Jewish World Review March 17, 2003 / 13 Adar II, 5763
This loyal Catholic believes that, humanistically, the Pope is one of the
many Saddam enablers
It is fairly easy to understand why France, Germany, China and
Russia oppose removing Saddam Hussein by force; all of those countries are
doing profitable business with Saddam, and all of them would like to see
American power diminished.
But Pope John Paul II is another matter. His opposition to
military action is understandable in theory but troubling in practice.
John Paul has sent his emissary, Cardinal Pio Laghi, to tell
President Bush that attacking Iraq would be "unjust" and "immoral." That's
like sending Sister Mary Theresa to tell Eminem to stop cursing. The
president is firmly convinced that Saddam is an evil man with murder on his
mind. Short of Jesus appearing in the Oval Office with an opposing point of
view, Mr. Bush is not going to change his opinion.
The Catholic Church embraces the tradition of "just war." That
is, any use of force must be accompanied by clear and convincing evidence
that only force will solve a situation that is both threatening and immoral.
And since there is the possibility that U.N. weapons inspectors might be
able to restrain Saddam, the Pope believes there are still options to war.
The problem with this argument is faith, pardon the pun. The
Pope is putting his faith in a system of inspections that very well might
fail. If that happens and even a portion of Saddam's unaccounted for 8,500
liters of anthrax are used against people, a worldwide catastrophe would
The Pope does not answer questions, so it is impossible to know
what he thinks about that possibility. We also don't know how John Paul
squares keeping Saddam in power considering his murderous past. It's one
thing for the Vatican to condemn Saddam's gassing of the Kurds, mass murder
and rape in Kuwait, and funding of suicide bombing expeditions, it is quite
another to prevent those things,
So what are America's 65 million Catholics supposed to do?
Theologically, the Pope is on firm ground. Humanistically, he is one of the
many Saddam enablers. If the nations of the world would unite against evil
things like Saddam, and the insanity of countries like North Korea, deadly
situations would be solved and the world would be a better, safer place.
But the world will not unite against evil, and the Pope does not
call for that practical unification. Instead, he calls for peace. Does he
really believe Saddam and Kim Jong Il are listening?
The Catholic Church teaches "tranquillitas ordinis," the peace
of order which is supposed to be imposed by legal and political means. But
as the world has seen, Osama Bin Laden, Adolph Hitler and, yes, Saddam
Hussein has not been real bullish on "the peace of order." Instead, they
have embraced the practice of "violent chaos."
As a loyal Catholic, I am glad the Pope is praying for America
and for peace. I pray his prayers will work a miracle and Saddam will be
removed from power without bloodshed.
But if that miracle is not forthcoming, this Catholic does not
have faith that Saddam will not use his outlawed anthrax somewhere down the
And so to prevent the mass death that took place in Europe and
Asia while another pope was praying 60 years ago, I support the moral quest
of removing a dangerous killer from power. Heaven forgive me.
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© 2001 Creators Syndicate