VATICAN CITY (CNS): Although Iraq has a democratic government, Iraqi Christians were safer and had more protection under former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the future head of the Vatican’s inter-religious dialogue council said.
During the build-up to the US-led invasion in 2003, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who will become head of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue on September 1, had criticised the US Government’s plan of preventative war and said a unilateral war against Iraq would be a “crime against peace”.
In a recent interview with the Italian magazine 30 Giorni, the cardinal said his early criticisms had been prophetic.
“The facts speak for themselves. Alienating the international community (with the US push for war) was a mistake,” he said in the magazine’s August 10 issue.
He said an “unjust approach” was used to unseat Saddam from power, resulting in the mounting chaos in Iraq today.
“Power is in the hands of the strongest – the Shiites – and the country is sinking into a sectarian civil war (between Sunni and Shiite Muslims) in which not even Christians are spared,” he said.
Cardinal Tauran is a longtime veteran of the Vatican’s diplomatic service and a specialist in international affairs.
He was Pope John Paul II’s “foreign minister”, the official who dealt with all aspects of the Vatican’s foreign policy from 1990 to 2003.
His June 25 appointment alleviated concerns that Pope Benedict XVI’s temporary merger of the presidencies of the Vatican’s inter-religious dialogue council with the Pontifical Council for Culture indicated a downgrading of the Vatican’s interfaith efforts.
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