Pope Francis Leads Global Prayer Vigil for Syria

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Filippo Monteforte / AFP / Getty Images

Pope Francis prays in Saint Peter square at the Vatican on Sept. 7, 2013. Pope Francis has called for a global day of fasting and prayer on Saturday for peace in Syria and against any armed intervention.

Pope Francis isn’t eating much today—he’s fasting and praying for Syria, and hundreds of thousands of Christians across the globe are joining him.

Today, during a five-hour evening prayer service for Syria in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis challenged the tens of thousands gathered there to rethink approaches to conflict as the fighting in Syria escalates and as the United States and France contemplate a military strike.  “How many conflicts, how many wars have mocked our history?” he asked the faithful. “Even today we raise our hand against our brother…We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves as if it were normal we continue to sow destruction, pain, death. Violence and war lead only to death.”

His words were pointed, and he asked everyone to not add to their brothers’ sorrow. “Can we get out of this spiral of sorrow and death? Can we learn once again to walk and live in the ways of peace?” he continued. “Invoking the help of God under the maternal gaze of the Salus Populi Romani, the Queen of Peace, I say yes it is possible for everyone. From every corner of the world tonight, I would like to hear us cry out: Yes, it is possible for everyone!” The crowd applauded.

The prayer service began when four Swiss guards processed through the square with the icon Salus Populi Romani, Mary, the Queen of Peace and the Protectress of the Roman people. The Pope led the Rosary recitation, a meditation, and a Eucharist ceremony. Bible readings from the Gospel of Luke focused on Mary, and thousands of people in the square followed along with a 51-page booklet the Vatican produced for the service. Priests heard confessions under the St. Peters colonnade.

The last time a Pope called a similar day of prayer and fasting was in 2003, when Pope John Paul II did the same before the Iraq war. The Vatican strongly opposed the US-led military actions in Iraq, and now, a decade later, Pope Francis continues to speak out against a potential military strike in the war-torn region.

The World Council of Churches, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and religious leaders around the world urged their followers to join the Pope’s call and spend Saturday in prayer. Catholics in Jerusalem met at the Church of Gesthemane. In Mumbai they gathered at the Cathedral of the Holy Name. A giant peace flag was also raised in Assisi, Italy, the hometown of Saint Francis, for whom Pope Francis is named.

40 comments
united_we_stand
united_we_stand

The global melting pot demands immigration. To make our government debt based ponzi schemes work we must push the envelope of continual unsustainable expansion. If we decide we want mexicans we create problems in mexico. If we want vietnamese we create problems in vietnam. Someone must have decided we should add a lot syrians. Soon the flood of refugees will be here. 

NimaMichailNikou
NimaMichailNikou

-Yes please..pray for the people in Syria...cos empty words will help the slaughtering, bombings, starvation and poverty in Syria. (rolling the eyes)

aztecian
aztecian

the global red line was crossed, now we must save the people.

john.stefanyszyn
john.stefanyszyn

..."According to Catholic teaching, people who are fasting are allowed one full meal and two smaller meals....".


A compromised "fast" / a partial fast ...not a fast at all /   for the priority concern is still given to one's own need (stomach).


This is a reflection of the true belief of all "religious" for their true belief is seen in how one lives his life everyday.


Jorge Bergoglio is praying for peace within the context of self interest...within the belief of freedom of self-rights....for he has publicly confessed, and so have his predecessors, that it is right to be free to worship any religion, any god.

Jorge Bergoglio follows the way of Light that President Obama has confessed in Jerusalem to be the will of his god...FREEDOM.

Jorge Bergoglio worships this "image that speaks" and wears its mark on his forehead.


It is written that man prays and asks...but does not receive...for he asks amiss.....for he asks for his self-will, for his self-righteousness.....for what he establishes and justifies to be good and evil in his own eyes.


The One and Only Creator God gave what was required...He gave His Son.....AND now it is up to man to repent and serve, in obedience as a bondman,  the Will of the One Who gave us Existence and Who can give Eternal Existence......for Christ is returning to RULE as the One King according to the Will of the Creator God and NOT according to man's love for his "freedom will".

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Patriarch Laham: Most world countries support political solution in Syria

A joint prayer was held at Lady of Dormition Cathedral in al-Zaitoun quarter in Damascus in response to Pope Francis' call for observing a day of fasting and prayer worldwide for security and stability in Syria and against any military aggression on it

http://syriaonline.sy/?f=Details&catid=12&pageid=7139

AllenHunt8
AllenHunt8

So what exactly does the Pope suggest ? Syrians are getting killed at a rate of 5000 Syrians a month. Is the pope suggesting that this continues? Is he suggesting that the police not shoot at a criminal that is shooting at Children because it is violent to do that ? Does the Pope think that Chemical attacks by Assad on his people are  more justifiable than US actions to stop them ?  

