October 11, 2004


Vatican buries the hatchet with Blair and Bush over Iraq (Julian Coman and Bruce Johnston, 10/10/2004, Daily Telegraph)

Senior Vatican officials have decided to put aside their differences with Tony Blair over the war in Iraq, calling for multinational troop reinforcements to secure the country's fledgling democracy. [...]

Now, in light of the post-war chaos, Cardinal Sodano has announced a newly hawkish line on Iraq from Rome. "The child has been born," he declared recently on behalf of the Vatican. "It may be illegitimate, but it's here, and it must be reared and educated."

Despite the Vatican's vociferous opposition to the war, the bloody terrorist attacks and the continuing insurgency have convinced the Pope that only an increased military presence, including Nato troops, can secure peace.

"There is a feeling that there really is no going back," said a Vatican adviser.

In a trenchant interview in the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, Cardinal Sodano said that as the crisis in Iraq deepened, the time had come to forget past differences over the decision to invade.

His comments appear to be part of an orchestrated campaign to galvanise military and financial support for a democratic Iraq among critics of the war such as France and Germany.

As anyone who's ever been to a 12 step program will tell you, the other family members change their own behavior to accommodate the most dysfunctional member's. All Bush/Blair/Howard had to do was keep bulling forward and it was inevitable that the rest would come along in their wake.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 11, 2004 4:17 PM

The Vatican's foreign policy remains "objectively disordered" given its apparent inability to accept and act upon the operational effects of original sin. Note too the willingness to urge abortion of Iraq liberty pre-war and the churlish acceptance of the free but illigitamate baby. Vile, all the way down.

Posted by: luciferous at October 11, 2004 4:57 PM

I so don't care what the Vatican think about this or any other "cough" pedifiles "cough" issue.

Posted by: Rick T. at October 11, 2004 5:03 PM

Perhaps the next Pope will be as interested in the freedoms of those in Syria, Iran, etc., as JPII was of Eastern Europe. It's understandable that the Church is sensitive about seeing as coming on too strong against non-Christian governments, but it'd also be nice if it didn't take the position that morality can come through trust in the UN, rather than, oh I don't know, GOD, perhaps?

Posted by: brian at October 11, 2004 5:07 PM

The Pope blamed 9/11 on poverty in the Middle East, and implied that the developed world had an obligation to allevaite it; this, despite the fact that the hijackers were middle class. In essence, he blamed 9/11 on the United States. His work against the Soviets was damned remarkable, and his rejection of liberation theology the end of communist hopes in Latin America, but his Euro-Socialist prattle doesn't travel well to the political realities we face today. RETIRE for God's sake.

Posted by: JimGooding at October 11, 2004 5:26 PM


That would be something, if the next pope were an Assyrian who had stood up to Saddam and was standing up to Islamic/Arab suprematism now.

Ain't gonna happen, of course, not least because the Arabs and Muslims are nowhere near the stage of decline that the Soviets were in 1979.

Posted by: Eugene S. at October 11, 2004 5:56 PM

I guess Ashcroft must have threatened an action against several Catholic archdioceses on RICO grounds because of their role in aiding, abetting, and covering up for pedophile rapists. Were the Catholic Church a garden-variety crime family like the Gambinos or the Luccheses, this would have been done a long time ago.

Posted by: Bart at October 11, 2004 6:56 PM

This is good news, after the thoroughly mindless drivel they put forward as reasons not to do Iraq.
Despite past hard feelings, at some point evildoers and past proponents of evildoing, such as the Vatican, must be allowed parole, if we are to move forward.
The US now have nominally friendly relations with Germany, Japan, and Russia, for instance.


Just so.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 12, 2004 7:18 AM

The Pope and the Roman Curia have a much different perspective on world affairs as managers of a worldwide consitutuency of over a billion souls than the US government.

It is not the role of the Catholic Church to bless anyone's war. While we may see the war as necessary to cut the Gordion knot in the Middle East - it is worth pointing out that neither the people who made that decision nor us talking about it online here had to actually fight or die in it. The Pope was taking the side of the people who did. We can be smug about it because it's not our limbs that are blown off, our faces that are mangled, or the funerals of our friends and family we must attend.

Ah, but it's worth it we say.

