Freitag, 24. Januar 2003

Central Committee of German Catholics (Executive Committee) Statement on the Iraq-Conflict

Many people throughout the world are extremely worried at the present time. Will there be a war against Iraq or not?

Experience over the past decades has shown that not only have Saddam Hussein and his dictatorial regime resorted to criminal methods to oppress the people in their own country; they have also been prepared to use military means in pursuit of their foreign policy objectives and to acquire weapons of mass destruction to this end. This policy poses a worldwide threat to peace. The United Nations was thus completely right to take tough political measures to contain the danger of war and to threaten the Iraqi leadership with the possible use of military force.

However, the principle guiding such a policy must always be the need to preserve peace. Every war, even an unwanted and unavoidable war, means the suffering and death of innocent people. Military force must therefore be used only in the extreme case where there is no other way of averting a serious threat to world peace or to peace in one region of the world. The decision to use military means must thus be taken not by an individual power but by the representatives of the international community as set out in the UN Charter.

We do not believe that the evidence available to the international public signals the need for military action at the present time, although the situation in Iraq continues to require extreme vigilance and a credible and unequivocal readiness to use military force must continue to be demonstrated.

It would be a disastrous illusion to assume that the political situation in Iraq could be fundamentally and permanently improved through military action. History teaches us that precisely the opposite is probable. In particular, there is a real danger that military action will deal a severe blow to the West’s relations with the Muslim world.

For these reasons we strongly endorse the declarations and efforts made by the Holy Father with regard to maintaining peace in the Middle East. We call on all the responsible players in international politics to do everything in their power to ensure that peace is maintained in the face of the present threats and to take energetic steps to secure a stable peace in the Middle East which will safeguard human dignity.

(The Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken (ZdK) is the association of representatives of the Diocesan Councils, of the Catholic societies and organisations, as well as of institutions of the lay apostolate and other public figures from Church and society. In accordance with the Vatican II Decree an the lay apostolate, the ZdK is the body that has been recognised by the Deutsche Bischofskonferenz as being responsible for co-ordinating the forces of the lay apostolate.

The co-ordination, organsiation and implementation of the work of the Zentralkomitee is undertaken by the Generalsekretariat, wich has its offices in Bonn, Hochkreuzallee 246, 53175 Bonn, Email: