Ideology of Islamic State Can Be Defeated With God's Help, Says Nuncio to Syria

Archbishop Zenari Also Says How Church Is on the Front Lines For Peace in the Middle East

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The apostolic nuncio in Damascus has said the Church is on the “front lines” for peace in the Middle East, and has expressed his belief that even defeat of the Islamic State’s ideology could be possible through continued efforts, prayer, and God’s help.

Archbishop Mario Zenari, the apostolic nuncio to Syria, told Vatican Radio it is necessary to «always have hope because humanity, not just Christians, are in the hands of God.” His comments come as a papal diplomatic meeting gets underway at the Vatican.

Aimed at discussing the crisis in the Middle East, the Vatican summit, Oct. 2-4, brings together the region’s apostolic nuncios, high-ranking officials in the Roman Curia, including Pope Francis who will greet participants at the beginning of the work.

Archbishop Zanari said “there is a potential for good” to come from this. «With God’s help,» he said, «you can do a lot.”

But addressing the international community, he said «everyone has to do their part.” 

Though the Church has no weapons of war, he said, it “has a spiritual weapon that is very, very effective.» «As a Church,» he said, «we are called to use these effective means such as prayer, trying to meet with people, trying to make people think,” which are not only effective, but necessary.

In response to what are the hopes for this event, the nuncio stressed that at a time when the international community is called upon to act to overcome this scourge of violence, terrorism, and to find a solution to the conflict, «the Church is at the forefront with its own means.”

He suggested that prayer and sharing with each other the common problems of the region’s nations, such as Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, at this event, can make a difference.

When asked whether their works will follow them to their region’s Christian communities, he responded that “to pray, to reflect, to find– if possible–some solution, I think is an encouragement to our Christian communities,” and «to all the people of that region who aspire, yearn for and eagerly await the resolution of these bloody conflicts.”

In response to whether a return to peaceful coexistence among religions in these regions which have been «so tormented” is possible, he said the premises are in place and, from what he has witness in his six years of experience in Syria, he said such peaceful coexistence is already at the level of the people.

Among various religious affiliations, especially between Christians and Muslims, this positive coexistence, he continued, can even be described as “exemplary,” because there is mutual and equal respect among religious leaders.

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