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Libya: bishop criticizes bombing campaign

March 23, 2011

Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli, has renewed his criticism of military intervention in Libya.

“From last night to tonight we heard several very loud explosions, albeit in the distance, with the counter-attack by the Libyan anti-aircraft artillery,” he said on March 22. “I do not see where all this will lead us. Is it possible that people do not understand that bombs do not solve anything? Once again I appeal to try and find a diplomatic solution, perhaps through the mediation of some African leaders. He who encourages this war must understand that Gadaffi will not give up. This risks creating a very lengthy crisis with an uncertain outcome.”

“The small Catholic community is restricted,” he added. “Today 100 people should depart, including Filipino nurses and workers of other nationalities who wish to leave the Country. But there are still many Filipino nurses who continue their work in hospitals.”

1.8% of the nation’s 6.7 million residents are Catholic, according to Vatican statistics; almost all of the Catholics are guest workers.


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Mar. 24, 2011 8:07 PM ET USA

    Bombs did solve something. World War II ended with the use of bombs against Germany, and when Rome was liberated, Pope Pius XII didn't ask for dialog between SS General Wolff and American General Clark. The credible threat of bombs is partially responsible for ending the Cold War. I understand that the bishop's current status is akin to a hostage, but demanding a diplomatic solution which would enable this dictator to continue to slaughter his own citizens is worse than silence.

  • Posted by: unum - Mar. 24, 2011 8:25 AM ET USA

    What is the bishop's suggested alternative? People are dying as a dictator seeks to maintain his grip on the country, yet the bishop only makes a vague reference to diplomacy as an alternative while he criticizes an effort to reduce the killing by disabling Gaddafi's air force. I don't support the ill conceived foray into Libya under U.N. auspices, but I would expect a church leader to offer a constructive statement or remain silent.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Mar. 24, 2011 3:06 AM ET USA

    I'll risk "a very lengthy crisis with an uncertain outcome" to topple a ruthless dictator with the blood of thousands of innocents on his hands. The most charitable construction I can put on the Bishop's statement is that Gadahfy may be pressuring him for help in stopping the bombing, implying a threat to those Filipino Catholics in Libya if he refuses.

  • Posted by: Obregon - Mar. 24, 2011 1:48 AM ET USA

    "He who encourages this war must understand that Gadaffi will not give up." I often wonder if folks like the Archbishop has ever read, "All that evil needs to triumph is for good people to do nothing." Perhaps we should not have gone against Hitler because,like Gadaffi, he was not going to give up.