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Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 12:27 GMT
Anti-war Christians gather in Berlin
Anti-war protester carries cross in Berlin
Many Christians are united against the war

Christian leaders from across Europe and the United States are meeting in Berlin to express their opposition to military action in Iraq.

The meeting comes at a time of rare consensus between churches, who are widely opposed to a war.

Rowan Williams
The Archbishop of Canterbury has publicly opposed Blair
It is being held under the auspices of the World Council of Churches, which represents hundreds of orthodox and protestant churches in more than 100 countries.

The council has in recent years been characterised by internal divisions rather than consent.

But with a war looming, there has been a coming together.

It is a situation reflected across the Christian world.

The Pope and the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop Rowan Williams, have voiced their strong opposition to war.

The Anglican leader has publicly taken on the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, warning of a humanitarian catastrophe, and asked if the best way to engage with an already fragile and desperate Iraqi society is through war.

Pope
The Pope has spoken of his concerns about war
The Middle East Council of Churches says the situation in the Holy Land is the most pressing crisis to deal with.

Much of the opposition appeals to Christian Just War Theory.

Among its strict criteria is that war must be a last resort, after all efforts to pursue peaceful means have failed.

Many are not convinced that the condition is close to being met.

And in the United States, Christian leaders have been at the forefront of dissent. This week 46 religious leaders signed a letter to Mr Bush asking for a meeting with him.

The President's own United Methodist Church is fiercely against his war plans.

One leader said he hoped that Mr Bush's own Christian beliefs would sway him.


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30 Jan 03 | Europe
04 Feb 03 | Europe
04 Feb 03 | Europe
02 Feb 03 | Middle East
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