“We have heard the urgent calls of the successor of St. Peter, Pope Francis, and our suffering brother bishops of the venerable and ancient Christian communities of the Middle East. As one, they beg the international community not to resort to military intervention in Syria,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Richard E. Pates, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Sept. 4.
The letter affirmed the bishops’ prayers for the administration and acknowledged that “that the situation in Syria is complex,” and said they “appreciate the patience and restraint that your Administration has exercised to date.”
Cardinal Dolan of New York and Bishop Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, affirmed Obama’s decision to invite public dialogue and congressional review of possible military action, saying they wanted to contribute to that discussion in their capacity as pastors and teachers.
“We join you in your absolute condemnation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” they said. “These indiscriminate weapons have no place in the arsenals of the family of nations. With you we mourn for the lives lost and grieve with the families of the deceased.”
The clerics said they remain concerned for the more than 100,000 Syrians who have died and the 6 million who remain refugees or are displaced within their country.
However, they said, both the pope and the Syrian Catholic bishops have made clear “that a military attack will be counterproductive, will exacerbate an already deadly situation and will have unintended negative consequences.”
They concluded by noting that the long-standing position of the USCCB is that Syria needs a political solution.
“We ask the United States to work urgently and tirelessly with other governments to obtain a cease-fire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.”
Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates sent a similar letter to each member of the House of Representatives and the Senate Sept. 5.
Read the full text of the letter here.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it without youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: