US President Barack Obama is busy trying to convince Congress and US citizens that military intervention in Syria is necessary to maintain American credibility and punish the Assad regime for reportedly using chemical weapons to attack its citizens Aug. 21.
Pope Francis, however, is busy pleading for peace. Three tweets were sent from his @Pontifex account today, each urging peace.
"How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake," says the most recent tweet.
Another, three hours earlier, said, "We want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace."
Some hours before that, the tweet from @Pontifex was, "War never again! Never again war!"
And Sunday, he tweeted, "Let us pray for peace: peace in the world and in each of our hearts."
"Gather to pray"
Also on Sunday, the Holy Father declared a day of prayer and fasting for peace, to be held this Saturday, Sept. 7.
He made the appeal in his weekly Angelus address.
“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming," the Pope said during his address in St. Peter's Square.
“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children who will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgement of God and of history upon our actions which is inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence."
Francis announced that Saturday in St. Peter's Square, from 7 pm till midnight, "we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention."
The Fides agency reported that the Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassou, the spiritual leader of Sunni Islam in Syria, expressed his desire to join the Pope in this prayer.
The news agency reported that "an exploratory request to that effect was sent by the Islamic leader to the Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, His Excellency Monsignor Mario Zenari, and in coming days the feasibility of this desire will be evaluated on both sides."
Fides also reported that several Christian leaders in the Middle East affirmed that the Pope's appeal found its way into "everyone's hearts."
"The Christian communities in Syria, the Middle East and in the diaspora are happy and ready to join in fasting and prayer."