Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., prays over the Eucharist during Mass on Feb. 9, 2015 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington. Bishop Cantu is chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace. Photo by Tyler Orsburn, courtesy of Catholic News Service

U.S. Catholic bishops back Obama on Iran, warn Congress against meddling

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., prays over the Eucharist during Mass on Feb. 9, 2015 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington. Bishop Cantu is chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace. Photo by Tyler Orsburn, courtesy of Catholic News Service

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., prays over the Eucharist during Mass on Feb. 9, 2015 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington. Cantu is chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace. Photo by Tyler Orsburn, courtesy of Catholic News Service


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(RNS) The U.S. Catholic bishops have welcomed the Obama administration’s tentative agreement aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and their top spokesman on international affairs bluntly warned Congress against doing anything to undermine it.

The bishops “oppose efforts that seek to undermine the negotiation process or make a responsible multi-party agreement more difficult to achieve and implement,” Bishop Oscar Cantu, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace Committee, wrote to House and Senate lawmakers on Monday (April 13).

“The alternative to an agreement leads toward armed conflict, an outcome of profound concern to the Church,” said Cantu, who heads the Diocese of Las Cruces, N.M.

The warning -- and accompanying support in a letter of commendation that Cantu sent last week to Secretary of State John Kerry -- follow a thumbs-up from Pope Francis to the proposed accord, and coincides with an endorsement on Monday by a group of largely liberal mainline Protestant leaders.

Diplomats from the U.S. and six world powers meeting in Switzerland earlier this month unveiled the framework of what could be an historic accord to inspect Iran’s growing nuclear program and prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon.

The announcement follows years of negotiations, sanctions on Tehran, and periodic warnings of military action against Iran. The framework -- which must still be finalized by both sides by the end of June -- was seen as a triumph of diplomacy.

But foreign policy hawks in the U.S., and in Israel have blasted the deal as a giveaway to Iran that will allow that nation to develop a bomb that can threaten Israel and Tehran’s neighbors.

President Obama and his congressional critics continued to spar over the weekend on the merits of the framework and how much say Congress can or should have in approving or modifying any eventual agreement.

On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis, who has supported the talks in the past, prayed that “the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne … may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.”

That statement, combined with Cantu’s words of praise to Kerry and this week’s warning to Congress, are more fodder for the White House as it wages a political battle for approval.

In a parallel development, dozens of other U.S. Christian leaders, largely mainline Protestants and liberal evangelicals, ran a full-page ad Monday in the Washington newspaper Roll Call that called on lawmakers to support the framework agreement.

Titled “Hope, But Verify” -- a riff on Ronald Reagan’s “Trust, but verify” slogan about negotiating with the Soviets in the 1980s -- the statement was organized by the Rev. Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners, and it says the framework must be fleshed out and compliance carefully monitored.

But the ad praises the framework as a crucial step forward for peace, and the dozens of signatories call on the nation’s political leaders to “pursue this agreement with integrity, commitment, and perseverance.”

The statement concludes by quoting Francis’ statement of support.

KRE/AMB END GIBSON

Comments

  1. So even the vatican knows Iran is bluffing. No country announces its uranium enrichment program like Iran has done. Its too easy to hide and too slow, expensive and critical to announce prior to the nuke building process.

    Of the cash strapped North Koreans could hide their enrichment process before their first test, the oil rich Iranians could do it more easily. The only reason we know of Iran’s efforts are they are announcing them for effect. Bluffing.

  2. The Catholic Church is entitled to offer an opinion on foreign policy; but it manifestly not their place to ‘warn’ Congress against opposing the agreement. That said, this so called ‘agreement;’ is it a treaty or what? If a treaty Congress definitely has a right to weigh in. If not a treaty, what is its classification and where does its legal basis lie?

  3. The United States and six other world powers have unveiled a plan for peace with Iran. A framework for inspection of Iran’s growing nuclear program. In my opinion this is a really hopeful sign that we will not be sending thousands and thousands more of our young men and women to die or be severely injured on foreign soil like our nation has done for over ten years.
    What have these wars achieved for peace in the Middle East?

    A side note: Maybe a miracle has already happened, in the article I see, for the first time, the words “liberal” and “evangelical” used next to each other in the same sentence.

  4. Richard, your links are all righties known for their bias. Do you have anything from the center?

    In addition, I read all your sources, except the Washington Times because that one is just too laughable, and it looks like Mr. Gibson’s characterization of the bishop in question is accurate.

  5. “The U.S. Catholic bishops have welcomed the Obama administration’s tentative agreement aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and their top spokesman on international affairs bluntly warned Congress against doing anything to undermine it.”
    The learned Bishops appear not to concur concur with Article II, Sec.2 Sub 2. of the Constitution, which requires the Senate to participate and vote.
    ” He (the President) shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; …”

  6. Well Debbo.

    Schwartz’s essay lays out the evidence for the fabrication of anonymous sources from Gibson’s so-called “reporting.” If you read it, you can discover the truth about Gibson basically quotes himself in disguise. If you want to attack the sources without specifically countering the evidence they contain, perhaps you can indicate what foundation is paying all of these various sources to run advocacy pieces masquerading as journalism. That way you could let all your alleged “righties” know that RNS is not the only venue where advocacy foundations can pay-to-play. If you can’t put up, then it appears that the bias is in your own eye.

  7. Crux is owned by the Boston Globe, and John Allen (formerly of the National Catholic Reporter) is its associate editor. The Washington Times is on the right, but certainly not the Globe.

  8. Except according to the article it is pure innuendo and unconfirmed rumor. The primary source being LifeSiteNews, a source not known for veracity,

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