Whatanotion
Whatanotion

The discernment necessary rests with those who have the necessary information to make the decision.   At common law there is a doctrine that allows for the use of force against 3rd persons, in protection of other persons.  This is a judgement call.  Senator O'Bama was against the Iraq war.   Now he seems to have a different understanding of why GWB may have been eager to show strength.  The strategic problem arises because if you say you're pro retaliation for the use of Sarin Gas against children; and. you are relying on protection of other persons for that decision then you have no excuse for not intervening before the gas was used.  The threat of use of a WMD like Sarin gas must be based on a more connected threat to the U.S. or its allies to justify use of force.   The international  convention against the use of Gas against ones own citizens does not seem to say that any one nation can decide for itself TO intervene based on its sole interpretation of circumstantial evidence.   That said we are the only big brother watching this happen and if we do not act we will encourage an expanded use of force to quell democratic opposition to political situations. 

fnmugari
fnmugari

I believe Pope Francis is leading the way as an agent of Christ. This practical demonstration of his Christian faith is highly commendable in a world full of hate some of which is based on misguided religious fundamentalism that purports the use of force as the way to salvation.

LiveFreeOrDie01
LiveFreeOrDie01

Excellent move on the part of Pope Francis. It astounds me that liberal America will blindly support military action just because their pseudo-god, Obama says its ok to do so. They act as if they're the most "enlightened" among us, but in reality they're frogs in a pot on a slow boil. Please pray for for peace and for people like 'jmac' who desperately need a spiritual awakening.

applefellup
applefellup

The Pope does not matter. This matter is between God and Israel. So long as America is Israel's loyal servant, we will be blessed for doing God's Will. Let America support God and Israel by destroying Syria.

Falcon24
Falcon24

The Catholic Church is made up of people. Extraordinary, flawed people who do their best to serve their God and fellow humans. They have spent fortunes in money for the poor, lifetimes of hours in helping others, and spurred countless scientific advancements benefiting the world. I would like to know what jmac has done to put himself in a higher position.

jmac
jmac

When he gets to Heaven and meets God (should there be one) he can explain why he sat back and did nothing when a leader slaughtered 100,000 and then resorted to chemical weapons.  I'd like to hear that answer to God.

THEN he can explain what happened to the children in his church under his priests.   I could go on.  

It reminds me of Mother Teresa holding the hands of  poor women dying from poverty and too many children.   Was she helping to make the lives of those women better?   Was she helping them with birth control so they had some control over their lives?     

rtt_ddtag
rtt_ddtag

I join Pope Francis in his call for peace and reconciliation. May God enlighten all the leaders of the world to choose for peaceful talks to end conflicts around the world. Wars don't solve anything. 



CalistusThomas
CalistusThomas

The Pope is Right...Wherever war was raged...it has just brough more sorrow, pain and death. These countres which wage war, what are they doing to help the suffering, the refugees....??? Nothing, and most probably will kill much more innocent lives than it was in the checimal attack.

jmac
jmac

@Sibir_Russia As Russia promises to continue arming Assad if America does anything.

Yeah Russia!  

goodgenie4u
goodgenie4u

@AllenHunt8  Unless you are a faith ull Catholic or one that believes in the dynamics of prayer, it is impossible to view the world through the Pope's eyes. You are quite  right that what man proposes and man disposes is the solution to peace in the world.  But it is more about victory and defeat. That approach led to to world wars in industrialized WMD equipped Europe. Tens of millions of modern, educated, democratic people died. There were winners and losers. While we materially prospered, our family traditions were decimated and we can no longer afford to educate our masses to be competitive. We need immigrants educated elsewhere to make up what we did not need before those wars decimated our labor forces and created legal incentives for women to work that could not afford world class child care. Women stay pay the price and so do their children or lack there off.

Prayer on the other hand is a way to create an environment similar to meditation or yoga?. It separates our 5 senses from the solution and brings the spirit of humans, even of atheists or agnostics to change the dynamics of war in favour of peace. It does not emphasize differences, but the human spirit that we each have an infinite supply of. That is the starting point of "equity" not economics, nationalism and sectarianism; definitely not patriotism; a demand by plutocratic elements for the economically disadvantaged that offer their labour to pursue their hopes and dreams.

Frankly wars have the same affect. They terrify people into calling a truce and  yielding their rigid fear  based (due to ignorance) postures to giving into fake peaceful co-existence, inclusiveness and tolerance of differences a chance. The middle east has proven that; the dialogue of turf issues that create winners and losers

jmac
jmac

@LiveFreeOrDie01  I bet you big time  the Pope would be saying a different prayer if Hezbollah and al-Qaeda were storming the Vatican and  Assad was with them dropping  chemical weapons.  

