Cardinal Sodano Calls for the Establishment of Democracy in Iraq

Discussions Should Focus on Peace

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NEW YORK, SEPT. 24, 2004 ( The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, said that the Iraqi government must be supported and that democracy must be established in the country.

«In Europe there are discussions on the legitimacy of the new executive and perhaps the judgment of history on the intervention in Iraq will be severe. But it must be considered a fact that this child has been born. It might be illegitimate but it is now there, and it must be educated and raised,» he explained.

Cardinal Sodano expressed these convictions in an interview published Sept. 22, by the Italian newspaper La Stampa when in New York to receive the «Path to Peace Award.» He was also participating in a U.N. conference on world hunger.

«Judgments on the present situation in Iraq are very contradictory according to the political orientation of those trying to examine the situation with an all-embracing view. But we should all be in agreement on one point: we must now help the peoples who live between the Tigris and Euphrates to live in peace and to be reconciled with one another.»

«They have already suffered too much. Now the government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi must be helped. Soon this government will send an ambassador to the Holy See. The latter is already present in Baghdad with its apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, who in these difficult times has always stayed in Iraq.»

«The present challenge is that of reconciliation. This is the challenge launched by the Christians in Iraq,» he added.

«The terrorists know that if a stable democracy is installed in Baghdad it would reopen the question of the situation of neighboring countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, where one still goes to prison for possessing a Crucifix,» he concluded.

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