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The latest devastating images of death and destruction from the conflict in Syria powerfully illustrate the futility of what Pope Francis has described as ‘increasing violence in a war between brothers’. This violence offers no hope for the future. Its consequences are evident in the deserted streets lined with empty shells of buildings which should be full of human life.
The overwhelming suffering inflicted on families and communities in Syria cannot be allowed to continue. This is not only a tragedy for Syria, but for the whole world. The international community has a vital role to play in protecting innocent civilians from violent attacks, particularly those which involve the use of chemical weapons deemed wholly unethical and unacceptable.
Pope Francis has emphasised the need to raise our voices ‘so the sound of weapons stops’. The millions of Syrians who have been displaced from their homes, who grieve the loss of their loved ones and fear for their future desperately need our support and prayers at this time. I invite the Catholic faithful of Ireland to remember the suffering of Syrian children and their families at Masses this weekend, and I ask that we all fast and pray for a speedy end to this appalling conflict and that humanitarian aid may reach those in need as soon as possible.