WASHINGTON (March 24, 1999) -- The international community must respond to the crisis in Kosovo, but the NATO bombing campaign poses "difficult moral and policy questions," the President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/U.S. Catholic Conference said today.
Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston issued a statement on the bombing of Kosovo and Serbia today. He issued the statement while presiding at a meeting of the NCCB/USCC's Administrative Board and Committee.
"It seems clear to us that the humanitarian objective -- protecting civilian populations, which have already suffered greatly, from further indiscriminate attacks -- is a legitimate one," said Bishop Fiorenza. "What is less clear are the consequences of the use of force."
Among the moral questions Bishop Fiorenza said must be asked are what harm a bombing campaign will have on Serb civilians and whether bombing designed to protect civilians in Kosovo will ultimately result in intensified attacks by the Yugoslav military.
"What is the likelihood of bombing achieving its aims, and what is likely to follow if bombing does not succeed?" Bishop Fiorenza asked. "Finally, how does bombing comport with international law?"
"The crisis in Kosovo requires a serious response by the international community," said Bishop Fiorenza. "We deeply regret that the situation has deteriorated to the point where NATO is now undertaking a bombing campaign. We pray that, while the sustained efforts by the international community to reach a political solution have not yet borne fruit, reason will prevail and a political solution will be achieved as soon as possible."
He offered the prayers of the Bishops for all whose lives are at stake: "the people of the region, men and women in military service, and others."
Text of Bishop Fiorenza's statement.