Here below is a translation of Pope Francis’ message to participants of a meeting of coordination between Catholic charitable organizations, working in the context of the Syrian crisis, May 30, 2014. The conference was organized by the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank you for your presence at this meeting, organized by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. I thank you especially for the daily contribution that you, as organizations of Catholic charity, are giving in Syria and in neighboring countries, to help the populations stricken by that terrible conflict. I greet Cardinal Robert Sarah and I give all of you a warm welcome, especially all those who have travelled from the Middle East to be here today – and I also hold the Middle East in my eyes and heart, after the pilgrimage of past days in the Holy Land.
A year ago we met to confirm the Church’s commitment in this crisis, to launch together an appeal for peace in Syria. Now we meet again to evaluate the work carried out up to now and to renew our will to continue on this path, with even closer cooperation. However, we must note with great sorrow that the Syrian crisis has not been resolved, but continues, and there is the risk of growing accustomed to it: to forget the daily victims, the unspeakable sufferings, the thousands of refugees, among them elderly people and children, who suffer and sometimes die of hunger and the sicknesses caused by the war. This indifference does no good! Once again we must repeat the name of the sickness that causes so much woe in the world today: the globalization of indifference.
The action of peace and the work of humanitarian aid that Catholic charitable organizations carry out in that context are faithful expressions of God’s love for His children who are oppressed and in anguish. God hears their cry; He knows their suffering and wants to liberate them; and it is to Him that you lend your hands and your capacities. It is important that you work in communion with Pastors and the local communities; and this meeting is a propitious occasion to identify opportune ways of stable collaboration, in dialogue between the different subjects, in order to organize ever better your efforts to support the local Churches and all the victims of the war, without ethnic, religious or social distinctions.
Today we are here also to appeal again to the consciences of the protagonists of the conflict, of global institutions and of public opinion. We are all aware that the future of humanity is built with peace and not war: war destroys, kills, impoverishes peoples and countries. I ask all parties that, looking to the common good, agree right away on the work of humanitarian assistance, to silence the weapons and to commit themselves to negotiate, putting in the first place the good of Syria, of all its inhabitants, also those who unfortunately have had to seek refuge elsewhere and who have the right to return as soon as possible to their homeland. I am thinking in particular of the dear Christian communities, face of a Church that suffers and hopes. Their survival in the whole of the Middle East is a profound concern of the universal Church: Christianity must be able to continue to live where its origins are.
Dear brothers and sisters, your charitable and aid action is an important sign of the closeness of the whole Church, and of the Holy See in particular, to the Syrian people and the other peoples of the Middle East. I renew my gratitude to you for what you do and I invoke upon you and your work the blessing of the Lord. May Our Lady protect you. I pray for you and you pray for me![Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]