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    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    the concept of preemptive war does not appear in the catechism

    “I think we all agree that a war in Iran would be a horrible thing,” Rooney said in an exclusive April 13 interview with National Catholic Reporter. Bush administration officials have described reports of planned strikes in Iran as “wild speculation.”

    Most analysts believe that if the United States were to show serious signs of impending military action, the Vatican would urge restraint, as it did in the buildup to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Though Pope Benedict XVI has not commented on the subject, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in September 2002 that “the concept of preemptive war does not appear in the catechism.”


    Rooney said, however, that the Vatican backs diplomatic efforts, saying it has been “clearly supportive of all the nations working to avoid a nuclear-armed Iran.”
    During past disputes over Iran’s nuclear program, Pope John Paul II and senior Vatican officials repeatedly urged Iranian officials to back down.
    In February 2004, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, the Vatican’s foreign minister, warned Iranian diplomats that “arming oneself at all costs multiplies the causes of conflicts, and increases the risks of their spreading.”

    “I think they’ve hardened up,” he said. “I think they’ve gotten clearer. They’re focusing on this reciprocity doctrine,” he said, referring to Vatican insistence that since Muslim minorities in Europe reap the benefits of religious freedom, Christian minorities in majority Muslim states should receive the same treatment.

    “I think the evolving consensus that the church needs to be clear and strong, that religious freedom is a two-way street, is unimpeachable,” Rooney said. “When you apply that principle, for example, for Saudi Arabia to say, ‘There can’t be any churches,’ is an issue.… You can’t have it two ways.”

    On other matters, Rooney said he believes Pope Benedict XVI has a “keen understanding” and fondness for the United States, including “our faith, our church attendance and our tradition of religious freedom.”


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