Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 2, Number 47 January 5 - 11, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
Voices Opposition, His Strongest, to Iraq War
CITY, Jan. 13 - Pope John Paul II today expressed his strongest opposition yet
to a potential war in Iraq, describing it as a "defeat for humanity"
and urging world leaders to try to resolve disputes with Iraq through diplomatic
to war!" the pope said during his annual address to scores of diplomatic
emissaries to the Vatican, an exhortation that referred in part to Iraq, a
country he mentioned twice.
is not always inevitable," he said. "It is always a defeat for
aloud what to say "of the threat of a war which could strike the people of
Iraq," he added: "War cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter
of ensuring the common good, except as the very last option, and in accordance
with very strict conditions, without ignoring the consequences for the civilian
population both during and after the military operations."
pope had previously articulated concerns about an American-led attack on Iraq,
most notably on Christmas Day, when he beseeched people "to extinguish the
ominous smoldering of a conflict which, with the joint efforts of all, can be
avoided." But in those instances, his message was largely implicit. He did
not refer to Iraq by name, and his words were not as blunt.
remarks came as the United States continued a buildup of military forces in the
Middle East, and they exemplified international leaders' apprehensions and
attempts at political and moral suasion.
pope's comments, delivered in French with the Vatican providing a translation
into English, also recalled his opposition to the Persian Gulf war in 1991. His
refusal to support that effort strained diplomatic relations between the Vatican
and the United States at the time.
the pope said today was not surprising; he has consistently decried a range of
wars throughout his 24-year-long papacy, often without immediate or discernible
effect on events.
after the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, he said nations had a
moral and legal right to defend themselves against terrorism. He did not condemn
the bombing of Afghanistan, although he did say that such military actions must
be aimed solely at people with "criminal culpability" and not whole
groups of innocent civilians.
speaking out about Iraq today, he echoed concerns raised around the world about
the wisdom of a potential war with Iraq.
Licari, the Canadian ambassador to the Holy See, said the pope's voice would
stand out as an especially resonant one. "It is putting extra pressure,
because he's one of the only moral voices left in the world with
credibility," he said.
added that the pope's comments reflected the Vatican's growing worry about, and
preoccupation with, the situation in Iraq. In the last month, an increasing
number of Vatican officials have raised questions about the morality, necessity
and consequences of a war in Iraq.
James Nicholson, the American ambassador to the Holy See, also noted that the
pope "speaks with a great deal of credibility and moral authority,"
adding, "The United States listens."
he said he did not interpret the pope's remarks as an indication that the
Vatican and the United States stood apart on Iraq.
you examine carefully what the pope said, he said that war is not always
inevitable, and we agree," Mr. Nicholson said, adding that Saddam Hussein
can prevent an attack on Iraq if he complies fully with weapons inspections and
eliminates any weapons of mass destruction.
present and future question before the Vatican, he said, was whether there was
"sufficient provocation" for the United States to take military action
answer to that," Mr. Nicholson acknowledged, "may remain something
that we don't agree on."
pope's comments on Iraq were contained in a wide-ranging speech that traversed
the globe, reflecting on signs of desperation and hope on various continents,
and also touched on social issues.
Paul made special note of a series of expulsions from Russia of Catholic
priests, a point of keen discord between the Vatican and Moscow. He called the
expulsions "a cause of great suffering for me," adding, "The Holy
See expects from the government authorities concrete decisions which will put an
end to this crisis."
He nodded to a series of recent scientific claims by mentioning human cloning, saying it, along with abortion and euthanasia, "risk reducing the human person to a mere object."
January 13, 2003