News Release

Bush-Pope Meeting: Interviews Available


A former Washington Post columnist, McCarthy is founder and director of the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C. and the author of I’d Rather Teach Peace. He said today: “I don’t imagine that the meeting will lead to anything meaningful, because both Bush and the Pope believe in the ‘just war’ theory. The Papal comments on war are little more than cosmetic generalizations while the U.S. spends $900 million on the military every day. The Pope has yet to tell Catholics for example to stop giving their tax money to the Pentagon, in the way that he tells Catholics to oppose abortion and artificial birth control…. The current sex scandals in the Catholic Church are minor compared with the hierarchy’s support for the U.S. government’s war machine. Until Catholicism becomes a true peace church, like the Quakers, Mennonites, and Church of the Brethren, it mocks the nonviolence of early Christianity.”
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General director of the International Center of Bethlehem and author of I Am a Palestinian Christian, Raheb (who is a Lutheran pastor) said today: “Israeli troops are still in Bethlehem. They seem to want to prove that they can come into Bethlehem anytime they want. They prevented people from taking refuge at the Church of the Nativity as happened before. People from the U.S. have come to help reconstruct the Church and the Center from the damage from the last Israeli invasion, but have not been able to get through because of the curfew. I don’t expect much from the meeting between Bush and the Pope. We’re fed up with meetings. Bush told Sharon to withdraw, he didn’t for a long time, and now he has re-occupied Jenin and Hebron as well as Bethlehem. All these interim agreements have not gotten security for Israelis, peace for the region or justice for the Palestinians.”
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Executive director of Benetvision: A Resource and Research Center for Contemporary Spirituality located in Erie, Penn., Chittister is author of In Search of Belief and The Story of Ruth: Twelve Moments in Every Woman’s Life. She is a regular columnist for the National Catholic Reporter. Chittister said today: “The moral chastisement has usually come from the Pope to the political leaders of the world, so it’s understandable that the Vatican is upset about Bush raising [the subject of] the scandal. If the credibility of the Church is eroded from within, its social impact will be diminished. Bush recognizes that there was strong hierarchical support for him in the last election. If the Church’s credibility is weakened, it stands to be a political loss as well as a moral one. While Bush wants to focus on the role of the Church in the U.S., the Pope wants to focus on U.S. foreign and military policy.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167