Please don't pray for me - I don't want a spiritual awakening from those who have no conscience and those who think one side is considered "enlightened" because they have a brain that (possible) God gave them and expect them to us.  

meira.dubose
meira.dubose

@applefellup Wrong. What a foolish thing to say. Do you not realize how influential he is in the world? Clearly shows by how many people showed up when he called for prayer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with him calling the world to pray for peace. How cruel of you to say it is not so. Especially for a man who is actually trying to do something. And you? Saying ignorant and malicious comments that do absolutely nothing.

Izzy3
Izzy3

@Falcon24 

Most Liberals are willing to give the shirt off someone else's back to help the poor. They just don't do personal sacrifice very well.

jmac
jmac

@Falcon24 I'm a woman.  I wouldn't mind knowing what the Nuns on the Bus think about Syria.   I bet they'd get to the nitty gritty.   I know what the Church has done to them.  THEY've been on the ground doing the hard work.   

I have no higher position.  I have a conscience.  I have an embarrassment that as a nation we invaded a country based on chemical weapons used fifteen years before we invaded and an ignoring of the fact that weapon's inspectors said there were no chemical weapons, that Saddam didn't use chemical weapons when we took back Kuwait, and that no chemical weapons were found.  Then our president at the time made a joke about not finding WMD's at a Correspondence Dinner.

We're in real time now.  We know chemical weapons were used in an area (The Middle East) that we're heavily invested in.   A strategic strike on targeted area to send a message is something that even a Pope should be able to get behind.   


meira.dubose
meira.dubose

@jmac Wrong. He is doing far, far more than you possibly are. What are you doing? Sitting on the computer making hateful and malicious comments. That is VERY helpful. What is he doing? Calling the world to peace. Calling for unity and love and he has greater influence than you know in this world. He will not take up a rifle and go charging in with an army at his back. He calls for peaceful resolution. And those who do so are the heroes of our history and done far greater change than those who seek violence to change history. As for Mother Teresa, she went into those slums to help those people. Cared for them, gave them medicine and medical care. Helped them be clean and feel love that no one else would give to them. That is more than most anyone can say. I bet you would never do the same thing. Go to where the forgotten are and kiss them even though they are covered in sores. Give them love and affection when they feel forgotten. That is what makes you and them very different. They search for love and you are only making hateful comments that mean absolutely nothing. What sort of selfishness is that? What are you compensating for? To truly understand and see from their eyes is to know why they do what they do. Rather than attacking those trying to do good in the world, why don't you get off your behind and do also? Maybe then you would have credibility.

Whatanotion
Whatanotion

@jmac Actually she was helping with birth control only not in a direct physical way.  Her Spiritual strength had a component of constant forgiveness that few can muster, myself included.  You are right to question.  But please; if you ask in earnest;  do listen to the answers.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

External assistance to the opposition, which leads the armed struggle against the legitimate government, is a gross violation of fundamental rules of international law. In the Declaration on principles of international law, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1970, it is noted, in particular, that no state shall organize, assist, and financing of armed actions aimed at the violent overthrow of the regime of another state.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: "Arming Syrian Opposition Contradicts the International law"

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

@jmac@Sibir_Russia 

Bashar al-Assad is a legitimate President of a sovereign country. Military technical cooperation with Syria is not contrary to international law and do not violate any UN resolutions.

Russia supplies to Syria only defensive weapons, which cannot be used for internal struggle, such as air defense and coastal missile systems for the protection of the sovereignty. All of this armament supplied under the old obligations and does not violate UN resolutions.

Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin said that Russia is not supplying Syria anything forbidden by the international sanctions in the sphere of military-technical cooperation.

"We are continuing to those contracts that have been concluded for a long time"

"No one can ever show of the Russian Federation no claims in this regard, and the control over exports of arms in our country tougher, than in many other countries" - added Rogozin

manlyman
manlyman

Except we've telegraphed our every move through all of this, they know the how's, what's, where's and when's before we do practically. "Strategic" isn't exactly the word I would use here jmac. A shot in the dark is more like it. Your undying love and affection for this p o s prez is uncanny, coupled with your low iq, it's really making you look like a circus freak. The slobber on your chin is quite disgusting.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@jmac @Falcon24 "A strategic strike" 

No such thing. It's just a matter of how much "collateral damage" (military speak for innocent life) you are comfortable with chasing a problem that isn't the U.S.'s to resolve. 

jmac
jmac

@Whatanotion @jmac Was she helping with birth control when a drunk husband came home late and threw his wife on the bed and raped her?  

jmac
jmac

@Sibir_Russia @jmac When you arm Assad, you arm Hezbollah.  The U.S. Netherlands, UK, France, Canada, Israel, Australia and the European Union consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

Good job, Russia.  

jmac
jmac

@manlyman I didn't vote for this conservative Blue Dog right- of-center president!  (The first time - I had no choice the second time (no write-ins in my state the second time).    He's a Republican on the economy.   He gave us a Republican Health Care Plan (no doubt about it).  

