Attacks Are Not a "Religious" War, Cardinal Sodano Says

Vatican Official Counsels Bush to Exercise «Wisdom and Prudence»

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 16, 2001 ( Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, counseled U.S. President George W. Bush that last week´s attacks do not signal a «religious» war.

On Friday, when he was attending a meeting of the spiritual leaders of an Italian agricultural organization, Cardinal Sodano said he hoped the West would react to the attacks on the United States with «wisdom and prudence.»

«I have confidence in the wisdom of men,» Cardinal Sodano said. «Prudence must be the typical virtue of rulers, in order to see what is required to achieve an objective. I hope that, once the angry reactions of the first moment are passed, these men who have the destiny of peoples in their hands, will consider what will lead to the good of humanity.»

He refrained from categorizing the Sept. 11 attacks. «It is not up to me to say if it was an act of war,» he said.

«Sometimes, however, there are tragedies that are greater than war,» he added. «I want to underline the tragedy of this unimaginable apocalyptic scene.»

In such events, the cardinal said, there is «ethnic and cultural valence, but not religious. … Certainly in madness, a man can appeal to religious principles, but this is a grave deformation.»

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