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[casi] Pope Condemns US Invasion

 AP World - General News

Pope: war threatens fate of humanity
Sat Mar 22, 7:19 AM ET

VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II Saturday denounced the
war against Iraq (news - web sites) as threatening the "fate of humanity" in
his first public comments on the U.S-led attacks.

"When war, as in these days in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity, it is
ever more urgent to proclaim, with a strong and decisive voice, that only
peace is the road to follow to construct a more just and united society,"
John Paul said. "Violence and arms can never resolve the problems of men."

The pontiff said that peace is "a gift of God and a humble and constant
achievement by men."

John Paul, with impassioned speeches and Vatican (news - web sites)
diplomacy, lobbied against war and in favor of a negotiated solution in the
months before the conflict.

He made his remarks Saturday in an address at the Vatican to members of an
Italian religious television channel, Telepace.

A few hours after the war began, the Vatican expressed "deep pain" and
faulted both sides for failing to find a peaceful solution, but until
Saturday, the pope himself had not spoken publicly about the attacks, which
were launched after the U.S. administration insisted that Baghdad was not
complying with U.N. demands to disarm.

John Paul has staunchly opposed war in Iraq, saying their was no legal or
moral justification for military action. He has also expressed concern that
war would harm relations between Christians and Muslims.

In a bid to avert the war, John Paul had sent a cardinal to Washington to
plead with U.S. President George W. Bush (news - web sites) against
launching attacks and another cardinal to Baghdad to press Saddam Hussein
(news - web sites) to cooperate completely with U.N. weapons inspectors.

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