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Bishops Kicanas and Pates Urge Kerry to Work for Syria Ceasefire

June 19, 2013 by

The chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services has joined with the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in calling for a ceasefire in Syria and increased aid for the many suffering the consequences of the war in that country.

CRS chair Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., and Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on June 19, shortly after Bishop Kicanas returned from a fact-finding trip to Lebanon where he met with Syrian refugees.

The letter urges a negotiated end to the Syrian conflict and an effort to build “an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.” The USCCB wrote in a news release:

WASHINGTON—The bishops overseeing the U.S. Church’s international peace and relief efforts urged Secretary of State John Kerry to work with other governments to obtain a ceasefire in Syria, initiate negotiations and provide humanitarian assistance, all in an effort to build “an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.”

Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, sent the letter June 19. Bishop Pates is chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Kicanas is chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services, the bishops’ international humanitarian agency.

“The Syrian people urgently need a political solution that ends the fighting and creates a future for all Syrians, one that respects human rights and religious freedom,” wrote Bishop Pates and Bishop Kicanas. The bishops cited the appeals for peace in Syria made by Pope Francis on Easter Sunday and in his June 15 message to the G8 Summit….

Read the full USCCB news release and the full letter from Bishops Kicanas and Pates.

For more, read Bishop Kicanas’ reflections from his recent trip to Lebanon to meet with Syrian refugees:

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