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Pope launches veiled attack on Blair

In the week he celebrated mass in the Vatican with the Blair family, the Pope on Friday appeared to attack Tony Blair over Iraq.

In a message greeting the enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, John Paul decried the "wrong" and "destructive" means that are used to win freedom and security - an apparent reference to the government's position on Iraq.

He noted that Archbishop Rowan Williams was beginning his new ministry "at a painful and tense moment in history."

"Marred by long-standing and seemingly relentless conflicts, the world stands on the brink of yet another war," the pope said in his message.

"At times, the ardent and legitimate human longing for freedom and security manifests itself through the wrong means, means which themselves are violent and destructive," the pope wrote. "It is precisely amidst these tensions and difficulties of our world that we are called to serve," the message said.

The message was delivered to the Archbishop by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

Kasper was the Vatican's representative at the ceremony enthroning the Archbishop and he was to give the new leader of the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican communion a pectoral cross on behalf of the pontiff, in addition to the message.


Pope sends gift, message to new archbishop of Canterbury (Catholic News Service)
Pope Invites Archbishop of Canterbury to Keep Up Efforts for Unity (Zenit)
Pope's message to new Archbishop of Canterbury (Independent Catholic News)

3 Mar 2003