WASHINGTON (November 14, 1997) -- The President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops today expressed the solidarity of the Bishops of the United States with the Church and the suffering people of Iraq, noting that the innocent citizens of Iraq should not have to bear the brunt of legitimate international efforts to hold the Iraqi government accountable for its threats to peace.
"We hear the cries of the millions of innocent men, women, and children who are suffering as a result of the actions of the Iraqi government and the human costs of eight years of sweeping and comprehensive United Nations sanctions," said Bishop Anthony M. Pilla of Cleveland.
The letter of solidarity, dated November 14, is directed to Patriarch Raphael I. Bidawid, the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans. The Patriarch is the President of the Inter-ritual Conference of the Bishops of Iraq.
Bishop Pilla said that U.N. sanctions "should not destroy the lives and health of people who bear no responsibility for the unacceptable acts of their rulers.... We have raised these issues as matters of moral principle, but also as acts of solidarity with the suffering people of your country and the region. .... As pastors, we assure you, your brother bishops and your people of our support, solidarity and prayers in these difficult days.