iraq ~ the pope says no

  1. 374 Posts.
    Interesting to see the Vatican take on this. One wonders about the Italian govts decision to take up with Bushies mob. Berlusconi would have to be one of the biggest crooks running a govt in Europe... Gotta be an angle for him...

    Vatican assails Italy's defense minister in stepped up campaign against a possible U.S. attack on Iraq
    Fri Jan 31, 1:19 PM ET

    By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer

    VATICAN CITY - The Vatican (news - web sites) assailed Italy's defense minister Friday for having questioned the Church's opposition to a preventive war against Iraq, stepping up its campaign against a possible attack waged by the United States.

    In an unusual slam at an individual official, the Vatican's daily newspaper L'Osservatore Romano called Defense Minister Antonio Martino's remarks that there might be some "wisdom" to a preventive war "a little surprising."

    It suggested he didn't have the wisdom needed for his position.

    Martino made the remarks this week as Italian troops headed off to Afghanistan (news - web sites).

    The Iraq crisis has produced particularly sharp comments from the Vatican, as well as the first major disagreement between the Vatican and the Bush administration, which has sought to court Catholic voters.

    The U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, James Nicholson, has held several meetings with Vatican officials on the Iraq issue. But he recently acknowledged "they were not convinced there is sufficient justification" for going to war.

    Top Vatican officials have been contending for weeks that there is no moral or legal ground for an attack, even if Iraq has stored weapons of mass destruction.

    Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's secretary of state, changed tack Wednesday, saying the Vatican was hoping to convince the United States that a war against Iraq isn't worth "irritating a billion of Islamics."

    "We want to say to America: Is it worth it to you? Won't you have, afterward, decades of hostility in the Islamic world?"

    Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II also opposed the 1991 Gulf War (news - web sites), fought by a U.S.-led coalition after Iraq invaded Kuwait, and became a rallying point in Italy for opponents of the war.

    "The pope was listened to very carefully, and then the United States did what it had to do," Nicholson told reporters.

    Nicholson is arranging meetings in mid-February between Vatican officials and Michael Novak, a prominent conservative American Catholic, to defend the U.S. position on Iraq.

    Nicholson said that if it is possible, the pope would be given advance warning of an attack.

    The spat with Italy's defense minister came as Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi was returning from a White House meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush (news - web sites). "This visit once again proved how important the U.S.-Italian partnership is," said the U.S. Ambassador to Italy, Mel Sembler.

    In a statement, Sembler said he hoped the show of unity would convince Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) to reveal his weapons of mass destruction. "If he does not, the civilized, peace-loving world, cannot afford the price of inaction," the statement said.

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