COMMUNIQUE – The Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions (CELRA), gathered for its fiftieth meeting in Rome, from September 17 to 20, and studied the pastoral themes relevant to the respective countries and, in particular, the Syrian conflict. On this subject, the bishops witness to the following:
1. Their gratitude to Pope Francis for his moving appeal for a universal day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria and for the prevention of a further deterioration of the situation, already dramatic, that could be caused by an eventual military offensive.
2. Their solidarity with the Syrian people, no matter what their religion or political party, who suffer enormously because of this absurd war. More than one hundred thousand have already died and there are already millions of wounded and those who have become refugees or have lost their homes.
3. Their conviction that the present conflict will not be resolved by an escalation of violence nor by a massive supply of arms to the two parties in conflict but rather through dialogue and negotiations conducted under international supervision. The situation necessitates a rapid decision in order to put an end to a conflict that has continued for more than two and a half years.
On the other hand:
4. A number of the countries that make up the CELRA (Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq) are direct witnesses to the suffering of the victims and are engaged in humanitarian aid to the refugees through their respective Caritas agencies. They would like to thank the benefactors, who have shown a great generosity in favor of the refugees, as well as the volunteers who work in difficult conditions in order to come to help them by distributing medicine and food.
5. The Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions ask all people of good will to continue their unceasing prayer for the intentions of the Middle East and to use every effort to find a viable solution to the Syrian conflict.
By: Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem