Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 20, 2003
Pope sees Iraq war as 'very last option'
Pope uses strong words in addressing Vatican diplomats
By JOHN NORTON
War "is always a defeat for humanity."
- Pope John Paul
He cited the threat of "insidious terrorism capable of striking at any time and anywhere," war in the Middle East and the threat of war in Iraq, famine and conflicts in Africa, the spread of fatal diseases, and "the irresponsible behaviour contributing to the depletion of the planet's resources."
"Never as at the beginning of this millennium has humanity felt how precarious is the world which it has shaped.
"Yet everything can change," he added. "It depends on each of us."
He listed certain "requirements" that must be met "if entire peoples, perhaps even humanity itself, are not to sink into the abyss."
First among them was a "yes to life," particularly on the part of legislators.
"Abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, for example, risk reducing the human person to a mere object - life and death to order, as it were," he said.
Second, he called for respect for law, especially international agreements; he said such respect was the foundation of national and international stability.
"The world would be totally different if people began to apply in a straightforward manner the agreements already signed," he said.
Lastly, the pope called for an end to selfishness.
"The lifestyle of the prosperous, their patterns of consumption, must be reviewed in the light of their repercussions on other countries," he said.
The pope said world leaders must recognize that the independence of states, "can no longer be understood apart from the concept of interdependence.
"All states are interconnected both for better and for worse," he said.
In this regard, the pope said, two conditions must be met "if we are to avoid descending into chaos": rediscovery of the "paramount value" of "natural law" as the source of inspiration for civil and international law and professionally competent politicians who are honest, selfless and have strong moral convictions.
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