Law and diplomacy
· At the Synod the Pope’s appeal regarding the escalating violence in the Middle East and Africa ·
“In Syria, in Iraq, in Jerusalem and in the West Bank”, as well as in various “zones of the African continent”, the world is witnessing “an escalation of violence that involves innocent civilians and continues to fuel a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions”. For this reason Pope Francis and the Synod Fathers directed an “earnest appeal to the international community, that it find a way to efficiently aid the affected parties, to broaden its outlook beyond immediate interests and use the instruments of international law, of diplomacy, to resolve ongoing conflicts”. As the work of the Synod resumed on Friday morning, 9 October, the Pontiff took the floor to invite the 266 present at the fourth general congregation “to dedicate prayers to the intention of reconciliation and peace in the Middle East”. With evident sadness and great concern the Pontiff said that he was following the events in those parts of the world in which “war brings destruction and compounds the suffering of the populations”. And since “hope and progress” can come “only from peaceful choices”, he called for “intense and trusting prayer to the Lord”. An invocation, he added, “that means to be at the same time an expression of closeness” to the seven brother patriarchs, the bishops from those areas now present in Rome, “to their priests and faithful, as well as to those who live there”. The homily for the prayer of Terce was given by one who hails from that region, the Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans Louis Raphaël I Sako. He focused on the need to reconcile love and justice. “If love does not exceed justice, the Gospel is empty”, he said, referring to the tragic “experience of Iraqi Christians who, in one night, left everything in order to remain true to their faith”.
Subsequently in the hall, reports were presented from the 13 circuli minores which met from 6 to 8 October to reflect on the first part of the Instrumentum laboris in light of the contributions that arose from the first three general congregations.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 16, 2020
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