Address During the General Congregation of the Synod Bishops, 9 October 2015
Synod Hall, Friday, 9 October 2015
Dear Synod Fathers, Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we resume the work of the general congregation this morning, I would like to invite you to dedicate midmorning prayer to the intention of reconciliation and peace in the Middle East. We are grievously struck and we follow with deep concern what is happening in Syria, Iraq, Jerusalem and the West Bank, where we are seeing an escalation of violence that involves innocent civilians and continues to fuel a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions. War brings destruction and compounds the suffering of populations. Hope and progress come only from peaceful choices. Let us unite, therefore, in an intense and trusting prayer to the Lord, a prayer intended to be at the same time an expression of closeness to the brother Patriarchs and Bishops present here, who come from those regions, to their priests and faithful, as well as to those who live there.
At the same time I, along with the Synod, address an earnest appeal to the international community, that it find a way to efficiently aid the affected parties, to broaden its outlook beyond immediate interests and use the instruments of international law and of diplomacy, to resolve ongoing conflicts.
Lastly I would us to also extend our prayers to the areas of the African continent that are experiencing analogous situations of conflict. May Mary, Queen of Peace and loving Mother of her children, intercede for all.
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