The Holy Father, in a very direct and forceful manner, spoke out against any form of violence or war in Syria. In his Sunday Angelus address, he abandoned his usual catechetical or theological discourse to speak with unusual vigor about current political events that are taking place in that country as well as in so many others that are planning to act militarily in the conflict.
Furthermore, the Holy Father is calling on all people to observe a day of fasting and prayer on September 7, calling on God and the intercession of the Blessed Mother, to end war and to bring peace.
May we heed his words.
Here are excerpts from his address:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected……
…. in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.
I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me….. With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons….. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.
With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people…..
I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace….
To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative….
I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention….
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!
To read his address in its entirety, log on to: