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Pope repeats plea for peace in Syria, lauds relief efforts

Catholic World News - June 05, 2013

Pope Francis underlined his concern about the continuing bloodshed in Syria during a June 5 meeting with Catholic charitable groups that are active in the Middle East.

Speaking to representatives of relief agencies who had been brought together by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Pope thanked them for their efforts “for the people, often defenseless,” who are suffering as a result of the civil war in Syria.

Noting that Pope Benedict XVI had pleaded for a negotiated peace in Syria, and urged humanitarian help for those affected by the fighting, Pope Francis said: “The destiny of the Syrian people is a concern that is also close to my heart.”

“In the face of ongoing and overwhelming violence, I strongly renew my appeal for peace,” the Pope continued. He encouraged international initiatives to promote negotiations, and urgently called for efforts to clear the way for humanitarian relief.

Speaking directly of the Church’s relief work, the Pope said: “The Church feels herself called to give her humble yet concrete and sincere witness to the charity which she has learned from Christ, the Good Samaritan. We know that where there is suffering, Christ is present. We cannot pull back, precisely from those situations where the suffering is greatest.”

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