We are glad to witness the cooling of fight talk between the White House and Iranian leaders. We support Pope Francis, who wisely has appealed to both nations for self-control and dialogue. “War,” the pope said, “brings only death and destruction.” The downing of a passenger jet during the Jan. 8 skirmish outside Tehran proves this sad point.

Admittedly, we of the church are not necessarily experts in foreign affairs. But we do know morality.

At a Beaverton rally Jan. 8, local Catholics welcomed the dropping tensions, but still feel concern over our nation’s mercurial foreign policy.

Like those protesters, we do not think President Trump wants war. The president says his back-and-forth style is a deal making technique. But in this case, too many lives are at stake.

As Catholics, we need to speak up for the regular people —whether in the U.S., Iran or Iraq — none of whom will be served by chest thumping and warfare. 

Tensions especially threaten what fragile Christian communities are left in Iraq and Iran. These stalwarts are just rebuilding after years of ISIS control. If the United States, a nation identified with Christianity, is overly aggressive in Muslim lands, these faithful people will pay the price.

General Qassem Soleimani of Iran was devious, powerful and murderous. We must admit we are glad that he is no longer able to terrorize innocent people. But here’s the point: Christ asked us to love our enemies, put away our swords and to forgive repeatedly — clearly a call to dialogue over drone attacks. This teaching is hard to accept, but it’s what Jesus said, and we can’t monkey with it.

An imminent attack is indeed one of the conditions for just use of violence in the Christian tradition, and that is being raised in the Iran case. The question is, did our country exhaust the possibilities of dialogue and other kinds of resolution? That is another condition, one at the core of Christ’s teaching.