Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said in advance of the debate on Syria:
“Effective action is necessary to stop the grave harm being inflicted by ISIS on civilians. While indiscriminate violence is never justifiable, specific use of force to protect the vulnerable is defensible, if it is combined with sustained diplomatic and humanitarian efforts. As Pope Francis has said: where there is unjust aggression, it is licit to stop the aggressor.
“Earlier this year in April during a visit to Iraq, I met with a number of Iraqi refugees and those who are generously sheltering them, led by the Local Church. In conversation, I came to the conclusion that there are four necessary steps that are required to be taken in Iraq and Syria for refugees and displaced people to return home.
“The first is to stop ISIS along with those groups who perpetrate indiscriminate violence and that will require a proportionate military intervention; the second will be to make villages and towns habitable through clearing land mines and other IEDs along with the necessary reconstruction of houses and infrastructure; the third will be to re-establish the rule of law and finally to re-establish trust between the different peoples and faiths.
“This will take time and requires a long-term commitment to all whose home is in the region and seek to live in peace.”