Iraqi War Could Worsen the World Situation, Warns Archbishop Tauran

“Will Generate All Possible Extremisms,” He Says

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ROME, MARCH 26, 2003 ( The Iraqi war points up a lack of respect for international law and men’s inability to learn from history, says the Vatican secretary for relations with states.

Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran said that John Paul II’s efforts to avert the war cannot be regarded as useless, because the Holy See is a “moral power” and “must be the voice of conscience.” The archbishop’s comments appear in an interview in the latest issue of the Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana.

He stressed, however, that it is never “too late to recall the importance of making the force of law prevail over the law of force. This is the task of diplomacy. It has been and is my task.”

In the juridical order, “we have everything that is needed to resolve in a peaceful way controversies among peoples,” Archbishop Tauran said. “I wonder if they made use of all the resources of international law.”

The Vatican official said he believes that the present situation has weakened the United Nations, an effect he considers “very grave,” since the agency is “the only instrument we have to regulate the life of nations.”

He also warned, “This war will generate all possible extremisms, including the Islamic.”

“We must all be conscious of this,” he said. “It will provoke terrorism and occasion a great wound in the dialogue between Christianity and Islam because, unfortunately, in the Muslim world there is a tendency to identify the West with Christianity.

“John Paul II has spoken many times of respect towards Islam: We all pray to the one merciful God. We hope that the statements of His Holiness will reassure Islam. However, the risk continues to be very great.”

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