Cardinal Dolan, Bishop Pates Urge Congress to Pursue Political Solution in Syria, Not Military Option

September 5, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—On the same day thatPope Francis asked the G20 nations to "lay aside the futile pursuit of amilitary solution" in Syria, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president ofthe U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Richard E. Pates ofDes Moines, Iowa, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice andPeace, wrote to every member of Congress, urging them not to resort to militaryintervention, but instead work to end the violence in Syria through a politicalsolution.

In their September 5 letter,Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates affirmed the finding of a proposedCongressional resolution that acknowledges that "the conflict in Syria willonly be resolved through a negotiated political settlement," and questioned militaryintervention. The bishops also condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria,declaring these "indiscriminate weapons have no place in the arsenals of thefamily of nations." They noted that more than 100,000 Syrians have lost theirlives, more than 2 million have fled the country as refugees, and more than 4million within Syria have been driven from their homes by the ongoing conflict.

"Our focus is on the humanitariancatastrophe unfolding in Syria and on saving lives by ending the conflict, notfueling it," the bishops wrote. They echoed the appeals of Pope Francis andbishops in the Middle East who "have made it clear that a military attack willbe counterproductive, will exacerbate an already deadly situation, and willhave unintended negative consequences."

"We ask the United States to work urgentlyand tirelessly with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate seriousnegotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage effortsto build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all itscitizens, including Christians and other minorities," they wrote. The bishopsalso assured Congress of their prayers in the midst of this complex situation.

Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates wrote to President ObamaSeptember 4, also urging a political solution in Syria.

The full text of the letter to Congressis available online:


Keywords: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Congress,Syria, chemical weapons, military intervention, Pope Francis, G20 nations, Congressionalresolution, peace, humanitarian, U.S. bishops, USCCB, U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Catholic Church

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