The Vatican’s Diplomatic Corps were called to Rome to discuss the current situation in Syria as well as the Pope’s call for a Day of Prayer and Fasting for the beleaguered nation. The members of the Diplomatic Corp were addressed by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States, who stated that the meeting was a “new expression” of the Holy Father’s solicitude for peace in the world.
“The Pope’s heartbroken appeal gives voice to the desire for peace that rises from every part of the earth, from the heart of all men of good will,” Archbishop Mamberti said. “In the concrete historical situation, marked by violence and wars in many places, the Pope’s voice is raised at a particularly grave and delicate moment in the long Syrian conflict, which has already witnessed too much suffering, devastation and sorrow, to which are added the many innocent victims of the attacks of last August 21, which aroused horror and concern in global public opinion because of the consequences of the possible use of chemical weapons.”
Archbishop Mamberti told the members of the Vatican’s Diplomatic Corp that in the face of atrocities, the international community must clarify the situation and bring those responsible to justice. The Secretary for Relations with States said, however, that the use of violence to achieve peace is mistaken, echoing Pope Francis’ words on Sunday that violence will only call for more violence.
“Since the beginning of the conflict, the Holy See has been sensitive to the cry for help which reached it from the Syrian people, in particular from the Christians, not failing immediately to manifest clearly its position, characterized, as in other cases, by the consideration of the centrality of the human person — regardless of his ethnic group or religion – and of the search for the common good of the whole society.”
The Moroccan prelate recalled Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s call for an end to Syrian conflict and appealing for a constructive dialogue that would aid the ailing populations. Archbishop Mamberti also cited the intention of the Synod of Bishops to send a delegation to Syria. The proposed meeting was later replaced with a visit to the region by Cardinal Robert Sarah, Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, due to the difficulty of gaining permissions for a delegation’s entrance into the country.
In his pontificate, Pope Francis has also addressed the crisis in Syria, calling it “a war between brothers.” The Holy Father, he continued, has also met with various heads of state to speak on the effects the crisis is causing to surrounded countries, most recently, with King Abdullah II of Jordan.
A Just Solution
Archbishop Mamberti highlighted three general principles that would serve to guide “the search for a just solution to the conflict.” The first and indispensable principle was the revival of dialogue between the warring parties, well as “for the reconciliation of the Syrian people.
The second would be that the “unity of the country must be preserved, avoiding the establishment of different zones for the various components of the society.”
“Finally, next to the unity of the country, its territorial integrity must also be guaranteed.”
Concluding his address, Archbishop Mamberti, said that once this is achieved, it is crucial for the those responsible for the governance of the country to guarantee a place at the table for all Syrians, including Christian minorities.
“The concrete application of the said principle can take various forms, but in every case the importance of respect for human rights cannot be forgotten and, in particular, that of religious liberty,” he said.