· The Pope’s video message for the ‘Caritas Internationalis’ campaign ·
“I encourage all... to proclaim with strength that peace in Syria is possible! Peace in Syria is possible!”: Pope Francis expressed this hope twice in his video message in support of the campaign launched by Caritas Internationalis on Tuesday morning, 5 July. At midday the Pope’s message was made available on the new website, launched in support of the initiative (syria.caritas.org), which allowed his words to echo on all the continents through networks and social media so as to contribute to the charity’s largest relief operation in the world. Caritas provides food, healthcare, basic needs, education, shelter, counselling, protection and livelihoods.
Pope Francis began by recalling that “the war in Syria, now in its fifth year”, creates conditions of “unspeakable suffering that the Syrian people are victims of, forced to survive under bombs or to find escape routes to other countries”, leaving everything behind, beginning with their homes. In this regard the Pope’s thoughts turn “to the Christian communities”, whom he offers his full support “for the discrimination they have to bear”.
Then turning “to all the faithful” and those who “are committed, with Caritas, to the construction of a more just society”, Pope Francis pointed out that while Syrians are suffering, “incredible quantities of money are being spent to supply weapons to fighters”. He denounced that “some of the countries supplying these arms are also among those that talk of peace”. Hence came the invitation “to live the Holy Year of Mercy enthusiastically”, by praying “for peace in Syria and for its people at prayer vigils, at awareness-raising initiatives in groups, parishes and in communities, to spread the message of peace, a message of unity and hope”.
The Pope asked that prayer be followed by concrete works, and he encouraged those who are “involved in peace negotiations to take these agreements seriously and to make every effort to facilitate access to humanitarian aid”.
Moreover, according to Pope Francis, everyone ought to recognize “that there is no military solution for Syria, but only a political solution”, and that the “international community must therefore support the peace talks heading towards the construction of a government of national unity”.
The Pope’s message concluded with the exhortation to “join forces, at all levels, to ensure that peace in beloved Syria is possible”. That, the Holy Father said, will truly be “a great example of mercy”.
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