Unilateral Attack Would Be "War of Aggression," Says Vatican Official

Evil Cannot Justify Evil, Says President of Council for Justice and Peace

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ROME, MARCH 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A unilateral attack by the United States on Iraq would be a «war of aggression,» says the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Archbishop Renato Martino contended that, contrary to what happened in 1991 with the invasion of Kuwait, on this occasion «there is no aggression and so this preventive war is, in itself, a war of aggression.»

«Sept. 11 wounded all Americans terribly, but evil cannot be justified by evil,» the archbishop stressed in statements to the Italian weekly newspaper Rinascita.

Archbishop Martino, for 16 years the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, thinks that terrorism must be combated by addressing «the causes that produce it.»

At the same time, the archbishop recognized that the steps taken by Iraq to disarm are due, to a large extent, to the deployment of U.S. military forces in the region.

The Vatican official explained that the Holy See’s activity to avert the war is taking place at three levels.

«The first is the teaching and recollection of the principles, which is peace,» he said.

The second is the «diplomatic action» that we see «through the audiences that the Pope gave to seven important persons who requested to meet with him.»

Highlighted in this context are John Paul II’s meetings with representatives of the international community, as well as the sending of Cardinal Roger Etchegaray to Baghdad and Cardinal Pio Laghi to Washington.

The third is «prayer and fasting,» which the archbishop described as «spiritual diplomacy.»

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