A growing chores of Catholic bishops from around the world, including five senior Vatican officials, has spoken out against the possibility of an American-led military campaign against Iraq.
Among other things, the comments suggest that if the United States moves forward, it will likely do so without the moral support from the Vatican its offensive in Afghanistan enjoyed in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.
The most direct statement of Vatican thinking came in a Sept. 10 interview with Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, a Frenchman who is in effect the pope's foreign minister, with the Italian Catholic newspaper L'Avvenire.
Tauran insisted that any action against Iraq "should happen within the framework of the United Nations." He added that consideration must be given to the consequences for the civilian population of Iraq, as well as the repercussions for the countries of the region and for world stability.
Tauran's bottom line, though diplomatically expressed, seemed negative.
"One can legitimately ask if …