Prelate Questions Morality of Libya Bombings

Maghreb, European Bishops Stress Plight of Migrants

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TRIPOLI, Libya, MAY 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The apostolic vicar of Tripoli is questioning the decision to bomb Libya, noting that peaceful methods should be primarily employed to resolve conflict.

Archbishop Giovanni Martinelli asserted, “I certainly do not want to interfere with the political activity of anyone, but I have a duty to declare that the bombings are immoral,” Fides reported today.

On March 19, several countries launched bombing attacks on the Libyan military systems in Tripoli and elsewhere due to reports of massacres of Libyan protesters by Muammar Gaddafi, the country’s leader for 42 years.

The prelate responded to critics who stated that he “should deal only with spiritual matters and that the bombings have been authorized by the United Nations.”

He asserted that the United Nations, NATO and the European Union do not have “the moral authority to decide to bomb.”

The archbishop stated: “If there are violations of human rights, I cannot use the same method to stop them. As a Christian I have to use peaceful methods, first of all dialogue.”

He recalled: “I remember that Pope John Paul II established diplomatic relations with Libya, while it was under embargo.

“This is to demonstrate that the method to solve the problems are not even embargoes and wars, but diplomatic dialogue.”

Archbishop Martinelli expressed support of a statement by the Episcopal Mixed Commission Mediterranean-Maghreb-Europe that underlined the priority of political dialogue.

Episcopal commission

The commission meeting, which ended Wednesday in Tunisia, gathered bishops of Maghreb with others from France and Spain.

The final declaration of the participants emphasized the plight of migrants fleeing the conflict zones, while also affirming that “no one can control the consequences of armed intervention that also affect innocent victims.”

The commission noted, “On the issue of migrants, Europe is trying to put into practice a drastic protection that does not always go in the direction of justice and often becomes a source of exclusion and discrimination.”

It added, “On this delicate issue there are two attitudes in contrast: that of various politicians who wish to guarantee almost exclusively the safety and security of its citizens, unfortunately, often for electoral reasons, and that of the disciples of the Gospel that […] want […] to serve primarily the people and defend their dignity.”

The statement continued: “These two points of view could find a meeting point if the money used to protect the borders were used to develop at least food self-sufficiency of the countries of origin of migrants and if resources were secured to allow dignified life for all citizens. The latter would not be forced to leave at the risk of life.”

The bishops concluded by addressing the topic of Christian-Muslim dialogue, stating that “priority should be given to the encounter between people from different horizons that often allows a truer and more spiritual exchange.”

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