Sunday, December 05, 2004

Did the Pope condemn the war on Iraq?

Did Pope John Paul II condemn the war on Iraq? -- It depends on who you ask. If you happen to be "liberal Catholic" blogger Jcecil3, then the answer is decidedly affirmative, according to his interpretation of the Holy Father's statement "NO TO WAR!" and his plea that "international law, honest dialogue, solidarity between States, the noble exercise of diplomacy" prevail in resolving differences with Iraq (Address to the Diplomatic Corps January 13, 2003).

Jcecil marshalls as well the criticism of Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, that unilateral war against Iraq, without the approval of the U.N. Security Council, would be a "crime against peace" ( Feb. 24, 2003), a charge reiterated by Archbishop Renato Martino, then President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who denounced the war as "a crime against peace that cries out vengeance before God." ( March 17, 2003).

Sean Gleeson begs to differ, however, and has recently joined Peter Robinson at The Corner in his challenge to anybody to email him an actual quote from the actual pope confirming his "outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq.":

The first one to send me any qualifying quote will win the coveted Gleeson Researcher of the Century Award, an honor so exclusive no one's ever earned it. Not only will I mention the winner on my site, I will spend an entire day doing nothing but mention the winner on my site. . . . Just one ground rule: the winning entry must be a quote from Pope John Paul II condemning the U.S. liberation of Iraq. That means,
  • Paraphrases don't coun't.
  • Quotes from persons other than John Paul II don't count.
  • Quotes by John Paul II that do not condemn the U.S. invasion of Iraq don't count.
  • Quotes expressing only a general regret of the existence of violence don't count.
  • Quotes expressing only a general hope, prayer, or wish for peace don't count.
  • Quotes simply urging "everyone" to please "outlaw war forever" don't count.

Mr. Geeson has recieved a few submissions, but none apparently have met his (perfectly reasonable criteria).

As Archbishop John Meyers has said in an op-ed to the Wall Street Journal ("Pro-choice candidates and church teaching" Sept. 17, 2004):

Consider, for example, the war in Iraq. Although Pope John Paul II pleaded for an alternative to the use of military force to meet the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, he did not bind the conscience of Catholics to agree with his judgment on the matter, nor did he say that it would be morally wrong for Catholic soldiers to participate in the war. In line with the teaching of the catechism on "just war," he recognized that a final judgment of prudence as to the necessity of military force rests with statesmen, not with ecclesiastical leaders. Catholics may, in good conscience, support the use of force in Iraq or oppose it.

If those who propose that the Pope's "outspoken opposition to the war" was tantamount to an authoritative coondemnation, we're still waiting on the Vatican to correct the misleading remarks of the Archbishop.

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