From the Worldwide Faith News archives

WCC: Schroeder meeting

From "WCC Media" <>
Date Thu, 06 Feb 2003 18:00:13 +0100

World Council of Churches
Update UP-03-03
For Immediate Use
6 February 2003

Church leaders tell Schroeder: war not a legitimate way to resolve conflict

Cf. WCC Press Update, UP-03-02 of 5 February 2003
Cf. WCC Press Release, PR-03-08 of 3 February 2003

"War must not be considered a normal way of solving conflicts," said World
Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser to German
chancellor Gerhard Schroeder during a meeting with an international
delegation of church leaders on Wednesday, 5 February. 

The meeting, to discuss the leaders' common declaration against war in Iraq,
took place at the close of a one-day consultation convened by the WCC, in
consultation with the Conference of European Churches (CEC), the National
Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCCUSA) and the Middle East
Council of Churches (MECC), and hosted by the Evangelical Church in Germany

Prdses Manfred Kock, chairman of the EKD, noted that the meeting with
Schroeder was requested particularly because Germany holds the chair of the
Security Council this month. Kock shared his hope that with strong
leadership, the Security Council will uphold the United Nations mandate to
seek all peaceful means of resolving the crisis.  

Recalling that the first WCC assembly in Amsterdam in 1948 stated clearly
that "war is contrary to the will of God", Raiser noted that the assembly
took place just after World War II, which was considered by many as a "just" 
war. At the same time, the United Nations charter had also rejected war as a
legitimate means to solve disputes. "Now, war is again being considered as a
legitimate tool... We are called upon as Christians to oppose this," he said.

While agreeing with the church leaders' position on war in Iraq, Schroeder
was careful to differentiate his basic approach. He noted that, by joining
actions in the Balkans and maintaining troops in Afghanistan, he had changed
the German tradition, since World War II, of non-involvement in military
actions. He emphasized that the German government does not want to hide from
military commitments.  

In the case of Iraq, while Schroeder agrees with the US and others on the
need for a change of regime, he questions whether that goal can be achieved
through war. But the church leaders' declaration states that "pre-emptive
military strike and war as a means to change the regime of a sovereign state
are immoral and in violation of the UN Charter." The church leaders and
Schroeder did agree that more time should be given for the weapons inspectors
to do their work, and for pressure to be applied so that any weapons of mass
destruction could be destroyed.  

The church delegation met with Schroeder as US secretary of state Colin
Powell was addressing the UN Security Council. Schroeder welcomed the
initiative of sharing evidence regarding Iraq and weapons of mass
destruction, and noted that Germany gave all the evidence it had back in
November. But he emphasized that solutions to the crisis other than war must
be found to achieve disarmament. 

Raiser emphasized the point made in the consultation's declaration that the
principles of the UN Charter "strictly limit the legitimate use of military
force", and expressed the hope that Germany, as chair of the Security
Council, would uphold the ideals of the UN to work towards an international
order committed to peace and reconciliation.

The declaration from the consultation can be found at: 

Photos from the consultation are available at 

For further information, please contact the Media Relations Office,  tel: +41
(0)22 791 64 21 / (41 22) 791 61 53


The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in
more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian
traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works
cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which
meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in
1948 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary
Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.

World Council of Churches
Media Relations Office
Tel: (41 22) 791 6153 / 791 6421
Fax: (41 22) 798 1346

PO Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

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