Pope issues appeal for peace in Syria

Pontiff appears to argue against external military intervention

Delivering his Angelus homily in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican yesterday, Pope Francis said: “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.” Photograph: AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca

Delivering his Angelus homily in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican yesterday, Pope Francis said: “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.” Photograph: AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca

 


Pope Francis made arguably his first serious foray into international diplomacy yesterday, issuing a strong appeal for peace in Syria. In the process, he appeared to argue against external military intervention in the country.

Delivering his Sunday Angelus homily in St Peter’s Square yesterday, the pope made no mention of the US, Great Britain, France or any other western power but his message was clear enough:

“I wish to add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world . . . it is the cry for peace . . . 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 . . .”


‘Appeal for peace’
“I appeal strongly for peace . . . With utmost firmness, I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. 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 . . .

The pope said “the only way to peace” was through a culture of “encounter and dialogue”. He called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, the Middle East and globally next Sunday, September 7th, saying “humanity needs to see these gestures for peace”. He called on all local churches to “pray for this intention”.