By Patrick Nicholson
The Catholic Church in Syria has made this powerful statement on the crisis there, where daily violence continues to have a deadly toll and more people are crossing the borders to neighbouring countries.
The statement is in French. It’s calling for an end to the violence and especially all forms of intimidation such as kidnappings and assassinations. It supports the humanitarian mission of UN Envoy Kofi Annan and especially the need to demilitarise the streets.
The Syrican church says in the statement (my translation), “The violence has gone beyond the limit and we can only forcefully urge wise minds to come to their senses and abondon all that is destroying the people and the country.”
The Syrian church is saying it stands in solidarity with all Syrians as they seek a dignified life. It supports the reform process, the need for a democratic and pluralistic society and the urgent need to start negotiations and bring an end to the cycle of violence through dialogue.
Meanwhile, the work of Caritas continues in Syria and with refugees in neighbouring countries. In Lebanon, the mobile clinic of Caritas Lebanon, with a full time certified nurse and occasionally a doctor on board, is touring the different places in the Bekaa on a daily basis making 15-minute stops to give access to basic patient care and medicines to those in need.
That’s just part of the Caritas Lebanon response. Caritas Lebanon has distributed over 400 food kits, 2800 hygiene kits, 100 baby kits, over 1200 undergarments, 100 heaters and 2800 blankets and sheets.
In Jordan, Caritas has been issuing vouchers helping Syrian refugees to receive infant formula and nappies from a Caritas affiliated pharmacy in Mafraq. So far, 30 needy Syrian families have benefited from this assistance. This comes as part of a plan that seeks to deliver this assistance to 200 infants for six months.
More refugees continue to come across the border, with their heartbreaking stories. Children in particular have been affected. According to the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, 1,089 children – boys and girls alike – have been killed so far, and 464 wounded.
But sadly funding to help them is not coming in despite the real needs of people who have witnessed terrible suffering.
Final Report of the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy in Syria Continue reading