Military Intervention in Iraq Would Be a Crime, Says Vatican Official

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 17, 2003 ( The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said that a military intervention in Iraq would be a “crime against peace.”

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Archbishop Renato Martino quoted Jesus’ words on Vatican Radio: “If a son asks you for bread, you do not give him a stone,” and added: “To a people who for 12 years have been begging for bread, preparations are being made to drop 3,000 bombs on them!”

“It is a crime against peace that cries out vengeance before God,” the archbishop said. “Let us pray so that the Pharaoh’s heart will not be hardened and the biblical plagues of a terrible war will not fall on humanity.”

“But, what will the Church do now? And the Pope?” he was asked on a Vatican Radio program.

“He will insist even more on the need and urgency for peace,” said the archbishop, who for 16 years was the Vatican permanent observer to the United Nations. “As always, he will be the Good Samaritan who will kneel to dress the sores of a wounded and weakened people.”

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