German Bishops Oppose Attack on Iraq

Preventive Measure Would Be an Aggression, They Say

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WURZBURG, Germany, JAN. 22, 2003 ( German Catholic bishops called for avoidance of a war in Iraq, and said that a preventive attack is contrary to Catholic doctrine and international law.

In a statement issued Tuesday [see Documents] at the end of a meeting of the episcopal conference, the bishops expressed their support of U.N. efforts «to exert pressure on Iraq to impede the production of atomic, biological and chemical weapons, and to weaken, as much as possible, the capacity of Iraqi aggression.»

«The threat can be ethically consented to, in the measure that a political strategy must be oriented to avoiding war, but in no case can this policy lead to a logic of intensification, which in the end will make war inevitable,» the bishops specified.

«A strategy of security that recognizes preventive war is in opposition to Catholic doctrine and to international law,» they said. It is an «aggression» that would «empty the prohibition of violence of content, confirmed by international law, fostering political instability and disturbing the basis of the whole international system of the community of states.»

In addition to victims, among the foreseeable consequences of the conflict is the risk of «very serious political disturbances in the whole region of the Middle and Near East, which would nullify the achievements of the international alliance against terrorism.»

To this must be added the increased influence of «Muslim fundamentalists in the area,» and the exacerbation of the «already deep-rooted prejudices of the Arab and Muslim world against the West.»

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