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 Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, WisconsinApril 18, 2003 Issue 

Seeking peace

We will never find the peace we want if we keep searching for it in all the wrong ways

By Tony Staley
Compass Editor

We are celebrating Easter this year shortly after a decisive and relatively fast war to oust the government of Saddam Hussein from Iraq. We can only hope and pray that the victory by American-led forces will bring a new life of peace and security to the Iraqi people, who have lived in terror under Hussein since 1979.

 • Easter-related articles

The overwhelming military win over Hussein also should bring feelings of peace and security to citizens of the United States. The war was needed, the Bush Administration said, to end a regime that not only terrorized Iraqis, but also terrorized Americans by supporting al-Qaida's 9-11 attack on the U.S. Plus, the President said, Hussein was a potential supplier of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

With the threat gone, we should all feel safe, right?

Perhaps, but don't count on it.

There are, it can be pointed out, good reasons for feeling insecure. For example, Osama bin Laden is still at large calling for more attacks on the United States. Nor have our differences with North Korea been resolved. There also have been rumblings that the U.S. should next move against Iran or Syria for helping Iraq during the war. And, while it receives little attention, the situation in Afghanistan is far from resolved, particularly with the resurgence of the Taliban.

Meanwhile, in in the U.S., Interpol reported that there were 15,586 murders, 90,178 rapes and 10.5 million thefts in 2001.

Beyond that, we continue to totter between yellow and orange alerts. In our homes, we're bombarded by frenetic TV programs and by TV commercials that tell us whatever we have isn't enough and that keeping-up-with-the-Joneses is second-best to getting-ahead-of-the-Joneses.

Somehow, the richest country in the world -- a nation with approximately one-quarter of the world's wealth -- and a military so sophisticated and well-trained that it could readily defeat any foe, is wracked with insecurity and fears.

And, sadly no amount of police, armed forces, weapons, alarm systems or duct tape -- let alone the latest fashions or electronic toys, the biggest boat or SUV -- will erase our fears. On the contrary, they only seem to convince us that someone, somewhere is scheming to take what we have.

Despite that, we insist on turning to security measures and rampant consumerism to calm us. But, like the person in the popular song who is "looking for love in all the wrong places," we are seeking peace in the wrong places, in the wrong ways.

Throughout his earthly life, Jesus told his followers, "Do not be afraid." To that, the Risen Lord on Easter added, "Peace be with you." His is the peace we seek. All we need do is embrace it.

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