Cardinal Dolan, Bishop Pates Urge President Obama to Pursue Political Solution in Syria

September 4, 2013 By Public Affairs Office
Assure President, Administration of their prayers
Join President in condemning use of chemical weapons
Echo appeals of Pope Francis, Middle East bishops against military intervention

WASHINGTON—President Obama should not resort to military intervention, but instead work to end the violence in Syria through a political solution, wrote the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the chairman of USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace in a September 4 letter. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, joined President Obama in condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria, declaring these “indiscriminate weapons have no place in the arsenals of the family of nations.”

They noted that more than 100,000 Syrians have lost their lives, more than 2 million have fled the country as refugees, and more than 4 million within Syria have been driven from their homes by the ongoing conflict.

“Our focus is on the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Syria and on saving lives by ending the conflict, not fueling it,” the bishops wrote. They echoed the appeals of Pope Francis and bishops in the Middle East who “have made it clear that a military attack will be counterproductive, will exacerbate an already deadly situation, and will have unintended negative consequences.”

Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates assured President Obama of their prayers and offered their appreciation for the “patience and restraint” the Administration has exercised on the complex situation in Syria.

“We ask the United States to work urgently and tirelessly with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, 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,” they wrote.

The full text of the letter to President Obama is available online:

Keywords: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Bishop Richard E. Pates, President Barack Obama, Syria, chemical weapons, military intervention, Pope Francis, peace, humanitarian, U.S. bishops, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Media Contact OnlyDon Clemmer202-541-3206