The Vatican opposed the American invasion but now supports the American presence!
So during the months of the war in Iraq, various and sometimes opposing approaches operated at the highest levels of the Church, under the insignia of pope Wojtlya. But these different approaches were essentially reconciled beginning in the autumn of 2003. The turning point was the terrorist bloodbath in Nassiriya on November 12. And the new orientation was marked by cardinal Ruini's homily at the Mass for the nineteen Italians who were killed:
"To love even our enemies: this is the great treasure that we must not permit to be stolen from our consciences and our hearts, not even on the part of the terrorist assassins. We will not run away from them, but will face them with all the courage, energy, and determination of which we are capable. But we will not hate them; on the contrary, we will not grow weary of exerting ourselves to make them understand that all of our effort, including our military effort, is aimed at safeguarding and promoting a humane coexistence in which there is room and dignity for every people, culture, and religion."
From that point onward, beginning with that memorable "we will not run away," the Holy See consistently defined, not as an "occupation," but as a "mission of peace," the presence of Western troops in Iraq in defense of the nascent democracy.
This same realist line, which had forcefully opposed the war at the Vatican, now defended its results and demanded that the soldiers remain in Iraq as long as necessary, to safeguard the formation of a new order, free and peaceful, which, as precarious as it might be, is seen as much more acceptable than leaving this crucial country to its own devices.
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