War does not guarantee results - the Vatican knows this. All it guarantees is that people will be dead. For all our talk and bluster, we have no way to guarantee that post-Saddam Iraq will be better next year or in 5 years. What if we're wrong about Iraq and next year everything goes to pot and a terrible civil war breaks out? From the perspective of US interests, so what? We've accomplished what we needed to do. A civil war is regrettable, but outside our scope and we move on. It is not outside the scope of the Vatican.

The Pope is not a Euro-socialist - but Catholic teaching has a preferential option in favor of the poor and the oppressed. The Church knows full well what goes on in the Middle East because they have bishops there. Church teachings and actions in those oppressed lands are doing far more - and far more consistently - in opposing tyranny than the US government which is always willing to accomodate dictators if it is in our interest to do so.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at October 12, 2004 12:20 PM

A Catholic prelate declares a democracy illegitimate?

Nice to know some things never change.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 12, 2004 12:40 PM

Chris Durnell:

An interesting view into Catholic perception.

Not all of us jabbering online are as you depict. If you assume that the only people in favor of the Iraqi pacification are those not at risk, you're in error.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 12, 2004 5:00 PM


9-11 was a function of root causes.

Posted by: oj at October 12, 2004 5:05 PM


Where is the Church alleviating the suffering of the politically oppressed in the Middle East?

Posted by: oj at October 12, 2004 5:07 PM

Or anywhere else?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 12, 2004 9:33 PM

The only good news from Europe is that the Catholic Church looks like it is on the Express Bus to the dungheap of history, and not a moment too soon.

Posted by: Bart at October 12, 2004 10:33 PM


The rising world--Asia, Africa, Latin America--is Christianizing. The dying world--Europe, Canada, Blue America--de-Christianizing.

Posted by: oj at October 12, 2004 11:18 PM

Asia, Africa and Latin America are Christianizing, and Latin America is de-Romanizing much to its benefit. Guatemala is today close to 50% Protestant and evangelical Protestantism has made significant inroads into Mexico, Brazil,Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and elsewhere in the region. In Hispanic areas in the US, storefront Protestant 'Iglesias' are commonplace.

The dominant form of Christianity in Asia and Africa is also evangelical Protestant.

The American parishioner is the financial backbone of the Catholic Church. As the Church continues to be mired in the most disgusting possible scandal, and as long as it continues to stonewall, to lie, and to deny the simple fact of the scandal's existence, it will continue to alienate precisely those parishioners who, because they take moral issues seriously, are its most important clientele. When the Church takes anti-American positions on matters of foreign policy or anti- capitalist positions on matters of economic policy, it alienates those same parishioners. Middle class American Catholics have been fully imbued with the 'American Creed' despite the Church's best efforts to maintain separatism.

My Jewish denomination faces the same problem that mainline Protestantism faces. Reform is engaged in defining its theology as whatever the left wing of the Democratic Party believes in at the moment, and is not true to its 18th century European roots, let alone Torah and Talmud. If I wanted to be Unitarian or Ethical Culture, I'd be Unitarian or Ethical Culture.

Just as millions of Mainline Protestants and Catholics have opted for evangelical Protestant denominations, many Reform Jews, including most of my relatives, opt for more strict forms of Judaism, but I ain't changing my eating habits for nuttin'. And I'm too obsessive-compulsive to be Sabbath-observant.

Posted by: Bart at October 13, 2004 9:24 AM

Which is why Judaism's days are numbered while the Church just keeps growing.

Posted by: oj at October 13, 2004 9:29 AM

Orthodoxy is increasing dramatically while Reform is on the skateboard to oblivion. Because it is no longer necessary to compromise with the gentile world to get the necessary education for advancement in society, one can remain traditional without losing anything. Also, for many people, Orthodoxy provides a missing sense of community where too many of us 'bowl alone.'

Speaking personally, I don't think this is a positive development as Orthodoxy,even in its most modern variants, requires a separation from the rest of the world which is not good for us as individuals or as a commmunity. When I see my younger cousins speaking English with definable Jewish accents, which their parents don't have, I get extremely upset.

As Reform moves into codifying the left-wing of the Democratic Party into its theology, I'll have to move elsewhere. If I could get over my doubt as to Christ's divinity as distinguished from his importance, I could easily make the leap to Christian Reformed(not Reformed Church in America), Church of Christ(not United Church of Christ), Covenant Presbyterianism(not PCUSA) or Southern Baptist(not American Baptist).

Posted by: Bart at October 13, 2004 11:17 AM