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Vatican official says attack on Iraq is for UN to decide

Only the United Nations can approve the possible use of force against Iraq, according to Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states.

"We can't impose the law of the jungle," Tauran told the Italian newspaper L'Avvenire yesterday. "Obviously we can't fight evil with evil."

"Should the international community ... conclude the use of force is opportune and justified, this should only happen with a decision made in the framework of the United Nations," the archbishop said.

He added that it should be undertaken only "after assessing the consequences for the Iraqi people, as well as the repercussions that it could have on the countries in the region and on world stability."

The international community should "always give precedence to dialogue, never isolate a country or a government," Tauran said, adding that "We must be careful not to confuse justice with revenge and make sure that entire peoples suffer for the cruelty of those who carried out the attacks."

While he has condemned terrorism, and acknowledged that nations have a right to defend themselves against terrorism Pope John Paul II has reiterated long-standing papal doctrine that even just wars must avoid doing harm to innocent people.

Archbishop Tauran comments on international situation (VIS)
Attack on Iraq Is for U.N. to Decide, Says Vatican Official (Zenit)
Cardinals outline Vatican peace stance (The Universe)
Would a war against Iraq be just? (Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR, Catholic Weekly 25/8/02)
Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran (


11 Sep 2002