Can Pope Francis take credit for the renewed diplomatic efforts to end the violence in Syria?

Russian President Valdimir Putin penned a letter to the American, in which he says that US military intervention in Syria would be both against international law and bad for America. Interestingly, he also notes that Pope Francis has been strongly opposed to military action:

The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism.

At Busted Halo, I wrote about Pope Francis’s anti-war Tweeting and peace vigil. News emerged, too, that the pope wrote a letter to Putin and other leaders attending the G20 summit in St. Petersburg last week, imploring them to find a diplomatic solutions to the violence in Syria. He wrote:

the meeting will surely not forget the situation in the Middle East and particularly in Syria. It is regrettable that, from the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, one-sided interests have prevailed and in fact hindered the search for a solution that would have avoided the senseless massacre now unfolding. The leaders of the G20 cannot remain indifferent to the dramatic situation of the beloved Syrian people which has lasted far too long, and even risks bringing greater suffering to a region bitterly tested by strife and needful of peace. To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution. Rather, let there be a renewed commitment to seek, with courage and determination, a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties, unanimously supported by the international community.

The Pope has hit homeruns with his kind words for atheists, gays, and single moms. Can he now add a diplomatic coup to his list of accomplishments?

Categories: Beliefs

Michael J. O'Loughlin

Michael J. O'Loughlin

Michael J. O’Loughlin writes about religion and politics from Washington, D.C., paying close attention to the role of the Catholic Church in public life. His writing has appeared in Religion & Politics, the Jesuit magazine America, on, and in Duke Divinity School’s Faith & Leadership.

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