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Press Release: NETWORK Responds to Syrian Crisis

FOR RELEASE: September 4, 2013                                                                  

CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224,

Washington DC:  NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice lobby, today issued the following statement concerning the current violence in Syria:

NETWORK joins with other faith leaders and the world community in deploring ongoing violence in Syria, including the use of chemical weapons on the Syrian people. There can be no justification for the suffering we witness both within that nation and in neighboring countries as Syrian refugees flee their homeland.

As the world community debates what can or should be done to alleviate that suffering, NETWORK stands strong in our belief that violence is not the solution as it only begets more violence. In this case, bombing will not achieve peaceful goals. Instead, it will invite further retaliation, including against the Syrian people who have already suffered so much.

We believe that diplomatic and political solutions, combined with humanitarian aid, are far more effective than military force when addressing crises such as this.

Remembering the example of Rwanda, our nation and others cannot ignore the extreme suffering of the Syrian people. Pope Francis stated, “I exhort 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.” We therefore support the following immediate actions:

  • Intensify U.S. diplomatic engagement with other nations in order to strengthen our call for a ceasefire and immediate peace negotiations among all involved
  • Ensure quick access by humanitarian organizations to the people of Syria
  • Provide humanitarian assistance to all who have been affected, including refugees.

Our long-term goals are for peace in Syria and the surrounding region. As global leaders seek lasting solutions, we join our prayers with those of Catholic Sisters in the region. Yesterday, some of these Sisters sent the following message:  

On behalf of all the sisters of the Good Shepherd in Lebanon and Syria, and on behalf of our people who suffer violence and insecurity, we ask you to join us and to respond to the call of our holy father the Pope Francis to pray for peace in the Middle East. United with our people: “we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.” [Pope Francis]

Pope Francis invited peace-seekers to take part this Saturday in a day of fasting and prayers “invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world." We join the world community in this effort as we also continue our call in Washington for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.