Vatican: World religions appeal to give Peace a Chance
  January 19, 2002

The Vatican-sponsored meeting was attended by representatives of
Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism
and Sikhism....

Pope John Paul has put the Vatican on a diplomatic collision course with the
United States...

The last day was marred by the absence of Patriarch Michel Sabbah....
 
 

Give Peace a Chance, World Religions Say
 

Sun January 19, 2003 02:37 PM ET
 

By Philip Pullella

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=VOWT4QJC4GNTQCRBAE0CFFA?
type=worldNews&storyID=2070387
 

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Leaders of world religions appealed to believers in
all faiths to work to avert a conflict in Iraq as anti-war protests gathered
pace around the world.

"As conflicts divide neighbors and nations and the threat of war hangs over
us like a shadow, too many people see and employ religion as a force of
divisiveness and violence, rather than a force for unity and peace," the
representatives said in a concluding statement issued Saturday at the end of
a symposium.

The Vatican-sponsored meeting was attended by representatives of
Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism
and Sikhism.

It concluded as demonstrators staged one of the biggest waves of global
anti-war protests since the United States and close ally Britain began
pouring warplanes, ships and tens of thousands of troops into the Gulf
region.

"As conflicts divide neighbors and nations and the threat of war hangs over
us like a shadow, too many people see and employ religion as a force of
divisiveness and violence, rather than a force of unity and peace," the
concluding statement said.

The 38 leaders from 15 countries who attended the three-day meeting appealed
for diplomacy and persuasion to correct injustices and respond to
international threats.

"Opting for peace does not mean a passive acquiescence to evil or compromise
of principle. It demands an active struggle against hatred, oppression and
disunity, but not by using methods of violence. Building peace requires
creative and courageous action," the statement said.

The United States has threatened a war on Iraq to force Baghdad to come
clean on its alleged nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. Iraq
denies that it has any.

Pope John Paul has put the Vatican on a diplomatic collision course with the
United States by condemning the possibility of a war, saying it was
avoidable and would be a "defeat for humanity."

In an address to diplomats last week, the leader of the world's one billion
Roman Catholics said conflict always had to be considered the very last
option.

IRAQ WAR NOT SEEN AS 'JUST'

Days later, a Vatican-sanctioned journal attacked the United States, saying
that Washington was motivated by economics and that a war would spark a wave
of terrorism and destabilize the Middle East.

The Pope and other Christian leaders have made clear they would not consider
an attack on Iraq a "just war," which in Christianity means that use of
military force meets rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy.

To be considered a "just war" by these leaders, all other means must be
exhausted and found ineffective and the type of force used must be
proportionate to the wrong it tries to rectify.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington D.C. told the gathering that
lasting peace will never be achieved until the world addresses the "root
causes of war and conflict."

He listed these as the rich-poor chasm, oppression of minorities and the
"social evils of globalisation."

The last day was marred by the absence of Patriarch Michel Sabbah, the
highest-ranking Catholic in the Holy Land.

Sabbah, who is Palestinian and has often criticized Israel, decided not to
leave for Rome after security checks at Tel Aviv's airport that he said were
excessive for a diplomat.

The Vatican newspaper accused Israeli security officials of not respecting a
Vatican diplomatic passport