Interview with Jesuits’ Father General
Who gave the United States or France the right to act against the Syrian people ?
to the Superior General of the Jesuits, by intending to bomb Syria to
enforce international law, the United States and France arrogate to
themselves a responsibility they don’t have, violating precisely that
same law. Washington and Paris are planning to lead humanity towards
| Rome (Italy)
| 6 September 2013
Father Adolfo Nicolas
Q. The Holy Father has gone out of the way to
speak for Peace in Syria, which is now under threat of a new attack by
the United States and France. What do you think in this regard?
Father Adolfo Nicolas : It is not customary for me
to make comments on situations that have to do with international or
political situations. But in the present case we are dealing with a
Humanitarian situation that exceeds all the limits that would ordinarily
keep me silent. I have to confess that I cannot understand who gave the
United States or France the right to act against a Country in a way
that will certainly increase the suffering of the citizens of that
country, who, by the way, have already suffered beyond measure. Violence
and violent action, like what is being planned, have to always be the
last resort and administered in such a way that only the guilty are
affected. In the case of a Country this is evidently impossible to
control and, thus, it seems to me totally unjustified. We, Jesuits,
support 100% the Holy Father and wish with all our hearts that the
threatened attack on Syria does not take place.
Q. But, hasn´t the world a responsibility to do something against
those who abuse power against their own people, like a Government using
chemical weapons in a conflict?
Father Adolfo Nicolas : We have right here three
different problems that it is important to state clearly. The first is
that all abuse of power is to be condemned and rejected. And, with all
respect for the people of the United States, I think that a military
intervention like the one being planned is itself an abuse of power. The
US has to stop acting and reacting like the big boy of the neighborhood
of the world. This leads inevitably to abuse, harassment and bullying
of the weaker members of the community.
The second is that if there has been use of chemical weapons we still
have to probe in a way that is clear to the whole world that one party
in the conflict and not the other has used them. It is not enough that
some members of the punishing Government make a statement of conviction.
They have to convince the world, so that the world can trust in them.
This confidence does not happen today, and many have already started
speculation about the ulterior motives that the USA may have in the
And the third, that the means considered adequate to punish the abuse
do not harm the very Victims of the original abuse, once it has been
proved to exist. Past experience teaches us that this is practically
impossible (even if we call the victims "collateral damage") and the
results increase the suffering of the ordinary innocent and poor people.
We all know that the great concern of the Wise Elders and Religious
Founders of all traditions and cultures was "how to reduce human
suffering?" It is very worrying that in the name of justice we plan an
attack that will increase the suffering of the victims.
Q. Aren´t you particularly harsh on the United States?
Father Adolfo Nicolas : I do not think so. I have no
prejudice regarding this great Country and I have a few American
Jesuits working with me whose opinions and services I value very highly.
I have never entertained any negative feelings against the United
States, a Country that I admire on many counts, including commitment,
spirituality and thought. What disturbs me most now is that precisely
this country I respect so much is at the point of doing such a terrible
mistake. And something similar goes for France. A Country that has been a
real leader in esprit, intelligence, and that has made gigantic
contributions to Civility and Culture is now tempted to bring us back to
barbarism, in open contradiction of what France has been a symbol of
for many past generations: That two such Countries would come together
for such an outrageous measure is part of the world´s anger. We are not
afraid of the attack; we are afraid of the barbarism to which we are
Q. But why speak out now?
Father Adolfo Nicolas : Because the danger is now.
Because the Holy Father has taken a measure that is extraordinary to
indicate the urgency of the moment. To indicate that the 7th of
September is a day of Fasting for the sake of Peace is an extraordinary
measure and we want to join him in it .
Remember that at one point in the Gospel, when the disciples of Jesus
could not liberate a young man from an evil spirit, Jesus told them:
"This kind of spirits cannot be driven away if not by prayer and
fasting" I find it extremely upsetting that a Country that considers
itself, at least nominally, Christian, could not imagine other ways of
acting that would not be "military", and, instead, contribute to bring
Humanity back to the law of the jungle.