Holy See Policy toward Iraq
In shaping its policy towards Iraq, the Holy See has had three goals: to sustain the native Christian population of the region, to guide moral reflection on international affairs, especially in the areas of human rights and religious liberty, authentic human development, and war and peace, and to preserve the conditions of peace and help resolve conflict in the region. The diplomatic activities of the Church today are far different than they were in the first half of the 19th century. Before the fall of the Papal States in 1870, the Holy See was intertwined with the Papal States, part of Metternich's Conceit of Europe as a state among states. The shift of Catholic teaching away from the just war towards non-violence was clearly evident at the time of the 1991 Gulf War. Overall the position of the Holy See on the repulsion of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was cautious in the extreme.