Bishops’ Administrative Committee Calls for Peace, Serious Negotiations, Humanitarian Assistance in Syria

September 10, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—The AdministrativeCommittee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued an urgentcall for a political solution to the crisis in Syria. The bishops issued thestatement on the first day of their September 10-11 Administrative Committeemeeting at the USCCB headquarters in Washington.

"We ask the United States to workwith other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations,provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build aninclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens,including Christians and other minorities," the bishops wrote.

The appeal followed a day of prayerand fasting for peace in Syria on September 7, which had been called for byPope Francis. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, USCCB president, and BishopRichard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, USCCB International Justice and Peacechairman, wrote letters September 4 and 5 to President Obama and Congress,respectively, also urging that the United States not resort to military action.

The bishops condemned the use ofchemical weapons in Syria, calling it a "heinous crime against humanity." Theyalso noted that more than 100,000 Syrians have lost their lives, more than 2million have fled the country as refugees and more than 4 million within Syriahave been driven from their homes by violence.

"As Congress struggles with the complexchallenges and humanitarian catastrophe that have engulfed Syria, we offer thevoice of the Universal Church and our prayers for peace," the bishops wrote.

The bishops also echoed the call ofPope Francis and bishops in the Middle East against military intervention inSyria. "They have made it clear that a military attack will becounterproductive, will exacerbate an already deadly situation, and will haveunintended negative consequences," the bishops wrote. "Their concerns stronglyresonate in American public opinion that questions the wisdom of interventionand in the lack of international support."

The bishops said recentinternational proposals to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons "deserveserious consideration, evaluation and encouragement."

The Administrative Committeeconsists of the officers, chairmen and regional representatives of the USCCB,totaling 36 bishops. The committee, which meets in March and September, is thehighest authority within the USCCB outside of the full body of bishops duringtheir fall or spring general assemblies.

The full text of the AdministrativeCommittee's statement is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/syria/statement-on-syia-by-usccb-administrative-committee-2013-09-10.cfm

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Keywords: bishops, Syria, Pope Francis, political solution,President Barack Obama, Congress, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Bishop Richard E.Pates, Administrative Committee, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,peace, chemical weapons, humanitarian, negotiations

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