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Vatican considers peace mission to Baghdad

The Vatican is giving serious consideration to a plan that would send a delegation from the Holy See to Baghdad in a last-minute effort to avoid a military confrontation, according to Catholic World News.

During a January 30 public appearance, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran (pictured), the Vatican's chief foreign-policy official, confirmed that the Holy See is thinking of "a concrete gesture" to further the cause of peace.

Although he did not specify what was planned, and stressed that the proposal was still under consideration, Archbishop Tauran said that the action could be taken "in the next few days".

Another possible "concrete gesture" would be a direct personal communication from Pope John Paul II to Saddam Hussein, or to US President George W. Bush.

The proposal for a Vatican delegation to Baghdad was advanced earlier this month. In April 1999, during the conflict in the Balkans, Archbishop Tauran himself led a delegation to Sarajevo.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Archbishop Tauran conceded that a military strike on Iraq would be "legal" if the UN authorised the use of force. "Nevertheless," he added, "we have to keep in mind that legality is one thing, and the moral and humanitarian consequences are another matter."

Catholic World News

"We Are Against the War," Says Top Vatican Official (Catholic World News)
US Envoy at Vatican Defends American Stance on Iraq (Catholic World News)
Benedictine Prioress in USA: War Destroys Compassion (Vidimus Dominum)
Pakistani Christians demonstrate against possible U.S.-Iraq war (Catholic News Service)
Iraqi Bishop Says War Wouldn't Solve Anything
Pax Christi continues to urge diplomatic solution to Iraq crisis (30/1/03)
Catholic justice council questions Iraq 'pre-deployment' (28/1/03)

31 Jan 2003