Pope Benedict and American Bishops: Preemptive Strike Against Iran Immoral
Despite the hawkish rhetoric that has dominated Washington the past few days, Pope Benedict and the American bishops have drawn a clear line in the sand against any preemptive war in the Middle East.
In a strongly-worded letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Bishop Richard Pate of Des Moines–the Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace–articulated the Church’s displeasure regarding possible military action:
“Iran’s bellicose statements, its failure to be transparent about its nuclear program and its possible acquisition of nuclear weapons are serious matters, but in themselves they do not justify military action. Discussing or promoting military options at this time is unwise and may be counterproductive. Actual or threatened military strikes are likely to strengthen the regime in power in Iran and would further marginalize those in Iran who want to abide by international norms. And, as the experience in Iraq teaches, the use of force can have many unintended consequences.”
This language matches the record of Pope Benedict XVI who throughout his pontificate has implored world leaders to avoid unnecessary conflict in Iran, most notably in separate meetings with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2006.
It is notable that Benedict’s predecessor, Blessed John Paul II also spoke out often against unnecessary military strikes, including the war in Iraq, a prophetic message that was sadly unheeded by American politicians.,