FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Ron Johnson, Executive Director
Arizona’s Catholic Bishops Urge Congress to Seek Non-Violent Solutions in Syria
PHOENIX (Sept. 9, 2013) — The Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference have written to Arizona’s congressional delegation expressing their concern over potential military actions in Syria. The Arizona bishops urged them not to resort to military intervention, but instead work to end the violence in Syria through a negotiated political settlement.
Following is the text of the letter:
September 6, 2013
As Catholic bishops we are praying for you as you take up the debate regarding the use of military force in Syria. We wish to offer our perspective as pastors of our Dioceses and your constituents.
The use of chemical weapons by any nation is morally reprehensible. The use in Syria has led to many deaths and intense suffering.
With you we mourn for the lives lost in so tragic a way and grieve with the families of the deceased. One hundred thousand Syrians in this civil war have lost their lives. Two million have fled the country as refugees, and more than 4 million within Syria have been driven from their homes by the violence. This tragedy cannot continue. We ought not to fuel violence but seek a negotiated resolution. We ought to learn from the Iraq tragedy that rushing to conclusions without clear evidence can have disastrous consequences.
We have heard the urgent calls of Pope Francis, and our suffering brother bishops of the venerable and ancient Christian communities of the Middle East. They have begged the family of nations not to resort to military intervention in Syria. We join our voice to theirs. We believe a military attack will be counterproductive, could exacerbate the situation, and could have negative unforeseen consequences.
We call on you as members of our Congressional delegation to urge the President to seek a negotiated political settlement. We believe that more lives and livelihoods will be destroyed by military intervention. On this question Pope Francis has been clear: “How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed!”
The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a political solution. We ask you to work with the President and Congress to engage other governments to obtain a ceasefire in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.
Please be assured of our prayers
Most Rev. Gerald Dino Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas
Bishop of Holy Protection Bishop of Tucson
of Mary Byzantine Catholic
Eparchy of Phoenix
Most Rev. Eduardo A. Nevares Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix Bishop of Phoenix
Most Rev. James S. Wall
Bishop of Gallup