating strife on a nation, in the name of some virtue or economic advantage, try to shackle the media in its attempts to reflect the horrors, to stifle the right to know how insufficient are the motives to go to war.

The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human. - Aldous Huxley

The Tenth Station - Jesus is stripped of his garments.

Photo by David Leeson / Dallas Morning News / Corbis

We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

Having arrived at the place of execution, Jesus, you must endure the insufferable humiliation of having your clothing stripped from your body to stand naked before those conscripted to take part in the process of crucifixion, the ultimate indignity. Only thorns remain, encircling your bruised, bleeding brow.

To have someone in custody seems automatically to be granted license to provoke and demean the one arrested or taken prisoner. We recognize that behavior too often on city streets by some police officers, and especially in the climate of the war on terror. The denigration of the victim exposes the vicious motivation of those in charge. The photos taken at Abu Ghraib prison and the reports from Guantanamo Bay detention facility bear out that ugly fact as do films of blacks apprehended for driving violations. Torture is expected when the extraction of information is deemed more valuable than the person being interrogated so that suspects of national security are transported to other nations with reputations for vicious, dehumanizing means of torture.

We lament with special anguish the war in Iraq, launched in deception and violating global norms of justice and human rights. We mourn all who have died or been injured... We acknowledge with shame abuses carried out in our name. - From the Statement of the 34 U.S. Members of the World Council of Churches

The Eleventh Station - Jesus is nailed to the cross.

Photo by Reuters / Damir Sagolj

We gratefully remember you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

No matter how much we want to look away from this excruciatingly painful experience you were sentenced to undergo, Jesus, we cannot. Its demonic overtones have riddled history with unnecessary anguish superimposed on the ordinary, everyday trials of persons caught in the crosshairs of enmity and cruelty.

The cross looms starkly over a world plunged in terrorism. It has taken on proportions undreamed of until March of 2003, when the United States preemptively and savagely attacked Iraq with the deceptive claim that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction. Nonviolence is a strategy whose effectiveness dawned on Gandhi’s India over 70 years ago. Called the Mahatma (Great-Souled), Gandhi asserted humanity’s unity under one God by espousing Christian, Muslim, and Hindu scriptures. Our conflicted, prejudiced world needs to learn a strategy of nonviolence as it stretches to implement social justice as a world-wide reality to save itself from annihilation.

We must love our enemy, not because we fear war but because God loves them. - Dorothy Day

The Twelfth Station - Jesus dies on the cross.

Photo by James Hill / The New York Times

We gratefully remember you, Jesus,
because your life and death teach us how to live as your disciples.

The thirty years of your life, Jesus, must have seemed fleeting - until now. Nailed to the cross you carried to this place of execution and hoisted above the heads of Roman soldiers, and in the presence of your mother and a few women, you spend the last three hours of your life in agonizing pain. Death mercifully claims your faithful but broken heart.

Under the loathsome conditions of Jesus' passion his identity as messiah seems a misnomer, but his title of rabbi stands firm. Jesus' pathetic dying illumines the sensibilities of a military-trained centurion and a street-smart common thief. Two seemingly unlikely people recognize him for who he really is because they perceive his authenticity and truth under the guise of enormous suffering and death. His enduring torture and violent death have been replicated countless times in war sequences and of captured prisoners brought to our attention by courageous photographers and news commentators seeking truth. It is no wonder that thousands of war veterans are mentally diseased by Post Traumatic Stress syndrome and receiving treatment in VA hospitals. The consequences of combat will haunt their psyches the rest of their lives and bruise or destroy many of their significant relationships. They need our understanding and assistance.

Death cannot be understood without compassion. Compassion teaches me that when my brother dies, I too die. Compassion teaches me that my brother and I are one. That if I love my brother, then my love benefits my own life as well, and if I hate my brother and seek to destroy him, I destroy myself also. The desire to kill is like the desire to attack another with an ingot of red-hot iron: I have to pick up the incandescent metal and burn my own hand while burning the other…. Love is the seed of life in my own heart when it seeks the good of the other. - Thomas Merton

The Thirteenth Station - Jesus is taken from the cross.

Photo by Reuters / Stephen Hird

We gratefully remember you, Jesus,
because your life and death teach us how to live as your disciples.

