But one person stated unequivocally in 2002 that invading Iraq would certainly be disastrous. That man was Pope John Paul II. He didn’t need to wait to see what happened. He knew already, because he had the advantage of Catholic theological and social science. He said on January 13, 2003, that war must be "the very last option," even when motivated by legitimate concerns. “War is not always inevitable,” he said. “It is always a defeat for humanity … what are we to say of the threat of a war which could strike the people of Iraq, ... already sorely tried by more than 12 years of embargo?” And he said that international law reminds us that “war cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good, except as the last option and in accordance with very strict conditions, without ignoring the consequences for the civilian population both during and after the military options."
His words strike us as prophetic. These are the points made by many others, but only after we saw how useless and devastating the war had become. Pope Benedict has said that the Church and the State, while distinct, must work together. The Church can provide a broader view, a wisdom of which the State, driven by politics, can never attain. The Iraq War is a good example of how the State, ignoring the Church’s wisdom, did so to its own destruction. Even now, few politicians admit the cost of ignoring the Church’s wisdom. “I would’ve never voted to invade Iraq,” officials will say. Only one man seemed to have that wisdom in 2003, however: the Pope.