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[casi] More Catholic Leaders Come Out Against War


Vatican Secretary of State Analyzes Possible Attack

ROME, JAN. 30, 2003 ( The Vatican secretary of state appealed to
the United States and Great Britain to analyze the moral aspects and
consequences of a possible war against Iraq.

"Whom does it suit to confront 1 billion Muslims and run the risk of decades
of hostility from the Muslim world?" Cardinal Angelo Sodano asked Tuesday in
the Holy See's nunciature in Italy, where he celebrated his 25 years of

During an informal meeting with journalists, Cardinal Sodano confirmed that
the Vatican is committed "with all the means at its disposal" to find a
solution to this crisis.

He reminded Western heads of state that a "war" of attack is not justifiable
ethically, and less so if it is "preventive," as reflected in the Catechism
of the Catholic Church, which focuses on a country's right to legitimate

In this connection, the cardinal said the "West has the right to defend
itself from terrorism," but it also has the obligation to do so according to

This poses the question of the clash of civilizations, "poorly presented,
certainly, by some, but possible," he cautioned.

In any case, he added, "there is not just one Islam. There are many
tendencies within it and Muslim ambassadors to the Vatican speak of
tolerance," although there is "the problem of the situation of Christians who
are suffering" in some of those countries.

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the secretary of state said that
there have been "errors and blindness on both sides, but the two peoples must
be able to have two states with secure borders."


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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2003 ( The Vatican might make a "concrete
gesture" to avoid a military intervention in Iraq, a top official says.

Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states,
did not exclude the possibility of sending a peace emissary to Baghdad on
behalf of the Pope.

"For the time being, there is nothing concrete," the archbishop told the
press today. "We are just thinking about it. It is a possibility, not yet a


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U.N. Authorization Isn't Enough, They Contend

ROME, JAN. 30, 2003 ( Simple U.N. authorization doesn't justify a
"preventive war" with Iraq, and in any case such a military action would be
unacceptable because it is unlimited, say Italy's bishops.

The Italian episcopate manifested its position on an eventual conflict in
Iraq during a press conference to present the final statement of the bishops'
Permanent Council, which met here Jan. 20-22.

Bishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary-general of the episcopal conference, said
that while "the U.N.'s authorization is an element that can never be given up
in a military action, [...] it is not the only one."

"If the preventive dimension of a war continues and the conflict in question
is not a concrete response to a situation of attack," the U.N. authorization
does not make a war just, he said.

The very concept of preventive war is "unacceptable in itself, because
prevention, in fact, has no limit," the bishop added. "Without a concrete
situation of threat, actual or possible, no act of war can be justified."

In regard to the possibility that the U.N. inspectors might find weapons of
mass destruction on Iraqi soil, Bishop Betori emphasized that "it is not the
competence of bishops to judge the degree and level in which such weapons can
become a concrete and effective threat."

Regarding war scenarios, "the Church's intervention is in the aspect of the
formation of consciences," he said. "Today it is not enough to make appeals
for peace, but consciences must be formed capable of carrying out concrete
plans of peace; otherwise, invitations to peace are ineffective."


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