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Vatican Tries to Save Former Hussein Aide Tariq Aziz

While the Catholic Church holds that the death penalty is wrong in nearly all cases, that doesn’t mean the Vatican speaks out publicly in every situation where an execution is scheduled.

So that raises the question why the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, asked today that Iraq not carry out the death sentence on former Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz.

Although the Vatican has often worked through diplomatic channels to try to save the lives of those on death row – and Pope John Paul did manage to get clemency for a Missouri man once – in this case the impression certainly is that Aziz has gotten Vatican attention because he’s a Christian (and was the only one in Saddam Hussein’s cabinet).

“It looks like the Italians in the Vatican are up to their old tricks,” said one former Vatican official, noting both the Italian fixation with the death penalty, and Tariq Aziz’s close relationship with some Italian Franciscan priests.

Aziz visited Assisi, the home of St. Francis, just before the second Gulf War.

Lombardi’s statement did not mention that Aziz was a Christian, but said not executing him would be a way to helping Iraq towards peace and reconciliation.

While the Catechism of the Catholic Church published under Pope John Paul was very clear in saying the death penalty was wrong in virtually all cases, some conservative Catholics argued that Saddam Hussein’s unique situation might have proved an exception to that teaching.

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(Source: Fox News)

5 Responses

  1. Why is the Vatican voicing suppot for Tariq Aziz? He is Christian, and as such was an anomoly in Hussein’s inner circle; in addition, I remember reading news reports that that his status as a non-Muslim has worked against him in the Iraqi “judicial system.” A no brainer.

  2. Hey, we tried to save Martin Grossman, a Jew; we should not be surprised that the Vatican should try to save Tariq Aziz, a Catholic.

  3. charliehall – There is a big difference. In Martin Grossman’s case, the only witness was someone who very well may have been the actual murderer. Mr. Grossman who at the time crime was committed was so high on drugs that he had no recollection of the incident.
    In the case of Tariq Aziz, there is no dispute as to his guilt and participation in a regime that murdered countless innocent lives.

  4. well I figure if we can attempt to save Martin Grossman (clearly because he was jewish), then they can save this guy.
    “Mr G,” Martin Grossman himself admitted to his guilt. Please don’t fabricate new facts.
    Note on Grossman: M Grossman was drugged up? Apparently he was sane enough to: First, change his car tires; second, he burnt his clothes; third he through the ashes into a local lake.
    So I ask you, Grossman was drugged and slightly retarded? I think not.

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