ROME, SEPT. 16, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian episcopal conference, expressed his opposition to a “preventive war” against Iraq, and instead advocated U.N. attempts to maintain calm.
As the episcopate’s Permanent Council met, Cardinal Ruini explained that such a war against Iraq “would have unacceptable human costs and most serious destabilizing effects throughout the Middle East, and probably on all international relations.”
Cardinal Ruini, who is the Pope’s vicar for Rome, said that “without a doubt the most careful and rigorous monitoring [of Iraq] is necessary to prevent the risk of new and major tragedies, whose developments would then be very difficult to control.”
“The weapon of dissuasion, exercised in the realm of the U.N., with the strongest determination and with the sincere and common commitment of all the countries to exercise a concrete influence, can represent, also in this difficult situation, an alternative capable of guaranteeing security and peace,” he said.
“Obviously, the Iraqi government will also have to give proof of realism and willingness to seek and respect agreements,” the cardinal added.
Referring to the Mideast, Cardinal Ruini said that the Arab-Israeli conflict has become chronic, creating “a kind of exhaustion that leads to underestimating the devastating effects in the Muslim peoples’ perception of the Western world.”
The “very great network of international solidarity, which came into being immediately after Sept. 11, seems to be cracking because of growing splits, especially in that first and traditional point of strength which is the relation between the United States of America and Western Europe,” the cardinal stressed.
“Contrasts of an economic origin or on issues of international law, are adding to a very dangerous difference over the means to guarantee security and combat terrorism,” Cardinal Ruini said.