Bishop Power unconvinced by Howard assurance to churches on Iraq
Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday that he respected and listened to the views of the churches on the question of Iraq, but said there were a variety of such views, reflecting differences within the community.
But Canberra-Goulburn Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power criticised the PM's stance, suggesting he is too quick to swallow the "pro-Israel" rhetoric of the US and was contributing to the anti-Western sentiments of the Muslim world.
Bishop Power, who has been a leading campaigner against the war on Iraq, said Mr Howard's speech yesterday emphasised a dangerous willingness to side with Israel irrespective of the circumstances.
"I believe that the US and our Prime Minister would be far more constructive if they took an even-handed approach to Israel," Bishop Power said.
While outlining his position on Iraq in a televised address from the Great Hall of Parliament House yesterday, Howard said "Israel's legitimacy has been denied for almost fifty years by many of her neighbours".
He acknowledged that many Christian leaders had argued against war with Iraq, on humanitarian grounds and on the basis that the conditions for a Just War had been met.
"There is a variety of views being expressed (by the churches)," he said. "I think in sheer number of published views, there would have been more critical than supportive.
"I thought the articles that came from Archbishop Pell (Catholic Archbishop of Sydney) and Archbishop Jensen (Anglican Archbishop of Sydney) were both very thoughtful and balanced.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference/The Australian
Bishop critical of PM speech (Herald-Sun)
Transcript of PM John Howard address to the National Press Club, The Great Hall, Parliament House (13/3/03)
PM quotes Pell wisdom to justify war (21/2/03)
George Pell: The gospel for a just war (The Australian 4/2/03)
Bishop concerned about PM's stress level (6/2/03)
Canberra bishop confronts PM on Iraq war (5/2/03)
[Newcastle] Young People Urge Community to Support Vigil for Peace (Archdiocese of Maitland-Newcastle)
German Catholic bishops reiterate "concern" over US war (Islamic Republic News Agency)
Iraqi nun makes case for peace (Milford Daily News)
Vatican official [Archbishop John Foley] says Catholics should pray, fast to avert Iraqi war (CNS)
Iraqi Catholic woman says military action necessary against Saddam (Catholic News Service)
Iraq: U.S. Religious Organize Peace Initiatives against War (Vidimus Dominum)
Rome v. Washington (The Spectator)
Martini emerges from retirement to urge peace (13/3/03)
14 Mar 2003