European bishops call for dialogue and peace in SyriaSaturday, July 21st, 2012
The Church and the entire international community have been looking with, “great apprehension and profound sadness,” at the escalating violence in Syria, and where arms seem to have taken the place of dialogue, said the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE).
Their declaration on Syria was signed by Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, and Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemysl of the Latins, Poland, respectively president and vice presidents of the CCEE.
"We hope that the authorities in the country, the population, and all believers of whatever religion, may look to God and find the way to put an end to hostilities, set aside their arms and start down the path of dialogue, reconciliation and peace. The conflict cannot but lead to mourning, destruction, and serious consequences for the noble people of Syria. War is a dead end. Happiness can be achieved only by acting together, never by the abusive exercise of power of one side against another,” the text reads.
CCEE goes on to say that the coming days could prove decisive for the outcome of this crisis and asks that all the Christians of Europe redouble their prayers for peace in that region.
“Our faith leads us to hope that a constructive solution to the crisis is possible, one which respects the interests of all sides. It is important to rediscover space for a dialogue of peace; and it is never too late to understand one another, to negotiate and to build a shared future together. We are certain that, with God's help, good sense may prevail and lead to peaceful coexistence in truth, justice, love and freedom, and in respect for all monitories, particularly the Christians in the country.”
The Council of the Bishops´ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) includes in its members the current 33 European Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, represented by their Presidents, and leaders.
The declaration from CCEE comes as the conflict in Syria escalated on Wednesday after an explosion at the National Security Bureau in Damascus reportedly killed President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law, the defence minister and a former defence minister.
For several months, the UN and Arab League's special envoy, Kofi Annan, has tried to persuade the Syrian government and his opponents to implement his internationally backed six-point peace plan.
Russia and China remain opposed to any sanctions or military action, and the UN observer mission from Syria has been suspended and fighting escalated.
The UN refugee agency says up to 30,000 people are reported to have crossed into Lebanon over the past 48 hours alone. Many more have become refugees in Turkey.
by Ann Marie Foley