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More pressure from religious leaders against war

Archbishop Martino
Associated Press is reporting a significant statement from Archbishop Renato Martino in Rome's La Republica Newspaper on Saturday which provides an insight into the thinking of the Pope. The Archbishop is quoted as saying the Pope is "deeply worried" and he "lives the drama of the moment, he feels involved personally". Martino argues "unilateralism is not acceptable. We cannot think that there is a universal policeman to take a stick to those who behave badly." Meanwhile Archbishop Desmond Tutu has unleashed a broadside at British PM, Tony Blair, saying he thought Blair's support for President Bush, "mind boggling". AFP reports that on Friday the Church of England issued a prayer for the people of Iraq for use by parishes and congregations across Britain.

Asked about the idea that some in the United States want the country to act alone, Archbishop Martino said: "It's because American society is very close-knit and it feels sure of itself. Then there's the aggression it suffered on Sept. 11. The fact that they hadn't ever suffered aggression on their own territory played a role in the reaction, which can be understood. Yet it's clear that -- being part of the international assembly -- the United States must also realize the needs of others."

In his television interview, Archbishop Tutu asked: "When does compassion, when does morality, when does caring come in? Many, many of us are deeply saddened to see a great country such as the United States aided and abetted extraordinarily by Britain." AFP says in its report that the issuing of the Prayer Card by the Church of England "looks likely to widen the growing gulf between the Church and the British governmentŐs policy over Iraq".

AP via Herald Tribune
AFP via Daily Times

6 Jan 2003