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Pope Says War in Iraq Threatens Fate of Humanity
22 Mar 2003, 20:20 UTC
Pope John Paul II says the war against Iraq is threatening
the fate of humanity. It was the first papal statement
since the outbreak of U.S.-led hostilities against Baghdad.
Speaking to television journalists in the Vatican, the pope
said weapons can never solve the problems of mankind. At this
time, the pope said, it is ever more urgent to proclaim,
with a strong a decisive voice, that peace alone is the way
to construct a more just and united society.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church said peace is a gift
of God and a humble and constant achievement by men.
The Vatican expressed its deep sorrow soon after the start
of bombing by U.S. forces. The Pope's words Saturday were his
first since the outbreak of the war, which he described
as a threat to the fate of humanity.
In recent weeks the 82-year-old pontiff has spoken out
strongly against the U.S.-led campaign in Iraq. He made numerous
calls for peace and for a negotiated solution to the
crisis. In his efforts to prevent a war he appealed personally
to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and met with Iraqi Deputy
Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.
The pope has said there is no legal or moral justification
for military action and has expressed his concern that it will
harm relations between Christians and Muslims. In a diplomatic
drive to try to avert the conflict, the pope also dispatched
Vatican representatives to Baghdad and Washington.