After Moammar Ghadafi’s death, Libya must chart a new course based on human dignity and the rule of law, the Vatican said in a statement released Oct. 20.
“The news of the death of Colonel Moammar Ghadafi thus closes an overly long and tragic phase of the bloody fight for the overthrow of a hard and oppressive regime,” the Holy See’s Press Office said in its reaction on Thursday.
The former Libyan leader’s violent death, it said, shows “the immense human suffering that accompanies the affirmation and the collapse of every system that is not based on the respect and dignity of the person, but on the prevailing assertion of power.”
The Vatican said it now hopes the new governors will work to prevent violence motivated by revenge and “take on the necessary work of sowing peace and reconstruction as soon as possible, with a spirit of inclusion, on the foundation of justice and law.”
Libya’s Transitional National Council, which took the capital Tripoli in August, is now preparing to declare full “liberation” of the country that Colonel Ghadafi, 69, ruled for 42 years.
The ousted dictator died at the hands of rebels in his hometown of Sirte, reportedly from gunshot wounds to his head and abdomen. An official in the transitional council told Reuters that his burial would take place on Friday in the city of Misrata.
The Holy See hopes other nations, many of which joined a NATO intervention in Libya’s civil war, “will be committed to generously assisting” in rebuilding the country.
Meanwhile, Libya’s small Catholic community “will continue to offer its testimony and its … service, in particular in the charitable and health fields,” as the Vatican works for the country’s good by diplomatic means.
In Thursday’s statement, the Vatican recognized that the Transitional National Council “is now seated in an effective way as government in Tripoli,” such that the Holy See now “considers it the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, in conformity with international law.”
Vatican representatives have already had contact with Libya’s new authorities. Its Secretariat of State has been in touch with Libya’s representatives to the Vatican in the time since the transitional council took Tripoli.
More recently, Archbishop Tommaso Caputo, the Pope’s representative in Libya, visited Tripoli from Oct. 2 to 4 and met with the council’s Prime Minister Mahmoud Gibril as well as the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
“For their part,” the Vatican’s statement noted, “those responsible for the new Libya communicated their appreciation for the humanitarian appeals of the Holy Father and for the commitment of the Church in Libya,” particularly the hospitals and other aid centers run by 13 religious orders.