Pope Francis has renewed his call for peace in Syria, urging international leaders to “find a solution to a war that sows destruction and death.”
At his Sunday audience on August 25 the Pope said: “The increase in violence in a war between brothers, with the proliferation of massacres and atrocities, that we all have been able to see in the terrible images of these days, leads me once again raise my voice that the clatter of arms may cease.”
“It is not confrontation that offers hope to resolve problems, but rather the ability to meet and dialogue,” the Pope continued. He promised his continued prayers for the suffering people of Syria, “especially children,” and asked all those present at his Angelus audience to join him in a short prayer to Mary, Queen of Peace.
Archbishop Mario Zenari, the apostolic nuncio in Syria, echoed the Pope’s call for peace. Regarding a recent poison-gas attack on civilians, he said that the innocent victims raise “a cry to heaven and to the international community.” He said that he did not have the expertise to ascertain who was responsible for the chemical assault, but international leaders should be careful to find the truth and “must do everything possible to prevent massacres like this.” The archbishop said that when the civil war in Syria first reached Damascus he felt that the nation was descending into hell. “Today, after the latest facts, we are wondering whether we have reached the bottom of this abyss”.
The violence in Syria is spilling over into neighboring countries, warned the head of the Franciscan Custody in the Holy Land. Father Piertbattista Pizzaballa told Vatican Radio that Christians have been targeted in Lebanon, as well as in Egypt. “What I see is a kind of instrumentalization of manipulation of religions,” he said, insisting that Christians and Muslims can live in harmony.