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Washington Archbishop cautions lawmakers on Iraq war

Restating the position of the US bishops' conference, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington has urged lawmakers to avoid war with Iraq unless American life is in immediate danger.

"Right now we would say a defensive war under certain circumstances is permitted," the archbishop of Washington told radio station WTOP, according to the weekly Catholic Standard.

"When you look at Iraq, I guess if the president really has that kind of information that we're in real proximate danger from Iraq then you could make a case," the cardinal said. "I don't think the bishops feel that the case has been made yet," he added. "That's why we're saying to please go slowly, please try to see exactly what the situation is before we do something which we would have to say would not be moral."

The cardinal said in a television interview that, even in a defensive war, a country ought to follow such rules as proportionality of means and avoidance of civilian casualties. He added that a first-strike attack would be extremely difficult to justify, in the absence of circumstances such as clear knowledge of biological weapons.

"I think what the bishops hope is that as the president and Congress talk about this, that we might have the opportunity to weigh in with the moral values -- that that would be something they would consider also," Cardinal McCarrick said.


Archdiocese of Washington | Cardinal McCarrick
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