(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made a prayerful appeal for reconciliation and peace in the Middle East and Africa on Friday, at the opening of the morning session of the Synod assembly in the Vatican. The appeal came as the Holy Father addressed the Fathers and other participants in the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Friday morning, at the start of their second round of meetings in General Congregation.
Below, please find Vatican Radio’s English translation of the Holy Father’s remarks
Dear Synod Fathers, dear brothers and sisters,
In resuming this morning the work of the General Congregation, I invite you to dedicate the prayer of the Third Hour to the intention of reconciliation and peace in the Middle East. We are painfully struck and we follow with great concern what is happening in Syria, in Iraq, in Jerusalem and the West Bank, where we see an escalation of violence that involves innocent civilians and continues to fuel a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions. War brings destruction and multiplies the sufferings of peoples. Hope and progress come only from choices for peace. Let us unite, therefore, in an intense and confident prayer to the Lord, a prayer that intends to be an expression of solidarity at once with [our] brother Patriarchs and Bishops from those regions, who are present here [at the Synod Assembly], as well as with their priests and faithful, and to everyone who lives there.
At the same time, together with the [whole] Synod, I send a heartfelt appeal to the international community, that the nations of the world might find a way effectively to help the parties concerned to broaden their horizons beyond the immediate interests and to use the instruments of international law [and] diplomacy, to resolve the conflicts underway at present.
Finally, I wish to extend our prayer also to those areas of the African continent, which are experiencing analogous situations of conflict. May Mary, Queen of Peace and loving Mother of her children intercede for all.