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Bishop laments war in Libya

Catholic World News - April 21, 2011

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli has criticized the Western powers for resorting to military action in Libya without first seeking a diplomatic solution.

“There has been prejudice against the Libyan leadership, and decisions have been made rashly,” Bishop Giovanni Martinelli told the Fides news agency. “But above all, war began without any attempt to try diplomatic channels, while there were margins and space to do so. This is what upset me most.”

“In 40 years service in Libya, I can say that we have had no problems to serve the Catholic communities around the country,” he continued. “The Libyans are Muslim observants, not fanatics, and very open to others, particularly to Christians. We have gotten to know each other through service to individuals, social service that we have offered to the Libyan population. Many of the Christians who have remained in Libya have done so because they believe in the service they do and are convinced that the Libyans appreciate this service.” Many of Libya’s doctors and nurses are Christians.

“Certainly the crisis could have been avoided if more attention had been given to the needs of young people,” he added. “But the war certainly does not solve a social crisis such as this. In fact, it risks in creating a destructive spiral from which it is difficult to escape.”

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