Vatican Aide Calls for Options to Military Attack on Iraq

Says Pacifism Should Not Be Sought at All Costs

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FLORENCE, Italy, SEPT. 24, 2002 ( A Vatican aide at the U.N. offices in Geneva urged those who oppose a military attack on Iraq to offer viable solutions to safeguard peace.

«We are in favor of dialogue but also of respect for international law,» Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, permanent observer of the Vatican at the United Nations offices, said Sunday, when he addressed a congress of 60 ecclesial associations, groups and movements.

«Provision is made for the use of force, but the decision to apply it corresponds only to the U.N. Security Council,» he added.

The participants at the congress proclaimed a manifesto with the theme «Peace: Essential Condition for Global Development.»

Archbishop Martin stressed that «a sense of responsibility is more necessary now than ever before. The recourse to force is always and in every way a failure.»

The Vatican official also pointed out that the United Nations «must not be used to further the interests of one party. To impede it from fulfilling its mission would result in great danger for all.»

However, Archbishop Martin did not favor pacifism at all costs. «In these difficult times, those who reject the use of force must also be responsible for explaining the way in which it can be avoided,» he said.

In particular, he exhorted Catholics to «dirty their shoes,» in addressing problems together, and in convincing «governments to invest in people and to commit themselves to a preferential option for each poor human being.»

In the struggle against terrorism, there must be «respect for the state of law and the coexistence of peoples,» the archbishop concluded.

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