French Bishops Says Iraq Doesn't Deserve to Be Attacked

“Possibility of an Aggression” Isn’t Reason Enough, They Contend

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PARIS, FEB. 14, 2003 ( The French bishops’ Permanent Council believes that the Iraqi regime does not represent “an urgent and immediate threat” that would justify its being attacked.

In a statement entitled “War Would Already Be a Defeat,” the bishops stress that “the right to legitimate defense presupposes a real or imminent attack, not the simple possibility of an aggression.”

Among others, the document was signed by Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard, president of the episcopal conference, and by Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop of Paris.

“Our fellow citizens and the leaders of our country are resolute in pursuing with courage the search for peaceful ways to remove from the Iraqi people the evils that already oppress them and those that threaten them,” the bishops’ statement said.

The Church in France considers it important that Western countries refuse to participate in the conflict. According to the bishops, this refusal might avoid the war being presented as the result of “a clash of civilizations and religions.”

The reality is very different, the bishops say. “Muslims and Christians want to serve God, the Merciful One, the Peaceful One, with the courage to prepare the peace of tomorrow in the very heart of today’s violence.”

“Against every temptation to resignation, we invite all to maintain hope, with all the Christian churches of the whole world, which pronounce themselves these days in profound unity with Pope John Paul II, who multiplies initiatives to avoid the war,” the bishops’ statement says.

“Together with him, we say: No to war! War is never a fatality. It is always a defeat for humanity,” the bishops conclude.

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