War Would Have "Unacceptable Human Costs," Say Italian Bishops

Council Urges Study of Options Regarding Iraq

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ROME, SEPT. 26, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Italian bishops’ conference is urging the study of options to a “preventive war” against Iraq.

In a published document, the bishops’ Permanent Council states that this type of attack “would have unacceptable human costs and very grave destabilizing effects on the entire Middle East area and, probably, on all international relations.”

Hence, they urge that options be sought “to the hypothesis of a preventive war against Iraq.”

In this connection, the bishops stress the importance of reinforcing “the U.N.’s dissuasive role, as well as the converging commitment of countries able to exercise concrete influence on the Iraqi government that, for its part, will have to manifest a real willingness to seek agreements and to respect them.”

When presenting the document to the press Tuesday, Bishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary of the episcopal conference, explained that “real prevention does not come from war but from an effort of dissuasion and removal of the causes that create a context that is favorable both to wars as well as the development of terrorism.”

“War is not combated with war, but with peace and the removal of the causes of conflict,” the bishop stressed when answering reporters’ questions. “The first of these is the tragic situation in the Holy Land, which must be resolved as soon as possible.”

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian bishops’ conference and the Pope’s vicar for Rome, expressed opposition to a “preventive war” at the Sept. 16 meeting of the Permanent Council.

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