Bishops Raise Serious Moral Questions about Force While Welcoming President’s Appeal to UN
WASHINGTON (September 17, 2002) -– In a letter to President Bush, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory expressed serious questions about the moral legitimacy of any preemptive, unilateral use of military force to overthrow the government of Iraq as he welcomed the President’s efforts to focus the world’s attention on the need to address Iraq’s repression and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction in defiance of the United Nations.

Bishop Gregory, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), hand-delivered the letter to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice at a meeting at the White House yesterday.
In the letter, Bishop Gregory recalled the situation one year ago when the then-President of the USCCB, Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, said the use of force against Afghanistan could be justified if it were carried out in accord with just war norms and as one part of a much broader, mostly non-military effort to deal with terrorism.

“We believe Iraq is a different case,” Bishop Gregory said. “Given the precedents and risks involved, we find it difficult to justify extending the war on terrorism to Iraq, absent clear and adequate evidence of Iraqi involvement in the attacks of September 11th or of an imminent attack of a grave nature.”

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