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Bush Vs. Churches United

How do different leaders from churches around the world view a possible war against Iraq?

January 18, 2003

How do different leaders from churches around the world view a possible war against Iraq?

For a born-again Christian, U.S. President George W. Bush has managed to trigger massive amounts of criticism. Our Read My Lips presents the views of the leaders of the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Why should U.S. President George W. Bush focus on using diplomatic channels to resolve global conflicts?

“War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations.”

(Pope John Paul II, January 2003)

Could the United States have done a better job in building a global alliance?

“I’m shocked to see a powerful country use its power frequently, unilaterally. The United States says 'You do this’ to the world. If you don’t do it, we will do it.' That’s sad.”

(Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner, January 2003)

Under what circumstances can a war be justified?

“War cannot be decided upon — even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good — except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict conditions.”

(Pope John Paul II, January 2003)

What are the alternatives?

“There can be no just war because men have the choice: negotiating and arriving at peaceful solutions — or unleashing wholesale destruction.”

(Combined statement of the heads of the Maronite, Melchite, Coptic, Chaldean, Latin, Syriac and Armenian churches, November 2002)

What is the likely outcome of an attack on Iraq?

“There will be catastrophic consequences if the United States and Britain attack Iraq.”

(Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, January 2003)

Are church leaders convinced by the published evidence that war is necessary?

“There is absolutely nothing new now which would justify us going over the awesome threshold of war.”

(Richard Harris, Anglican Bishop of Oxford, January 2003)

What could be the repercussions for Christians worldwide?

“Christians will be regarded more and more as part of an aggressive and imperialist West.”

(Cardinal Karl Lehmann, head of the German Bishops Conference, January 2003)

Is secret intelligence necessary for making wise decisions?

“The strategists who know all the possible ramifications of politics, miss the huge and obvious things and create yet more havoc and suffering.”

(Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, December 2002)

Are some still hopeful about a possible peaceful solution?

“We must never give up and assume that war is inevitable.”

(Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Cardinal of England and Wales, January 2003)

Do others prepare for the worst?

“We pray it will not come to a war — but considering recent developments, we have already assembled the aid package.”

(Greek Orthodox Archbishop Christodoulos, January 2003)

What is the view in Russia?

“I am totally opposed to any attack by the United States on Iraq. There will be bloodshed if military action goes ahead.”

(Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II, November 2002)

And finally, what is the view of U.S. Catholics?

“Our elected leaders are responsible for decisions about national security — but we hope that our moral concerns and questions will be considered seriously by our leaders and all citizens.”

(U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 2002)