Chile's Efforts for Peace Win Church's Praise

SANTIAGO, Chile, MARCH 14, 2003 ( A prominent Latin American bishop told Chile’s president that the Church values the efforts of his government, as a U.N. Security Council member, to avoid an Iraqi war.

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Bishop Jorge Jiménez Carvajal, president of the Latin American bishops’ council (CELAM), gave that message to Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, during a meeting in Florida.<br>
Lagos on Wednesday went to the Schoenstatt Fathers’ retreat house in Florida, where some 30 bishops of key cities of the Americas gathered for a two-day seminar to study pastoral care in a megapolis. Eight cardinals were in attendance at the seminar, which ended Thursday.

According to sources of the Chilean episcopate, the country’s president reiterated that the use of force must always be the last resort. Lagos added: “Unfortunately, very few hours are left and the efforts we have made have not borne any fruit.”

He stressed that his government aims to impede the war and, simultaneously, to succeed in disarming Iraq, within the framework of the United Nations.

“If there is a group of conditions that Iraq would comply with in a brief period, which prove its willingness to divest itself of the weapons of mass destruction, we would be in a condition to continue to advance,” Lagos said.

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