'Nothing Positive Comes from Iraq,' Says Pope Benedict

July-August 2007

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's representative to the UN, speaking in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 17, said, "The figures are telling: some 2 million Iraqis currently displaced internally and 2 million others have already fled the country, and between 40,000 and 50,000 are fleeing their homes each month…. In Iraq it seems ‘easier to die than to live'…" (Origins, May 3).

In his Urbi et Orbi Easter address (April 8), Pope Benedict XVI said, "nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees." Apparently, he was referring to the troop "surge."

In the neocon catholic eye (April 30), there was an insert from Maria McFadden, the Editor, saying, "His [Benedict's] words were indeed troubling to many…. They were without question dismaying especially to Catholic Americans who support the efforts of the troops in Iraq, and I can imagine to the Catholic families in the military." McFadden supports the war on Iraq.

Doesn't McFadden know that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) was opposed to the war on Iraq from the beginning?

You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.

New Oxford Notes: July-August 2007

Read our posting policy Add a comment
"...Wouldn't it be better to develop and internation network of information sharing and cooperation. The post 911 period was ideal for that with all the world sympathetic and willing to help. Saddam Hussein also would have been glad to help..." Henry, where have you been? If the UN had demanded Saddam comply with the terms of the UN sanctions instead of playing games and collecting money under the table in the food for oil program, we wouldn't be in Iraq today. If France hadn't talked Turkey into not letting our troops come in from the north, maybe the peace would have been won sooner. As paul37 said, the Jihadists are barbarians that are out to kill us - just what kind of negotiations can you have with them? By the way, what kind of catholic was Sadaam's Pub relations guy, given the kind of man Sadaam was? YOu can call our presence an occupation if you want but it isn't the issue. The issue is what must America do now that we are there. We have an obligation to leave Iraq in a stable condition that will not end up with mass killing. Not an easy task. Posted by: wunsch
August 09, 2007 07:57 PM EDT
The following people warned us about Iraq but all they did was to steal money from sick and starving children via the oil-for-food scam. Today their collective sanctimony is beyond the pale.

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
-- President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
-- President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
-- Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
-- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18,1998

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
-- Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Kerry( D - MA), and others Oct. 9,1998
Posted by: j17ghs
August 01, 2007 01:19 PM EDT
Paulc37 is correct. If the UN would act against Islam and if the Pope and other religious leaders could get the global dialogue to discuss the viability and reason/logic associated with Islam, maybe we could get a groundswell of sentiment against these jihadists and put pressure on the world body to shun and reject them both in dialogue and on the battlefield. In that same vein, it would significantly increase America's ability to fight the war on terror if we could get the dems, the media and other naysayers to start supporting their country and solve the problem in Iraq by pushing for a win strategy not the "get Bush" or cut and run nonsense. None of us will like the results, here at home in America, if we fail to win in Iraq. Bush will be blamed, yes, but so will the dems and the anti-war crowd this time around. Nothing positive will come from an American surrender of what is now our responsibility in Iraq. Posted by: wunsch
July 25, 2007 07:43 PM EDT
Is the occupation of Iraq the way to eliminate terrorism? Wouldn't it be better to develop and internation network of information sharing and cooperation. The post 911 period was ideal for that with all the world sympathetic and willing to help. Saddam Hussein also would have been glad to help ...the al-qaida fundamentalists had no use for him, a secular arab. Had he given them weapons to use against us, they'd as soon use them against him. And at least he protected the Christian arabs. His public relations officer was a Catholic. Israeli govt did't like him, so Bush did a favor for it instead of us.

How come they never bothered to pick up Bin Laden?
Gen. Franks said getting him wasn't his mission, but to secure pipeline routes and chase the Taliban out. Que pasa?

Posted by: Henry Patrick
July 30, 2007 12:21 PM EDT
Some Catholics are getting touchy about even being referred to as neocons. I find it difficult
to believe that even those prominent Catholic writers who are supported by neocons are themselves really neocons. I'm sure they'd rather write about things typically of concern to serious Catholics but have to produce copy in support of the neocon imperialist agenda to keep their jobs.

The following is an email exchange with the Catholic Educator Resource website:

To: recommendation@catholiceducation.org
Subject: links
Why not link to New Oxford Review, for example, to balance the neocons in your "politics and government" section. After all, two Popes have rejected the neocon idea of pre-emptive war.

