Cardinal Bertone Addresses Bishops on Holy See Mission to Syria

Vatican Secretary of State Says Delegation’s Visit Will be Postponed until Conclusion of Synod

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 23, 2012 ( Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone addressed the Synod of Bishops today regarding last week’s announcement to send a delegation of Synod Fathers to Damascus, Syria.

«Speaking before this assembly last Tuesday, I announced the Holy Father’s decision to send a delegation to Damascus to express his solidarity and that of the Synod with the people of Syria who, unfortunately, have for some time been experiencing a tragic situation of suffering,» he said.

«The intention was also to express our spiritual closeness to our Christian brothers and sisters in that country, and to encourage those committed to seeking a solution respectful of the rights and duties of all.»

Cardinal Bertone went on to say that the initiative received a positive welcome in Rome, Syria and the international community. The Italian prelate updated the Synod on the preparations of the delegations visit, saying that they are continuing to «study the issue and to prepare the visit, despite the tragic episodes that have taken place in the region over recent days.» The cardinal’s remarks echo the statement released yesterday by Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, regarding the visit.

Given the worsening conditions in the region, the Vatican Secretary of State said that the visit will be postponed until after the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops which we concludes this week.  Cardinal Bertone also announced that the delegation with be «modified» due to prior commitments of some of its members.

«The contribution of the personal offerings of the Synod Fathers, and those of the Holy See, will be sent to Syria as a gesture of fraternal solidarity with the entire population,» Cardinal Bertone said.

«Above all we continue in our commitment to prayer, which is always heard by the Lord and which I invite you to join with renewed confidence».

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