This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 19, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, as we mentioned in the "Talking Points Memo," American Cardinal James Stafford (search), who works at the Vatican, has accused the Bush administration of a moral failure in Iraq and insulted the American armed forces. This comes on the heels of the Vatican's foreign minister saying that the prison or scandal was worse for America than 9/11. So what's going on here?
With us now, Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest and associate editor of the national Catholic magazine, "America."
All right, Fther, you know, I came down pretty hard on Cardinal Stafford. Do you want to reply to that?
REV. JAMES MARTIN, "AMERICA" MAGAZINE: Well, Cardinal Stafford, it's really of the piece. I mean, the Vatican has been against the war since the beginning. And I think what the Vatican is doing is responding to the prisoner abuse crisis. And it would be surprising if they didn't say something about that. So I wasn't surprised at its comments.
O'REILLY: All right, but I mean, come on, to say that what it -- was America was fostering here? Below the surface barbarians? Again, I say what is the Catholic Church fostering, pedophile priests? It's not fair to besmirch the U.S. military and the culture in America by that cheap comment.
MARTIN: Well, you know, I tell you, I mean, the Vatican (search) is always -- and the church is supposed to be a prophetic voice. And I think to not comment on this would be against...
O'REILLY: He can comment on it, but you don't have to insult your own country. I mean, the cardinal is an American. What's he doing? That's -- don't you see how insulting that is? Wouldn't you be insulted if I said hey, what is the Catholic Church doing, training pedophile priest says? Wouldn't you be insulted?
MARTIN: I would be, but by the same token...
O'REILLY: You know, come on.
MARTIN: ...I mean, to not say that some of the things going on in the Abu Ghraib (search) prison was barbaric...
O'REILLY: Everybody says that. I say it and so does everybody. What does the cardinal need to pile on and make a point that's been said 1,000 times?
Look, nobody begrudges the Vatican for praying for and working for world peace. Everybody wants world peace, correct? But to take sides in a war on terror, I mean, it looks counterproductive? Do you know how many American -- millions of American Catholics are teed off by this guy Stafford?
MARTIN: Yes, well, this is part of their work for peace. Part of their work for peace is to speak out against injustices. And this is part of the -- you know, as Pope Paul VI said if you want peace, work for justice. And this is their way of working for justice.
O'REILLY: So Saddam Hussein was justice, was that what that was?
MARTIN: Well, I mean, without getting into the origins of the war and whether or not it was a just war, he's commenting more, I think, on the post war situation.
O'REILLY: OK, but in the beginning, the Vatican took an anti-war stance.
MARTIN: That's right.
O'REILLY: Don't remove Saddam Hussein. Don't go in. Leave him alone.
O'REILLY: So Saddam Hussein working for justice, father?
MARTIN: Well, they felt more that there were other ways of getting him out. And...
O'REILLY: Yes, for 35 years though, it didn't work, did it?
MARTIN: True, true. But look, the Vatican's basically -- it's pro-life. And it's pro-life from cradle to grave. It's pro-life in terms of abortion and it's pro-life in terms of being against the death penalty. And it's pro-life in terms of being against war. And you can't be for war and be pro-life. And so that's their consistent metaphor.
O'REILLY: Nobody's for war, father. But I think in this case that the Vatican's got to balance its desire for peace with a realistic geopolitical view. And to condemn the United States as the cardinal has done for the actions of right now seven, could be more individuals, is flat-out wrong. Don't you think that?
MARTIN: Well, I think that the cardinal is not condemning the United States so much as condemning the actions of those people who are in point of fact...
O'REILLY: What are you raising here, barbarians? What is that?
MARTIN: Well, those people, I think, did barbaric actions.
O'REILLY: And so did the priests who were caught in a pedophile scandal.
MARTIN: Very true.
O'REILLY: But that doesn't -- that would be unfair to smear the whole Catholic church.
O'REILLY: Don't you see it?
MARTIN: Yes, but he's not smearing the whole United States...
O'REILLY: Yes, he did.
MARTIN: No, I don't think so. I disagree up with you.
O'REILLY: All right, Bush is meeting with the pope on June 4 at the Vatican, right?
O'REILLY: All right, now is the pope going to scold the president of the United States? What's he going to do?
MARTIN: Well, I would be surprised if he didn't talk a little bit about the abuses and talk about what he thinks about Iraq. And like I said, he's been consistently opposed to this action since the beginning. So I'm kind of surprised Bush is going, because I don't know what he's expecting to get out of the pope. He's certainly not going to get anything different than what he's heard over the past year.
O'REILLY: All right, so you think that the pope will say what?
MARTIN: I think the pope will say well now that you've had this action in Iraq, and now that you're there, you need to act responsibly. You need to bring in the international community. You need to treat people fairly. You need to treat people justly. I would imagine he would say something like that.
O'REILLY: And the president would say yes, I agree. And I've always agreed. And that's what we're trying to do. And we're sorry...
Look, the president doesn't condone this Abu Ghraib stuff.
O'REILLY: He doesn't condone it. Everybody knows it.
O'REILLY: See, what I can't understand, and everybody knows I guess watching here, that I'm a Roman Catholic. I mean, I actually go to church, because I have to atone. I can't fall behind or it's hopeless.
But I mean, I'm disappointed in the Vatican. I'm absolutely disappointed in their naive view of the world. What do you think, that the terrorists are going to stop? They have to be confronted, father.
MARTIN: Well, I say, I think the Vatican is many things, but to call an organization that's dealt with political leaders since Charlemagne (search) naive, that's not one of the things they were.
O'REILLY: Yes, but they dealt with political leaders in a way that has been not great sometimes, i.e. Adolf Hitler.
MARTIN: Certainly, but I think in this particular instance, I think they're doing a good job. I think they're pointing out the need for responsibility in what we're doing in Iraq. That's all they're doing.
O'REILLY: So you're not mad at Stafford?
MARTIN: No, not at all.
O'REILLY: Well, I am. Father, we appreciate you coming in. Thanks very much.
MARTIN: Sure, my pleasure.
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