Your dead body, Jesus, is removed from the cross by devoted friends with the aid of Roman soldiers and placed in the arms of your grief-stricken mother. There are no words of condolence to complement the moment.

Only poetry comes close to the sentiment of this tender but pitiable scene. From the pen of Vladimir Nabokov:

Night falls. He has been executed.
From Golgotha the crowd descends and winds
between the olive trees like a slow serpent;
and mothers watch as
John downhill
into the mist, with urgent words,
escorts gray, haggard Mary

The Fourteenth Station - Jesus is laid in the tomb.

We gratefully remember you, Jesus,
because your life and death teach us how to live as your disciples.

No suggestion, or even promise of resurrection, Jesus, could assuage the magnitude of desolation that filled the hearts of your women disciples. They were thwarted in their need, as your friends, to channel their grief by performing the ritual before entombment: anointing your tortured and disfigured body with embalming spices and ointment, wrapping it in linens, and resting it in the tomb of Joseph of Arimethea.

Jesus’ abiding faithfulness to his Father was reflected in the loyalty of a few who were overcome with grief over his torturous death but still abidingly faithful to him. Nothing would keep them from honoring his mutilated body and preparing it for burial except timing because of the law honoring the Sabbath. But Joseph from the town of Arimathea, confronted Pilate to gain his permission to claim the body of Jesus. He was able in time to at least wrap it in linens, and place it in a tomb belonging to him. As a prominent Jew, a member of the Council of chief priests and elders, he had, as a lone voice, courageously opposed the dictum of the other members of the Council who declared Jesus guilty of blasphemy. In the mayhem of that infamous Friday with Jesus enduring a litany of disgraceful reproach and of torture, there shone the brightness of enduring friendship and affection – even in the enormity of an innocent’s death.

Suffering is one of the deepwater mysteries of human existence. It can neither be explained nor controlled, but it can be met by a deepwater mystery of equal force – the mystery of human presence.
- Alan Lew

A Christian Moral Creed

We believe

in the reign of God, a God who loves us “with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). We believe that we are called to join God in creating a world in which oppression gives way to justice, a world where “justice and mercy kiss” (Ps. 85:10), a world that will be like a “new heaven and a new earth” (Isa. 65:17) a world where “they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain” (Isa. 65:25), and we believe it can be done.

We believe

that wholehearted biblical justice (tsedaqah) is the hallmark of the reign of God, a justice that sees the ending of poverty and its evils as the prime moral challenge and mission for Christian peoples. We believe that we are called to be “good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18), that making the interests of the poor our interests in the only holiness.

We believe

in prophecy and that we are to be prophets, the social conscience of our society, specialists in the art of cherishing the earth and its peoples, joining with the prophetic movements of all the world’s religions.

We believe

that peace can be achieved by justice (Isa. 32:17), not by the horrors of war, a peace in which the hostile barriers between “Jew and Greek, slave and freeman, male and female” are dissolved for we “are all one person” in the sight of God (Gal. 3:28).

We believe

that our God is a “God of Truth” (Ps. 31:5), that we are missionaries of truth in a world awash with self-serving lies where “truth stumbles in the market-place and honesty is kept out of court, so truth is lost to sight” (Isa. 59:14).

We believe

that we are “called to freedom” (Rom. 5:13) and that freedom is a virtue only when it is married to justice and compassion.

We believe

in hope, that “what we shall be has not yet been disclosed” (I John 3:2), that the plan of the “God of hope” (Rom. 15:13) for us has not yet been realized. Hope drives us to dream and work for a better world where the cries of the oppressed are no longer heard and where tears are wiped from sorrowing eyes.

We believe

that “the whole law is summed up in love” (Rom. 13:10), that “God is love” (I John 4:16), and that loving like God whose “goodness knows no bound” (Matt. 5:48) is our mandate and model. That commits us to loving our enemies and persecutors for “only so can you be children of your heavenly Father, who makes his sun rise on good and bad alike, and sends the rain on the honest and the dishonest” (Matt. 5:45). We believe that love is the solvent that can end all enmity.

We believe

that joy is our destiny, that the appropriate response to the promises of the reign of God is “sheer joy” (Matt. 13:44), and where joy is not present because of poverty or prejudice, our work is not done.

All this we believe and to all of this we commit ourselves. Amen.
From "A Moral Creed for All Christians" by Daniel C. Maguire, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, copyright 2005