The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) welcomes and fully supports the appeal of the Holy Father for peace in Syria and the Middle East. Already three times this week, Pope Francis has made this appeal.

Yesterday, September 5, the Holy See released a letter from Pope Francis to President Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, who is hosting the G20 St. Petersburg Summit. The Pope urged the leaders to “find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution” in Syria. “Let there be a renewed commitment to seek… a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties”, Pope Francis wrote. “Moreover, all governments have the moral duty to do everything possible to ensure humanitarian assistance to those suffering because of the conflict, both within and beyond the country’s borders.”

This past Wednesday, during his General Audience, Pope Francis said, “I renew the invitation to the whole Church…, and even now I express gratitude to the other Christian brethren, to the brethren of other religions and to the men and women of good will who desire to join in this initiative, in places and ways of their own …to ask the Lord for the great gift of peace. May a powerful cry for peace go up from every land!”

Last Sunday, during the Angelus, the Holy Father said his “heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria, and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.” He exhorted the international community “to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.” The Pope again reminded us of the moral duty to ensure humanitarian assistance.

Bishops across Canada are organizing activities over the coming days in their dioceses to encourage the faithful to pray and fast for the people of Syria and the Middle East. Catholics throughout the world are invited to join the Holy Father this September 7 in praying and fasting for peace. In addition, many Canadian Catholics will be participating in a special day of prayer and fasting for the people of Syria and the Middle East which their local dioceses and parishes are organizing on September 14.

The President of the Canadian Conference Catholic Bishops, the Most Reverend Richard Smith, urges Catholics across our country to be united with the Holy Father and all their Bishops in praying for peace in Syria, in Middle East, and in all the world. Canadian Catholics are also encouraged to make a financial contribution to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, which is cooperating with Caritas Internationalis to help relieve the sufferings of the people of Syria, several million of whom are now living as refugees in the surrounding countries.

In the words of Pope Francis, “All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs to all of humanity!”

September 6, 2013


–        Holy Father’s letter to President Putin,

–        Vatican Radio report on the Pope’s Wednesday General Audience,

–        Holy Father’s Sunday Angelus message,

–        Letter from CCCB President Archbishop Richard Smith,