John Paul Szura O.S.A. was interviewed by Catholic Leader reporter, Peter Bugden. Reprinted with permission.
War is a dominant focus at the moment but an Augustinian priest from the United States has come to talk peace.
John Paul Szura O.S.A. is a professor of psychology, theology, and justice and peace, and won the 2002 Outstanding Service Award from the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence - Division of Peace Psychology with the American Psychological Association.
He could be expected to have some involved and intricate theories on the subject of peace.
But when John Paul Szura talks of achieving peace, he talks of simple questions that he says need to be asked but which are often too uncomfortable, especially for those in power.
"We watch the war coverage on TV and we see that weapons kill, the use of weapons kills people," he said." But weapons kill people by being bought.
"Weapons kill when they are bought, by the diversion of money into that bottomless pit (for war)."
John Paul Szura said we must question the economic system that allows that to happen, that allows billions of dollars to be spent on weapons while thousands of children die every day because of poverty and hunger.
"We have to demand of our governments transparency and financial accountability," he said. "In the countries in the coalition against Iraq, the people must ask 'What financial gain will come to my leaders as a result of this? What financial gains do my leaders expect from this decision? Who will get the contracts to rebuild Iraq? What will happen to the oil? Egypt got $4 billion for its vote in the first Gulf War."
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