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French bishops say US action against Iraq appears unjustified

The French bishops' conference said potential US military action against Iraq does not seem morally justified and may strengthen a feeling that America applies a double standard in enforcing UN resolutions in the region.

In an statement on Tuesday, the conference's permanent council acknowledged Iraq's violations of human rights and international law but questioned whether they constitute "an urgent and immediate threat" that would justify military action in self-defence.

The bishops said war could not be considered simply as "one means among others."

Even if in some cases war can be justified, the UN Charter and the Catholic ethical tradition see it as so serious that it can only be used as a last resort and under very strict conditions, they said.

"To date, the available information does not allow one to affirm that the conditions - as one finds them summarised in the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church,' No. 2309 - are met," they said.

Catholic News Service

La Conférence des Évêques de France | "Irak : la guerre est-elle inéluctable?"
Vatican reasserts opposition to war in Iraq (4/10/02)
US bishops oppose 'pre-emptive, unilateral' force against Iraq (19/9/02)

17 Oct 2002