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Peace in Syria before it is too late

· Cardinal Sarah in Lebanon until 10 November for a special mission entrusted to him by Benedict XVI ·

At the General Audience the Pope invites the faithful to rediscover God's desire written in the human heart

The Holy Father appeals for peace in Syria. At the end of the General Audience of Wednesday, 7 November, in St Peter's Square, the Pope returned to express “particular concern” for the situation in the country, stating that he has entrusted to Cardinal Sarah a “special mission” on behalf of the Syrian population. He will be in Lebanon until 10 November 10. These are Benedict XVI's words.

I continue to follow with great concern the tragic situation of violent conflict in Syria, where the fighting has not ceased and each day the toll of victims rises, accompanied by the untold suffering of many civilians, especially those who have been forced to abandon their homes. As a sign of my own solidarity and that of the whole Church for the Syrian people, as well as our spiritual closeness to the Christian communities in that country, I had hoped to send a Delegation of Synod Fathers to Damascus. Unfortunately, due to a variety of circumstances and developments, it was not possible to carry out this initiative as planned, and so I have decided to entrust a special mission to Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum .  From today until 10 November, he will be in Lebanon, where he will meet the Pastors and faithful of the Churches present in Syria.  He will visit a number of refugees from that country and will chair a meeting of Catholic charitable agencies to coordinate efforts, as the Holy See has urgently requested, to provide assistance to the Syrian people, within and outside the country.  As I make my prayer to God, I renew my invitation to the parties in conflict, and to all those who have the good of Syria at heart, to spare no effort in the search for peace and to pursue through dialogue the path to a just coexistence, in view of a suitable political solution of the conflict. We must do everything that is possible, because one day it may be too late.

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With this mission the Cardinal's duty will be “to express the heartfelt participation of the Holy See and of the whole Church in the peace process” said Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Vatican Press Office, and “to express the closeness of the universal Church to the people and to try and strengthen humanitarian efforts of the Catholic Church in the region”. To this end a donation from the Synod Fathers was announced and  to which the Pope wished  to add his own personal and substantial contribution – amounting to a  total of one million U.S. Dollars.

He added that: “the Holy See is confident that the Church's humanitarian initiative will help to ease the plight of those suffering in this current crisis and to urge the parties involved, as well as all who have the good of Syria at heart, to search for a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict”.
Before the appeal to the Pope continued his catechesis dedicated to the Year of Faith, and invited the faithful to reflect on  “that mysterious desire for God” that man carries in his heart. “A desire” -- he pointed out - that “even in the abyss of sin does not die out”. And that, therefore, must be continually purified and  directed to the good and the eternal, “so that it may reach its true height”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 12, 2019

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