WASHINGTON—The bishops overseeingthe U.S. Church's international peace and relief efforts urged Secretary ofState John Kerry to work with other governments to obtain a ceasefire in Syria,initiate negotiations and provide humanitarian assistance, all in an effort tobuild "an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all itscitizens, including Christians and other minorities."
Bishop Richard E. Pates of DesMoines, Iowa, and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, sent the letterJune 19. Bishop Pates is chairman of the Committee on International Justice andPeace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Kicanas is chairman ofthe board of Catholic Relief Services, the bishops' international humanitarianagency.
"The Syrian people urgently need apolitical solution that ends the fighting and creates a future for all Syrians,one that respects human rights and religious freedom," wrote Bishop Pates andBishop Kicanas. The bishops cited the appeals for peace in Syria made by PopeFrancis on Easter Sunday and in his June15 message to the G8 Summit.
The bishops noted thereported use of chemical weapons, the United Nations estimate of over 93,000deaths, the displacement of millions from their homes and the kidnapping of twoOrthodox archbishops on a mission of mercy as urgent reasons for a negotiatedceasefire and political solution.
The full text of the bishops' letteris available online: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/syria/upload/2013-06-Letter-to-Sec-Kerry-on-Syria.pdf
Keywords: Syria, Pope Francis, Bishop Richard E. Pates,Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, John Kerry, Secretary of State, USCCB, CRS, CatholicRelief Services, humanitarian aid, International Justice and Peace, U.S. bishops,U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, peace, ceasefire, G8, religious freedom,minorities
# # # # #MEDIA CONTACT ONLY:Don ClemmerO: 202-541-3206Email
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