Pope Doesn't Put Bush and Saddam on Same Level, Says Cardinal Tucci

Explains that Holy Father Wants Disarmament -- and Respect for Law

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 7, 2003 (Zenit.org).- By sending special emissaries to meet with the presidents of the United States and Iraq, John Paul II has not put Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush on the same level, a Holy See representative said.



"It is an absurd position, as the Pope has always insisted on disarmament," said Cardinal Roberto Tucci, a member of the administrative council of Vatican Radio, in response to media comments.

"When sending Cardinal Roger Etchegaray to meet with Saddam Hussein, he took this message: an urgent request to take disarmament seriously, keeping in mind above all the evil he would bring on his own country and the innocent population, if he does not collaborate fully with the U.N. inspectors," Cardinal Tucci said on Vatican Radio.

"No, the Pope does not put them on the same level," he said. "Moreover, he asks the heads of state [and] important people of the political world, to remember that in politics it is not possible to forget ethics or international law."

"I think that today it is a characteristic in all fields, that the Church is one of the few authorities that insists a lot on the importance of reasoning according to principles of truth," the cardinal continued.

This is "the enormous contribution" the Pope is making with his latest initiatives, the cardinal clarified.

"What is lovely is that this contribution has been amply recognized in the Christian community, beyond the borders of Catholicism, and by authorities of the non-Christian world," he added.

"No one will be able to say that the Pope has not done enough," Cardinal Tucci concluded. "He has gone beyond all the activities that could be thought of a few months ago to avoid a war."