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Iraqi archbishop says people experiencing "anguished emptiness"

The war in Iraq was like a "punch" to the country's people and could lead to greater influence by extremist groups, says Latin-rite Archbishop Jean Sleiman of Baghdad.

Archbishop Sleiman said it is wrong to try to impose democracy through force on a people who do not yet fully understand democratic concepts, including the proper relationship between religion and government.

"This war was like giving a punch to these people," he told the Italian newspaper Avvenire. "It was an earthquake, after which reigns an anguished emptiness, not only for Christians, but for everyone."

"War is simply evil and ugly. If there is truly a need to build a peaceful world, our values cannot be imposed with force," he said.

He added that the way to inspire change is through education, use of the mass media and good example, not by war.

Catholic News Service

Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman, O.C.D., Archbishop of Baghdad (
Rome calls UN to help rebuild peace in Iraq (The Universe)
Iraq: Korean Conventual Franciscans Show Solidarity with Iraq (Vidimus Dominum)
Where is Tariq Aziz? 'Let them arrest him,' aunt says (International Herald Tribune)
Pope's coded rebuke to US (Dawn, Pakistan)
For Iraq's Christians, Easter Is Marked by Sorrow, Dread (Washington Post)

23 Apr 2003