Whither the Vatican on Israel-Hezbollah 2006?

Whither the Vatican on Israel-Hezbollah 2006?

Some people are putting the screws to the Vatican for what they believe is moral equivalence between terrorism and protection of sovereignty in Israel’s strikes on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon. I’m still getting a handle on the whole situation there, and I haven’t been shy about criticizing certain Vatican diplomats’ past embraces of Palestinian terrorists at the expense of Israel, but I think the criticism may be a bit unwarranted here.

If you look at the statement by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the retiring Secretary of State, you’ll see a much more balanced approach. He does start off by condemning terrorist attacks on Israel, but he says that a response to such terrorism must be balanced. Is Israel putting civilians at risk in its attacks on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon? Is Lebanon giving willing safe harbor to Hezbollah or is it being strong-armed by the puppetmasters in Damascus? Plus, the Holy See understands that Israel is sitting on a powder keg. Any military action by Israel against its neighbors could ignite another war that could drag the whole world into it, and this time at least Israel has nukes and maybe some of the other players too. (Recall that some theorists say Saddam’s WMDs were smuggled into Syria.)

I don’t think the Vatican is saying that Israel doesn’t have a right to defend itself. And those who ask why the Vatican doesn’t speak out when Israel suffers terror attacks just aren’t paying attention. Every time there’s an attack the Holy See issues a telegram of condolences and condemnation of the violence.

After all, what else do they expect the Catholic Church to do, cheerlead for war? (This goes into the whole Iraq War/just war can of worms, which I’m not interested in reopening.)

You can criticize Sodano’s past approaches to dealing with Israel and her enemies, but I think the criticism here may be premature.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli