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Pope says Iraq war threatens humanity

Pope John Paul, in his first public comment on the outbreak of hostilities in Iraq, said on Saturday that the war threatens the whole of humanity, and that weapons could never solve mankind's problems.

"When war, like the one now in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity, it is even more urgent for us to proclaim, with a firm and decisive voice, that only peace is the way of building a more just and caring society," he said.

The Pope, in a speech to employees of Catholic television station Telepace, added: "Violence and weapons can never resolve the problems of man."

The Pope led the Vatican in a diplomatic campaign to avert war, putting the Holy See on a collision course with Washington and its backers in the Iraq campaign.

Meanwhile Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who visited Baghdad in February as a special envoy from Pope John Paul II, told a Vatican Radio audience that the current hostilities constitute a "world war"

He said: "What has struck me recently - and I think a lot about it - is that up until now, in schools we are taught about the two world wars. But the one that has just now broken out, I believe, should also be described as a 'world war,' because its impact really touches the whole world."

Reuters/Catholic World News

Pope Prays for Iraq War Victims (Voice of America)
Pope Says War in Iraq Threatens Fate of Humanity (Voice of America)
[John L. Allen]: Vatican: War threatens U.N.'s status (National Catholic Reporter)
Pope Prays for Iraq War Victims (Voice of America)
Italy expels Iraqi diplomats [Vatican resists pressure to do same] (Sunday Times)
[United States Conferences for Religious Men and Women]: Preventive War Dangerous Precedent in International Law (Vidimus Dominum)
[Fr Joseph Veneroso, Maryknoll Centre of Social Communications]: Say Loudly that War Not Against Muslim World (Vidimus Dominum)
Statement from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland on the commencement of military action in Iraq (Catholic Media Office)
[US Conference of Catholic Bishops President] regrets that war not averted, warns about wartime conduct (Catholic News Service)
[Chinese] Catholics And Muslims Condemn U.S.-Led War War On Iraq, Pray For Peace (UCAN News)
[Pakistan] Bishops condemn attack on Iraq (Daily Times)
Faith leaders in call for lasting peace (The Guardian)
Jesuit Refugee Service gravely concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the war in Iraq (Jesuits-Europe)
The Consequences of War for the Iraqi People (Jesuit Refugee Service)

24 Mar 2003