Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 3, 2003
Berthelet denounces call to war
CCCB calls for peaceful solutions for Iraq
By GLEN ARGAN
The president of the Canadian bishops' conference joined with other Canadian Church leaders to oppose a war against Iraq and to call for "moral, political and material support" for the country.
In their statement, Prepare for Peace in Iraq, issued Jan. 17, the Church leaders "reject further war on Iraq, the consequences of which are borne primarily by the people."
They also call for "a vigorous strategy of containment" to prevent Iraq from acquiring or retaining weapons of mass destruction. Containment can be achieved through "internationally mandated inspections and ongoing monitoring."
Bishop Jacques Berthelet, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, was among the signers of Prepare for Peace in Iraq. The statement is a joint initiative of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, the justice and peace commission of the Canadian Council of Churches, and Project Ploughshares.
The statement calls the Iraqi government "an unrepresentative regime that violates human rights and may not be in compliance with its obligations related to weapons of mass destruction. . . .
"Outlaw regimes that still retain or aspire to the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction cannot be allowed to stand in Iraq or anywhere else."
But the statement says war is not the answer and it claims that United Nations inspectors have begun to work effectively in the country.
It also calls for the arms race in the Middle East to end. "As long as some states in the region retain or pursue such weapons, others can be expected to attempt to obtain them as well."
The statement further calls for an end to economic sanctions against Iraq and an attempt, including material support for "Iraqi civil society," to advance respect for human rights and accountable governance in the country.
"We believe it is our collective responsibility to accompany the people of Iraq, not with bombs and missiles, but with moral, political and material support."