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Pope sending special envoy to meet with Bush over Iraqi crisis

Intensifying his diplomatic efforts to avert a war against Iraq, Pope John Paul II is sending a special envoy to Washington to meet with US President George W. Bush, the Vatican said on Saturday.

Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the Holy Father has designated Cardinal Pio Laghi, an Italian who for years served as the Holy See's ambassador to the United States.

"The cardinal, who will depart from Rome in the next few days, will be the bearer of a message from his Holiness and will have the opportunity to illustrate the position and the initiatives undertaken by the Holy See to contribute to disarmament and to peace in the Middle East," Navarro-Valls said.

No exact date for the visit was announced, but an Italian news agency, Ap.Biscom, said Laghi would leave for Washington on today.

The Rome-based US Embassy to the Holy See said it had no comment on the news.


Papal envoy presses Bush on Iraq (BBC)
Pope sends cardinal on peace mission (The Age)
Cardinal Pio Laghi (
US Embassy to the Holy See
US Ambassador to Vatican stands firm after archbishop's attack (28/2/03)
US [Govt envoy] theologian tells Vatican officials war would be self-defence (12/2/03)

Pope says all avenues to peace must be explored (Reuters)
Italy: Civil disobedience targets US military (Green Left)
Pope sends delegate with message to Washington (AGI)
What kind of ashes? (National Council of Churches in Australia)
Damage to Anti-War Banner at St Mary's Church [South Brisbane]
[Adelaide] Loreto students to walk against war (The Advertiser)
Japanese Bishops Oppose War To Resolve Iraqi Crisis (UCAN News)
Catholics Are Told to Pray for Peace (Washington Post)
Attack on Iraq not justified, based on available info, says cardinal [McCarrick of Washington] (Catholic News Service)
Jerusalem, Sarajevo, Baghdad prelates ask politicians: Say no to war (Catholic News Service)
Top official briefs ambassadors on Vatican's position on Iraqi war (Catholic News Service)
Pope recalls war's hardships (AP)

3 Mar 2003