I'm fine with doing nothing as long as the next Republican gets to do nothing.  It's their call.  I'll respect their vote.   Let them join Kucinich and the Vatican with a peace vote (let them waver with a vote that says Obama's not bombing enough, or that he's too late or whatever they want to do to justify their vote).   Let them put away their America flags, jingoism and shouts of USA and Freedom Fries when they want to invade a country or they want us to protect Israel so biblical prophesy can be fulfilled.     I'm with you.   

jmac
jmac

@Paul,nnto @jmac @Falcon24 I understand you're angry with me and that you will not respond but I'm going to write anyway.    You have changed from saying the US is chasing a problem that isn't the U.S.'s to resolve to you're a no vote because it would do more harm than good.   That's two totally different things.  

Of course I have concerns with what follows.   The harm to be done if we do nothing is that we  are utter and complete fools for invading Iraq for chemical weapons use that was a lie and now we will show the world that we will do absolutely nothing for the exact reason that we used to invade Iraq.  If we do nothing, we should pull completely out.   We have no business bombing al Qaeda in Yemen if we're not going to address Syria's use of chemical weapons, Hezebollah and al Qaeda playing footsie to cause trouble.   We have to pull out if we do nothing or we look ridiculous.  

I'm not being sarcastic in any way when I say let's pull out if Congress votes no.   Let's let the EU see how they will resolve the problem.  Let's not play world police and see how Europe (and the UK that helped lie us into an invasion of Iraq) will resolve Syria.  I'm livid with the UK vote.   They are as much responsible for our invasion of Iraq as Bush.  


Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@jmac @Paul,nnto @Falcon24 My concern is my country. 

Unless and until you-and I do mean you-can make a case that an attack would do more good than harm I will remain in the no camp. 

That you seem to have no concern about what follows rings all too familiar to the U.S.'s recent follies. 

And that is the second, and last, time I'll respond to your tone.  Enjoy your evening.

jmac
jmac

@Paul,nnto @jmac @Falcon24 Do you agree with me that we should pull completely out of the region since you think it's not a problem for us to resolve?   Are you with me on that?  Is the question too sarcastic?  Should we quit hitting al Qaeda in Yemen?  We're bombing.  Should we worry about the thousands of prisoners that have been released from Pakistan, Africa and the mIddle east?

I'm not being sarcastic.  What do you think?  I'm assuming you think that using chemical weapons is not an excuse to do anything in any country in the middle east.  Is that right?  

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@jmac @Paul,nnto @Falcon24 I respect your thoughts jmac, and have for long time, but if you could dial back the sarcasm when addressing me I would appreciate it.


jmac
jmac

@Paul,nnto @jmac @Falcon24 I'm  with you Paul.  We vote no, I'm fine.  I want the no vote respected.  

That means we pull  out of the Middle East ("that's not "a problem (for) the US to revolve").   Let's do it -  and we let The Vatican, Europe, Russia  decide what to do with the Middle East.  It's their neighborhood.    If Israel is hit with chemical weapons we let Israel handle it.   We quit using drones in Yemen - despite that Yemen wants us to.     We make conservative shut up about a full scale war (they so want against radical terrorists - they don't want a strategic strike to send a message).    We make sure if the next president is a Republican we hear nothing about war.   We isolate ourselves.  We concentrate on our economy.   We try to be as rich as the Vatican as we pray for peace.  

No one knows what "collateral damage" will result.   We do know that it makes us complete hypocrites to push an invasion on Iraq  to the world with lies about chemical weapons, then sit back and do nothing when chemical weapons are used in a country that was always more dangerous than the weak Iraq.  I'm for it - we've been hypocrites before.     We'll certainly be hypocrites again if a REpublican is elected.  For sure.  


jmac
jmac

@bbfer @jmac @Whatanotion Is Hillary Rodham Clinton helping the women of India?  Does that make her a saint?   You, too, are nothing but a person sitting typing.  But both of us have a say in women's rights by our vote.  

Let the Vatican put a Nun on the Bus at the table.  Is that asking too much?  Let's make one of those Nuns on the Bus a Saint.   As a non-believer, I'd buy the medal.  

bbfer
bbfer

@jmac @Whatanotion What were you doing to help the women of India, JMAC? You are nothing but a person sitting typing.