DETROIT — Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton said he will ask Roman Catholic bishops to sign a statement asking Catholic soldiers to become "selective conscientious objectors" against war in the Persian Gulf.
Gumbleton said he will press for a discussion of the Persian Gulf crisis at the four-day annual meeting of Catholic bishops that opens today in Washington, although it is not on the agenda.
Gumbleton told the Detroit News he will ask the bishops to sign a statement prepared by Pax Christi, the national peace organization of religious and lay people that he heads.
The statement asks Catholic soldiers to "become selective conscientious objectors" and actively resist the U.S. government's offensive deployment.
"War is a very important moral issue, and if the bishops speak out about anything, they ought to speak out about going to war," the longtime peace activist said.
But Gumbleton's superior, Archbishop Adam J. Maida, said he will urge a more moderate approach, although he said the Bush Administration cannot justify war in the Middle East if it is a fight over oil.