Sympathy for Saddam from inside the Vatican

Sympathy for Saddam from inside the Vatican

It’s not just some lefty nun in Australia showing sympathy for Saddam. Now we have a curial cardinal in Vatican doing the same thing. Cardinal Renato Martino called Saddam a tragic figure and criticized the videotaping.

Cardinal Martino said on Tuesday that the US “could have spared us these pictures”.

“Seeing him like this, a man in his tragedy, despite all the heavy blame he bears, I had a sense of compassion for him,” he told reporters.

The cardinal said the arrest was a “watershed” development but he hoped it would “not have… serious consequences”.

A man in his tragedy? I can’t believe this stuff. Saddam is a genocidal maniac who felt no compunction about having men, women, and children thrown into shredders and then watching the results on videotape for his entertainment.  I don’t understand this impulse to excuse what Saddam did to his people. Where was Cardinal Martino’s soothing and compassionate words for the Iraqi man who spent 20 years hiding in a wall to keep away from Saddam’s executioners? Where was his compassion for the Kurds of Halabjah who were brutally murdered with poison gas? Where was his compassion for the hundreds of women raped and then murdered by Saddam’s sons? Where was his compassion for the hundreds of thousands of Shiites killed by Saddam after the 1991 uprising?

Yes, we are called to forgive, but we should not also forget, not should we show excessive pity and compassion to a man who is evil through and through. Pray for his conversion and repentance, but don’t spit in the faces of his victims by weeping over some videotape of him disheveled and inconvenienced.

As the US official said in the story, the broadcast of Saddam’s examination was to prove to Iraqis and the world that he was truly captured and that those fighting to return him to power should stop. I would think that Cardinal Martino would believe that it is a good thing to get the rebels to stop.

  • Better still, every diocese should have a chapter of the Priestly Society of Peter Abelard.  It is a society of priests chosen and inducted by members of the laity in the darkness of night.  The induction is a ritual similar to that performed on Peter Abelard (a cleric vowed to chastity) by Heloise’s father and some of his servants when he discovered that Peter Abelard was violating his vow on Heloise.  The society’s motto (suggested by the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:10-12) is “He who is supposed to be a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven and cannot, will be made such by men.” 

  • Well, Tom, if you’d followed all of Cardinal Martino’s pronouncements on Iraq over the past year you would have noticed that in all of the speeches decrying Coalition action against Saddam, not once did he express similar concern for Saddam’s victims. His benefit of the doubt ran out months ago.

  • Let’s call a spade a spade.  Saddam Hussein was receiving medical treatment after an absence of 8 months.  It was a fulfillment of an obligation of providing medical treatment according to the Geneva Convention.  It was ABSOLUTELY necessary to film him and to show it!  ‘Before and after’ images are important as even now many Iraqis deny that it was actually him.

    I find it a terrible shame that Cardinal Martino would waste his words saying that it was wrong to film Saddam when it was good to show the world that the American captors were not beating and torturing him.  The filming of criminals and the taking of their pictures is common practice in the west and for this reason it was imprudent to speak the way he did.  It is sad that someone who is unable to prioritize such important issues holds the post that he does which carries so much weight.  I think he should be submerged in letters and I think copies should go to Cardinal Sodano as well.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion but there are times when these same opinions should not be tossed into the public arena.  For what it’s worth… I just tossed my opinion into the public arena!  -Best, Giulio

  • Wait a minute please,  virtue is good but this is not question of virtue. You say that I seem to be saying… but surely you don’t think that I would think it wrong to exercise virtue.  You don’t know how much I pray and you don’t know how much I study or what degrees I hold.  You don’t know how I live my faith.  My point was that it was not an injustice to film him, it was a necessity and for the Cardinal to speak of compassion in this situation was imprudent period.  Let’s not take the Gospel out of context by doing to the least and to Jesus.  If we were to parade him in public, that would be a different situation.  Normally prisoners of war are not filmed as such but this is definitely not the same thing. Precisely by showing this particular film of him IMMEDIATELY after capture can have a huge impact on the lives of American soldiers and the Iraqi people.  Next time, please attack my opinions and not my person because that is not Christian.  Please be charitable.  Thank you, -Giulio

  • What’s confusing to me is how the pictures of Sadaam receiving medical examinations were at all cruel? I mean, the guy himself looked like he could use a sandwich, along with some Grecian Formula, but the pictures? I thought they showed an inordinate amount of compassion for the guy on behalf of the service and medical personnel.

    If anything, the pictures spurred me to pray for him with the same compassion our government showed him—which seemed, again, visually, like an awful lot.

    [Psst: incredible as it seems, we’re supposed to do that. Pray for folks like Sadaam, I mean. Pass the word.]

  • In that case, I will repeat Guilio’s admonition that you don’t know how much I pray or study the faith and for you to tell me that I need to do more of it is presumptuous and rude.

    It’s not wrong to exercise virtue, but then i think what the cardinal did was not an exercise of virtue, but of vanity and misplaced priorities. I suppose you’re against putting murderers and rapists in prison, subjecting them to searches and public trials, because no more than has been done or will be done to Saddam.

    Peddle your false religion somewhere else.

  • I don’t get how showing someone being given medical treatment and being cared for is humiliating. People are making the mistake of assuming a priori that such videos are intentional humiliation. They are not.

    And it had to be video, or else people would claim they had just Photoshopped some before and after pictures.

  • I just cannot believe some people, looking for every possible reason to find fault with the United States. Saddam was a genocidal maniac who killed hundreds of thousands of people and responsible for the deaths of millions. It’s not like the video showed him being slapped around or tortured, a much better fate than received by his victims.

    If someone I love ever has a crime a violence perpetrated against them, remind me to have some of you removed from the jury pool in the trial of the perp.

    So much compassion for Saddam, so little for his victims. Doesn’t seem very Christ-like to me.

  • Mt 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
    36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

    From Walter:Thus, I was not applying this Scripture out of context. I guess I have a bad habit….I just try to do what Jesus told us.

    Sorry Walter, I still think you have taken this verse out of context and taken what were indications of the necessity of virtue to be righteous and remain at the side of God through eternity and posited the lack thereof on the part of the American doctors who were treating him and whoever filmed him/showed him in the media.  I can understand how someone would think that this is humiliating but under normal circumstances.  These circumstances are not normal.  Did Christ take a whip and drive the sellers out of the temple?  Appropriate means are necessary and I feel that these images were of vital importance.  Even Democratic politicians are saying the the capture was a setup!  This shows that the U.S. troops didn’t have him in our custody all the while as some had suspected.  Best regards, Giulio

  • Cardinal Martino: comt_date>2003-12-16 09:25:51
    2003-12-16 13:25:51

    2003-12-16 11:06:12
    2003-12-16 15:06:12
    The article says that the diocese is involved in the creation of the monument and especially of the wording that goes on it, so that it doesn’t come across as too harsh. The diocese wants to include words of healing and forgiveness because that’s what Jesus says in the rest of the chapter.