By Ann Schneible
ROME, OCTOBER 17, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Opening yesterday’s session of the XIII Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is currently underway in Rome, Secretary of State of His Holiness, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone made the announcement of a delegation in Syria.
“We cannot be mere spectators of a tragedy like the one that is unfolding in Syria,” Cardinal Bertone said to the synod Fathers; “some of the interventions we have heard in the hall bear witness to this.”
Activists say that more than 30,000 people have been killed in Syria in the course of the 19 month civil war between President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and rebel forces. Many have fled the country to escape the violence.
The Cardinal Secretary of State continued: “Certain that the solution to the crisis cannot be but political and thinking of the immense suffering of the population, the fate of the evacuees as well as the future of that nation, some of us suggested that our synodal assembly might express its solidarity.”
Pope Benedict XVI, he announced, has arranged for the delegation to make its way to Damascus in the coming days. Those in the delegation will be: Cardinal Laurent Mosengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa; President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran; Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, USA; Military Ordinary of Colombia, Bishop Fabio Suescún Mutis; Bishop Joseph Nguyen Nang of Phat Diem; Secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti; and Official Secretariat of State, Monsignor Alberto Ortega.
The aim of the delegation’s journey to Damascus, said Cardinal Bertone, will be to express “our fraternal solidarity to the whole population, with a personal offering from the Synodal Fathers as well as from the Holy See; our spiritual closeness to our Christian brothers and sisters; our encouragement to all those who are involved in the search for an agreement that respects the rights and duties of all with particular attention to what is demanded by humanitarian law.”