On Thursday, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States met the ambassadors to the Holy See. In the meeting, Archbishop Mamberti expressed the Holy Father’s desire for peace. Most importantly, Archbishop Mamberti, on the Holy Father’s behalf, proposed principles for a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict. To my knowledge, this document is not available in its entirety in English. Courtesy of Google translate, I would like to outline the principles named:
- Restoration of dialogue between the parties (I believe the goal of this is the restarting of the Geneva II peace talks) and reconciliation among the Syrian people.
- The unity of the country must be respected without the creation of special zones for certain groups of people.
- There should be no aim to create two Syrias; Syria must remain one country.
In addition to these three principles, the document called for three guarantees from the parties involved:
- That the Syria of tomorrow will have room for everybody, including minorities, and especially Christians.
- That all citizens be recognized with equal dignity, equal rights and duties, the freedom to profess one’s religion in public, and contribute to the common good.
- That they distance themselves from extremist and terrorist groups who are often from outside of the country.
Each of us, today, can take part in the Holy Father’s call for prayer and fasting for peace in Syria.
We cannot isolate the Holy Father’s policy suggestions from his call to prayer fasting. Pope Francis knows that we need both if the Reign of God is to be built up on earth.