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Pope renews appeal for peace in Syria

Catholic World News - July 30, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI repeated his “appeal for all violence and bloodshed to end” in Syria, during his midday public audience on Sunday, July 29.

The Pope said that he is troubled by the “depressing sequence of deaths and injuries,” and also by the huge number of families driven from their homes by the escalating violence. He promised his prayers for the people of Syria, and called upon international leaders to promote peaceful efforts to “reach a just political solution of the conflict.”

Pope Benedict has carefully avoided taking sides in the Syrian conflict. He has consistently called for peaceful resolution of the country’s problems, while decrying human-rights abuses and encouraging democratic reforms. At his Sunday audience the Pope also expressed dismay at a new rash of violence in Iraq, offering a prayer that “this great country find the path of stability, of reconciliation and peace.”

Archbishop Mario Zenari, the apostolic nuncio in Damascus, said that the Pope’s appeal for peace in Syria was timely, because conditions are steadily worsening and the people of Syria are fearful of the future. Armenian-Catholic Archbishop Boutros Marayati of Aleppo added that the Pope’s message “instills hope in our hearts.”

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