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June 04, 2004



Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo is the architect of the Vatican's policy vis a vis the GWOT. For a Catholic administrator, he is curiously devout in his devotion to a New World Order led by the UN, and has led our increasingly senile Pope down this path. He is roundly and routinely criticized by Catholics as an utter hypocrite, at least on this side of the pond.

In the end, the Catholic church itself is construct of man, and suffers from "structural sins". That was the just basis for the Reformation in the first place, regardless of how misguided some of the protestant sects have become. I continue to attend, but I always keep in mind that priests are mere men, and were ordained by mere men, and the suffer worldly mistakes, ambitions, and biases of mere men.


"Terrorism is unlimited warfare; it can be controlled only by superior force..."

This is an assumption. Not proven. Terrorism has not yet been controlled by anything. Those who supported war, supported the coalition once war began or support rebuilding still, do need to continue to think about these assumptions and be prepared to alter behavior if superior understandings emerge, even if at some future point terrorism is "controlled" by force. That still doesn't prove that force is the only or best way to deal with terrorism.


Well, to be fair few things can't be controlled by superior force - conceptually, an open-ended commitment to force would be able to wipe them out. The question (seeming more and more pertinent) is whether we've got the will to see it through.

Re the Pope's intervention... I think Oliver's right that the Vatican's foreign affairs position is highly confused. George Weigel had a good article in First Things last month on just this point. Referring to the Tauran line quoted: "To justify an undefined 'law of force' over against the 'force of law' in an absolute antinomy seems unsatisfactory ... All law, of whatever sort, ultimately requires the sanction of enforcement if 'law' is to mean anything other than a vague expression of good intentions." In terms of the UN: "not every institution, agency or process that labels itself 'international' constitutes an advance for the cause of humanity and for the struggle to build the peace of order in world politics. Some are; some are not."

As Weigel points out, Lajolo's recent statements only compound the confusion, like when he said: "Certainly there is the need for prompt intervention, indeed prevention of acts of terrorism." But then he goes onto repeat the same old platitudes about the UN.

The shame here is that JP2's pontificate has been almost defined by its drive for an intellectual revitalisation of the Church (from the Theology of the Body to Centesimus annus to Veritatis splendor). Regardless of your view of their merits, you can't deny the Pope has worked hard to provide a new basis for Catholic thinking in the 21st century. But on foreign and defence policy? Complete chaos. As Weigel points out, the same Church that had played such an important role in the Cold War defeat of Communism couldn't even bring itself to support military action against Iraq in 1991 - when the UN Security Council did back it.


Oops. Prize prat like I am, linked to the wrong Weigel article. The right one is here. The other one's good too, but not directly relevant here.

Martin Adamson

What I found nauseatingly hypocritical about the Pope's public criticisms of Bush and the US was the contrast with the last time the Pope met an important Iraqi political figure - Tariq Aziz in February 2003


No public dressing down on the subjects of unilateral aggression, jail conditions in Abu Ghraib, state lies, or respect for human rights or international democratic norms then.

Andrew Ian Dodge

Here is how I would have prefered that chat to have gone.

Hypocrisy in the doings of the Catholic Church? Never!

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