Prospect of War Lamented by European Bishops

ROME, OCT. 9, 2002 ( The prospect of a war against Iraq is “terrible,” while “the interminable tragedy” occurring in the Holy Land demands the intervention of political leaders, a Catholic European bishops’ council says.

Prelates published their appeal at the conclusion of the general assembly of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, which ended Monday in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“Leaders in Europe and the world have the serious obligation to protect the global common good against any threat to peace through all the nonviolent means at their disposal,” the presidents of the episcopal conferences said in a statement.

“There is no real peace without justice,” they added, recalling the Pope’s words. They also referred to possible violations of “fundamental human rights” in some areas such as Bosnia and southeastern Europe or Russia, where the Catholic Church is “being tested by the unmotivated expulsions of a bishop and several priests.”

The Catholic leaders appeal for “closer solidarity and cooperation to defend the right to religious liberty and to re-establish ecumenical relations of trust with the Orthodox Church.”