VATICAN (CWN) -- The Latin-rite Catholic bishop of Baghdad has issued an urgent call for peace, and for the end of economic sanctions against Iraq.

      Bishop Paul Dahdah, interviewed by the Italian daily Avvenire, reported that his people have been reduced to dire poverty as a result of the American-led embargo. "It is an unimaginable situation," he said; "not a day goes by when someone does not knock on my door asking for help-- for something to eat, or some medicine which they cannot find." He said that one sad consequence of the embargo has been the desire among younger Iraqi Christians to emigrate-- a problem which, he observed, is common in the lands of the Middle East.

      "Is anyone thinking about the children who are dying of hunger?" the bishop asked. "Or are they allowing political and economic considerations to lead them into neglecting the common good of the people? Everywhere I turn, I hear talk about bombing and military solutions to settle the issues. What has happened to the human conscience?"

      The bishop said that the embargo is "unjust" because its practical effect is that the people of Iraq "are being held hostage: Muslims and Christians."

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February 9, 1998 volume 9, no. 28          DAILY CATHOLIC

Text Visitors to date in 1998