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December 12, 2004
Vatican Supports Tariq Aziz

One of the greater disappointments of the Iraq phase of the war for this Catholic was the reaction of the Vatican to the effort to unseat Saddam's genocidal government. The Vatican ignored the suffering, torture, and mass murder of Iraqis by Saddam Hussein's Ba'athists in order to buy peace at any cost, claiming that the failing sanctions regime and continuing the twelve-year "negotiations" could still free Iraqis from their plight.

Now that Saddam's regime has been removed and the full extent of the corruption and genocide he caused has been revealed, one would expect the Vatican to act in at least mild repentance for averting their eyes to evil. Instead, the Vatican now supports one of the murderous regime's top officials, trying to get Saddam's right-hand man and Western-style mouthpiece, Tariq Aziz, off the hook:

Saddam Hussein's former foreign minister and right-hand man has persuaded sympathisers in the Vatican to arrange free legal advice for his defence against war crimes.

Tariq Aziz, a practising Christian who acted as foreign spokesman for the Iraqi dictator, secured the services of Italian lawyers after contacting a group of Roman Catholic priests and bishops.

He wrote to his family from jail in Baghdad urging them to contact Father Jean-Marie Benjamin, a Left-wing priest who had previously brokered a controversial meeting between Aziz and the Pope before the war last year.

Fr Benjamin, who has said he is acting with the Vatican's unofficial blessing, is now orchestrating religious and legal support for Aziz, the former dictator's deputy prime minister, who has yet to learn the exact details of the charges against him.

The London Telegraph reports that the Vatican's actions might embarrass Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian PM who supported and assisted in removing Saddam and ending the systematic torture, rape, and genocide of the Iraqi people. The Telegraph has it backwards. The seat of the Roman Catholic Church has embarrassed its millions of adherents in supporting evil over the poor and downtrodden, and now it follows by not merely professing peace at any price, but actually supporting key regime players whose rule resulted in mass murder.

Since when did the Catholic Church's leadership become advocates for evil? Tariq Aziz defended Saddam and callously lied about the status of suffering in his country while Saddam and his sons opened the rape chambers and cut out the tongues of their political opponents. Aziz traveled the world, convincing the nations of the West to oppose Saddam's removal by the Anglo-American coalition, knowing full well what Saddam did to Iraqis and others who crossed his path. Aziz could have left Iraq at any time and told the world what truly went on in his country; instead, he remained defiant right up to the night of the March 2003 invasion.

As a Catholic, I am furious that the Church's resources have been given to such a man, unrepentant in his evil and craven in his denials. Aziz's Clintonian statement to the court shows the mettle of the man that the Vatican intends on defending: "I never killed anybody by direct act." Of course not! The Saddams and the Azizes of the world consolidate their power by having others kill, rape, and mutilate for them. The moral decay in Church leadership that allows such a despicable excuse for a human being to hide behind the skirts of the Virgin Mary appalls and disgusts me. So much for the Pope who stood up to communism; I suppose evil only counts if it enslaves the Poles.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 12, 2004 9:04 AM

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