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Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P.
Peace, An Interview

"Welcome to the evening news.  I'm Ted King, and our guest tonight is
Fr. Alan Phillip.

TK: "Fr. Alan, welcome to our program.  You've been around a while, so I ask you to share your wisdom with us.  My first question has to do with the recent acts of terrorism and the wars going on.  Tell me, do you think peace is possible in our time?"

FA: "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword."(1)

TK: "You mean that violence is not inevitable?"

FA: "There is no such thing as an inevitable war.  If war comes, it will be from the failure of human wisdom."(2)

TK: "Doesn't a powerful nation have an obligation to strike back at terrorists?"

FA: "Today, the real test of power is not in the capacity to make war, but the capacity to prevent it."(3)

TK: "Some look upon retaliation as rightful punishment, 'an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth'."
FA: "Then, in no time, we will all be blind and toothless."(4)

TK:  "What do you think about the recent suggestion for a "Department of Peace"?

FA: "We prepare for war like precocious giants, and for peace like retarded pigmies."(5)

TK: "Some define our military action as 'peace-keeping'."

FA: "Peace cannot be kept by force.  It can only be achieved by understanding."(6)

TK: "Do you believe people today really want peace."

FA: "I think that people want peace so much, that one of these days governments had better get out of their way and let them have it."(7)

TK: "You sound like an idealist.  Some government leaders would call you naïve, saying that war is sometimes necessary to settle differences."

FA: "I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting.  I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a method of settling international disputes."(8)

TK: "So you don't think our present international crisis will be resolved by war?"

FA: "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.. War settles nothing."(9)

TK: "Some say that war is good for the economy.  Any thoughts about that?"

FA: "Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of it laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."(10)

TK: "If you don't favor war to settle our problems, what is the alternative?"

FA: "The choice is not between non-violence and violence.  It is between non-violence and non-existence."(11)

TK: "I've heard that you advocate taking a vote of all the people of a nation before a war is declared."

FA: "There are no warlike peoples - just warlike leaders."(12)

TK: "What do you think is the first step to preventing war?"

FA: "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed."(13)

TK: "Do you think the United Nations has effective policies for achieving a more peaceful world?

FA: "The springs of human conflict cannot be eradicated through institutions, but only through reform of the individual human being."(14)

TK: "Could you elaborate?"

FA: "You have heard the commandment, 'You shall love your countryman, but hate your enemy.'  My command to you is: love your enemies, pray for your persecutors.do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you."(15)

TK: "That sounds impossible."

FA: "The words of Jesus would remain impossible, abstract ideals were it not for two things; the actions of Jesus and his gift of the Spirit."(16)

TK: "Our generals seem intelligent.  They want us to increase our military budget."

FA: "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."(17)

TK: "We are running out of time.  Do you have any final remarks?"

FA: "No more war -- war never again."(18)

TK: "Thank you all for listening.  Have a good night."


The above responses by Fr. Alan are quotes from the following:

  1. General Ulysses S. Grant
  2. Andrew B. Law, British Statesman
  3. Ann McCormick
  4. Tevye, from the musical, Fiddler on the Roof (adapted).
  5. Lester Person, former Prime Minister of Canada, in his Nobel Prize speech.
  6. Albert Einstein
  7. President Dwight Eisenhower
  8. General Douglas MacArthur, Address to Congress, 1951.
  9. President Dwight Eisenhower
  10. President Dwight Eisenhower
  11. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  12. Ralph Bunche, political scientist and diplomat
  13. United Nations Constitution of UNESCO
  14. General Douglas MacArthur
  15. Jesus (Matt 5:43-44, Luke 6:27-28)
  16. National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1983
  17. Isaac Asimov
  18. Pope Paul VI, address to the United Nations, 1965                                                                           


Copyright© by Alan Phillip, 2009