During the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops today, the assembly's participants issued the following message to families suffering from war, violence and conflict:
Gathered around the Successor of the Apostle Peter, we the Synod Fathers of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, along with all participants, share the paternal concern of the Holy Father, expressing our profound closeness to all the families who suffer as a consequence of the many conflicts in progress.
In particular, we raise to the Lord our prayers for Iraqi and Syrian families, forced on account of their profession of the Christian faith or their belonging to other ethnic or religious communities, to abandon everything and flee towards a future without any form of certainty. We join with the Holy Father Francis in emphasising that "no-one may use the name of God to commit violence", and that "To kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege!" (Address to leaders of other religions and other Christian denominations, Tirana, 21 September 2014). Offering thanks to International Organisations and Countries for their solidarity, we invite persons of good will to offer the necessary assistance and aid to the innocent victims of the current barbarism, and at the same time we implore the international community to act to re-establish peaceful co-existence in Iraq, in Syria, and in all the Middle East.
Equally, our thoughts go to those families that are torn apart and suffering in other parts of the world, and who suffer persistent violence. We wish to assure them of our constant prayer that the Lord may convert hearts and bring peace and stability to those who are now in need.
May the Holy Family of Nazareth, which suffered on "the painful road of exile" (Angelus, 29 December 2013), make every family a "community of love and reconciliation" (ibid.), a source of hope for the whole world.