Pope Francis has declared a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East and the whole world.
Pope Francis strongly reaffirmed his calls for peace during the first general audience after his summer vacation, he invited the world to take part in a day of fasting and prayer for peace, including a prayer vigil he will lead at St. Peter’s Square on Saturday, September 7.
In the video below, Pope Francis states that:
“This coming Saturday [September 7, 2013] we will live together a special day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world. But also for the peace in our hearts, because peace begins in our hearts. I renew the invitation to the whole Church to live this day intensely, and even now I express gratitude to the other Christian brothers and sisters, to the brothers and sisters of other religions and to the men and women of good will who desire to join in this initiative, in places and ways of their own.”
Pope Francis has also written to President Vladimir Putin of Russia in his capacity as the host president for the G20 Summit. Part of Francis’ letter reads:
The meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the twenty most powerful economies, with two-thirds of the world’s population and ninety per cent of global GDP, does not have international security as its principal purpose. Nevertheless, the meeting will surely not forget the situation in the Middle East and particularly in Syria.
It is regrettable that, from the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, one-sided interests have prevailed and in fact hindered the search for a solution that would have avoided the senseless massacre now unfolding. The leaders of the G20 cannot remain indifferent to the dramatic situation of the beloved Syrian people which has lasted far too long, and even risks bringing greater suffering to a region bitterly tested by strife and needful of peace.
Francis denounced any ‘futile’ military intervention in Syria:
To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution. Rather, let there be a renewed commitment to seek, with courage and determination, a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties, unanimously supported by the international community.