The reply:
Sorry, but we don’t link to other web sites.
We’ve featured both sides of the war question though George Weigel’s position is posted on our site.
I hope you know the term neocon is a purely derogatory term that no one, to my knowledge, has been able to even define. It is used to suggest someone’s views are so extreme they are not worthy of consideration.
George Weigel is welcome at the Vatican and his views are well known there. He was on intimate terms with the late JPII as he is with the present Holy Father. The positions he takes on war are neither heretical nor are they outside legitimate discussion within the body of the Church.
Sincerely in Christ,

I didn't mention any names but they knew who I was talking about, for one. I should have just said "Catholic neocon collaborators". Maybe they'd like that better.
Posted by: Henry Patrick
July 24, 2007 02:23 PM EDT
The Pope said Islam was spread by the Sword. Muslims annihilated Christians in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq Northern Africa, Egypt i.e. wherever there is a Muslim majority these acting like barbarians killed Christians or forced them to become Muslims.

We had to embed ourselves in the midst of these thugs. They killed 3000 Americans in but little over one hour which everyone seems to forget. Well they have not forgotten and they are here and they will perform even worse deeds.

Iraq is but a battle in a WAR with Islam. Deny that and you may deny your right to security and arrive at the wrong solutions to the problem of Islam. Islam is as evil as Communism and Nazism. Just read the violent verses of the Koran which the captive Muslims must read.

Is there a solution? You Bet!

There must be a World outcry from the Pope and the rest of the world that Islam must tolerate all Religions or face sanctions as it really is a Death Cult terrorist organization masquerading as a religion. It must first, be forced to change its intolerance and then the whole faith must be abandoned as antiquated in the long haul.
Posted by: paulc37
July 24, 2007 05:55 PM EDT
I don't know why Maria McFadden found the Pope's comment troubling (other than the situation is troubling). At the time of his comment, Iraq was (and still is) a mess. The real issue is how to proceed to bring a peaceful end to this conflict. What is sad, is the abundance of criticism of the Iraq situation and the dearth of substantive help to the Iraq people. Those that critique the situation in Iraq find their words only encouraging the terrorists. Unfortunately the people here in the U.S. are divided on how to proceed which portends a defeat which will bring havoc on both Iraq and this country. Right now it is a political issue that the democrats hope will bring them the whitehouse in 08 and so they cheer on the terrorists (though not in those specific terms). As for the church and the international community, they have neither addressed the issue of terrorists in the context of the Geneva Convention concept nor addressed just war in the context of the muslim terrorists. Answers are difficult to find and critique remains a cheap and easy exercise. Posted by: wunsch
July 23, 2007 10:56 PM EDT
If politics is the art of the possible we need to ask if it is possible to change the situation in Iraq. It is not only demonstrably not possible , our efforts have proved counter-productive. As to Islam being "forced to change its intolerance" I think someone needs to study Muslim scripture and history. Posted by: martillo
August 27, 2007 11:56 AM EDT
Martillo writes that we need to study Muslim scripture and history. To this end, it seems to me that the answer is,from their viewpoint,there will be peace when there are only believers of Islam left in the world. So, it may seem that change in Iraq is not possible and our efforts counter-productive but it is, nevertheless, either there or somewhere else that we must take a stand. As for possibility, I think that it is a question of those here at home - what is worth fighting for? Posted by: wunsch
September 26, 2007 08:01 PM EDT
Pope John Paul did not see anything wrong with Gay priests because he was surrounded by them who advised him.

Pope Benedict is surrounded by people ignorant of the war and subject to lies

The facts are Iraq had WMD and they shipped it to Syria.

Iraq was a supporter of terror and Al Qaeda before the war per the latest Pentagon Papers of translated seized Iraqi Intelligence documents.

September 11 2008 the WMD info will be released.

The big ignorant/lies are being exposed as the Iraqi intelligence documents are made available.

Get This! The police are coming to my house to see if I got WMD. No Problem. I'll just take them next door and the police can search away.

The American people bought into this farce and it is no different than the lies of CO2 and Global warming that will destroy the poor financially with astronomical utility bills as Al Gore becomes a billionaire with his investments that will profit from it. No one asks about the snake oil salesman's stake in this farce.

Posted by: Paulc37
April 11, 2008 03:13 PM EDT
Add a comment