Aide: We Must Oppose Disintegration in Arab World

Calls for Conversion to a Dialogue of Reconciliation

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 13, 2011 ( As the situation in Syria drags on, it could be that fewer and fewer people have hope in dialogue, but the Vatican continues to call for it, saying it’s the solution to the conflict.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, turned his attention to Syria in the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s «Octava Dies.»

He followed the Pope’s own speaking-out on the months-long conflict. In a mid-May address before praying the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father called for a restoration of coexistence; then again last week, upon receiving the new Syrian ambassador, he noted that the conflicts in the Arab world should «not take place in a climate of intolerance, discrimination, or conflict and, still less, of violence, but rather in a climate of absolute respect for the truth, for co-existence, for the legitimate rights of the person and the collective, and of reconciliation.»

Jesuits of Syria also spoke out with a statement calling for national unity.

In this context, Father Lombardi suggested that Syria’s situation has become particularly concerning «because of the persistence of a violence that seems to have no way out.»

«This is the reason for an appeal — at all levels — for dialogue, for liberty of expression and for participation, rejecting violence,» the spokesman said.

«For Syrian Christians national unity is a condition of life, and they must be and want to be active bridges in a genuine and serious national dialogue,» he stated.

Syria is almost 10% Christian; the 90% Muslim population is mostly Sunni Muslim (74%) with other Muslim communities forming 16%.

Father Lombardi recalled how the Pope stressed the centrality of the person as the frame of reference for dialogue.

And he noted the Holy Father’s emphasis on the constructive role of Christians in Syrian society, on their positive relationship with Muslims in their mutual desire for the common good.

«It is absolutely necessary to be opposed to the disintegration of the region and to the endless multiplication of conflicts, which oblige the populations to flee from one country to another, from Iraq to Syria, from Syria to Turkey,» concluded Father Lombardi. «It is necessary to convert to the dialogue of reconciliation and peace.»

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