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Vatican's 'global disdain' for Iraq prison abuse

The Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper headlined its editions yesterday with reports of abuse of Iraqi prisoners by the US military, saying the scandal had earned America the disdain of world public opinion.

"Mankind has been scarred," read the headline of the front-page story, which focused on the public reaction to reports of abuse at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, where photographs show Iraqi prisoners being abused by smiling American guards.

The Australian reports that it said it seemed Americans had been shocked the most to learn that US soldiers were responsible.

"Beyond the accusations of the policies of the US administration in many parts of the world, it is in fact the American people themselves who are the most hurt to learn that this scarring of mankind, represented by torture, could have been perpetrated under their flag and in an unequivocal and inadmissible contrast to the principles of a great democracy," it said.

The story said the allegations had earned the United States the "general disdain of the press and public opinion and prompted tough comments in the US Congress".

Catholic World News reports that the Vatican's former chief foreign-policy official Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran told the Italian daily La Stampa warned that the international outrage provoked by photos of abuse would make it more difficult to build a lasting peace in the Middle East.

"When human dignity is trampled in this way, barriers are set up," the cardinal said. The shocking photos, he said, would have "a terrible impact on people - not just among Arabs, but worldwide."

The release of the photos, he said, has created a "very grave" new problem for peacekeeping efforts.

Vatican's 'global disdain' for abuse (The Australian 6/5/04)
Vatican joins criticism of Iraqi prison abuse (Catholic World News 6/5/04)

Letter asks what US military knew about Iraqi torture (Ekklesia 6/5/04)
A Wretched New Picture Of America (Washington Post 5/5/04)
Pope Urges More Education of Seminarians (The Guardian/Associated Press 6/5/04)
Pope tells visiting bishops to pay closer attention to seminaries (Associated Press/Detroit Free Press 6/5/04)
Pope prods US bishops on seminary training (Catholic World News 6/5/04)
33 New Swiss Guards Poised for Swearing In (Zenit 5/5/04)
Holy See Recognizes India's First International Shrine (Zenit 5/5/04)
Pope to U.S. Bishops on spirituality of communion and mission (Vatican Information Service 6/5/04)
Swiss Guards: Always be faithful to your mission (Vatican Information Service 6/5/04)

7 May 2004