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Envoy reveals Pope's fears for an "ungovernable" Middle East

The Pope is worried that the Middle East will be destabilised and that the almost certain war against Iraq will mark the beginning of an "ungovernable situation", according to Cardinal Pio Laghi, the papal envoy who recently met with George W. Bush in Washington.

Laghi, former apostolic nuncio in Washington, dined with the Pope at the weekend to give him details of his meeting with the US president. He was unable to do so earlier, since the Holy Father was on his annual Lenten retreat.

"The issue of peace was always present in the Pope's prayer during this retreat, in which I also participated," the cardinal later told the press.

"And among the weapons we still have to stave off the war, first of all is prayer," the cardinal stressed. "We have prayed and continue to pray that the world will have confidence in the power of peace.

"We insist on Iraq's disarmament but we hope it can be obtained without unleashing a war. I expressed this hope to Bush, and this hope persists: Let us not abandon hope, but of course today things have become very complicated."

On Ash Wednesday, Laghi delivered a note from the Pope to Bush, as part of the Holy Father's peace efforts in the Iraqi crisis.


French MP urges Pope to become Iraq human shield (Reuters)
War is Not Legal Without A New Resolution and Will be Morally Unjust (Catholic Commission For Justice Development and Peace, Archdiocese of Melbourne)
War On Iraq A Crime Against Peace: Vatican Prelate [Archbishop Renato Martino] (
Iraqis, foreigners brace for war (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Catholic Primate prays for peace (Irish Examiner)
Pope John Paul II not giving up on diplomacy (
Pope Urges Christians Fast For Peace In Iraq (Palestine Chronicle)
Catholic doctrine and Saddam Hussein (Washington Times)
Archbishop Renato Martino: US/UK solo attack on iraq would 'smash U.N.' (The Universe)
Pope: Retreat needed more than ever (The Universe)
Pope Reminds Saddam and U.N. Members of Their Responsibilities (Zenit)
Pope calls for continued negotiation, dialogue to avert war in Iraq (Catholic News Service)
Urgent Papal Appeal: "Never Again War!" (Catholic World News)
Pope issues urgent appeal: there is still room for peace (Independent Catholic News)
War, terrorism, and epidemics are equal parts of much larger prophetic picture (Spirit Daily)
Releasing the dove of peace and reconciliation (National Council of Churches in Australia)
Pope makes strongest public appeal yet to Saddam (17/3/03)

18 Mar 2003