A Syrian bishop has issued a worldwide appeal to Christians and men of good will to preserve Christian Arab culture and for the international community to do more to end the war in the country.
Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, who is president of Caritas Syria, said the Pope’s immediate focus on Syria’s conflict during his Holy Land trip was significant, according to a report in Avvenire.
“When Pope Francis went to the Holy Land, we were waiting for his word of peace in Syria. The Holy Father spoke of this problem immediately and this was very important for us,” the bishop said.
Bishop Audo was attending a Vatican meeting on Saturday of Catholic charities sponsored by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. The conference looked at how best to address problems in Syria.
“All in Syria,” the bishop said, “have great confidence in the Holy Father, not just Catholics and Christians, but also Muslims. For them, the Pope is a symbol of peace and honesty.” Muslims, he added, trust and hope something can be done.
Although the Pope’s visit and words were fruitful, the bishop stressed that Christians, men of good will, and the international community must do their part.
“We Christians must do everything we can in order to survive and stay alive asked to give testimony,” he said.
“We must not leave,” he stressed, because “this Christianity of Arab culture that has lived for centuries among Muslims is an inculturation truly unique in the history of the Church and you must do everything to preserve it.”
Calling on Christians worldwide to recognize their duty to “not let the poor die because of military or economic interests,” he said Christians of the world and all men of good “will have to assume responsibility.”
Expanding his call to the international community, Bishop Audo said it “must make the decision to stop war.” In this sense, he said, “it is very important not to sell arms” and to search for a solution negoziated “among different groups,” so the ‘last word’ is not left to the “domain of violence.” (D.C.L.)