Pope to G-20: Keep your armies out of Syria
Pope Francis devoted much of his weekly speech on September 4 in Rome to the Syrian conflict.
September 5th, 2013
12:04 PM ET

Pope to G-20: Keep your armies out of Syria

By Daniel BurkeCNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Pope Francis on Thursday wrote to the G-20 leaders, saying that military intervention in Syria would be "futile" and urging them to seek a diplomatic solution instead.

"To the leaders present, to each and every one," Francis wrote in a public letter, "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."

The pope's letter was addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is hosting the G-20 meeting, where the Syrian conflict is expected to take center stage.

Francis has condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria and called for a day of prayer and fasting on Sept. 7 to press for peace in Syria.

He also chided the international community for letting "one-sided interests" prevent them from finding a solution.

But while lamenting the "senseless massacre unfolding" in Syria, he has also rejected calls for a military strike against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also urged President Obama and Congress not to use military force in Syria.

"A central moral question is: Will more or less lives and livelihoods be destroyed by military intervention?" Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Bishop Richard Pates, who represent the bishops, wrote to Congress on Thursday.

"Instead of employing armed force," the bishops continued,"in this situation our nation, working with the international community, should direct all of its energies urgently and tirelessly toward dialogue and negotiation."

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Foreign policy • Pope Francis • Syria

soundoff (589 Responses)
  1. Chris K

    Interesting article & I was fascinated by this CNBC Closing Bell interview that addresses the specific outcomes of the G-20 summit with an international macro-economic scholar: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000197755

    September 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  2. What if Putin is correct?

    Did you see where the "moderate" rebels have taken over a Christian village northeast of Damascus? Torturing the priests. Vowing to level the place so it cannot "hurt" islam anymore? Admiral Nimitz would roll in his grave knowing that his ship would become air support for these throat-cutters. May a well run up the black Al Qaida flag up on the Nimitz.

    September 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  3. Lionly Lamb

    Religious Islamism is made up of many varying sects being somewhat very similar in natures toward Christian varieties yet there are marked differences. Although some Christians tend to feed rather liberally upon simplified religious adversities around different Christendom valuations: there is a marked difference within many chauvinistic male dominated Islamic sects…

    The male dominated Islamic religions seem to render becoming likened toward Islamic fascism. These male dominated fascist Islamic regimes of broken brotherhoods bear marked tendencies toward upsetting the socialized religious mainstays of Christian and other multi-various religious folds setting forth and establishing multi-disciplined interdependencies within their Quran written understandings being terminally shed within their vocalized Islamic schisms…

    While regarding their religious continuities becoming liberally more fascist: Islam suppresses the women of Islamism via Islamic male infidelities being the dominant factors of Islamic women’s servitudes. Today’s so called Muslim Brotherhoods are but fascist bands of youth orientated Islamists seeking out socialized nationalistic power thru physically violent means as is nowadays being played out within the Middle East nations which is now the case in Syria….

    September 9, 2013 at 5:15 am |
  4. bostontola

    What if Putin is correct?

    Elvis and Hitler were the master minds. JFK knew about it and was going to spill the beans so they had to assassinate him. Hitler was the trigger man and Elvis signaled the all clear with his umbrella. Jimmy Hoffa drove the getaway car. Putin smiled.

    September 8, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Akira

      Lol. Dude needs to tighten up the foil cap.

      September 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  5. Kenrick Benjamin

    I believe that the United Nations using its resources, should broker a seize fire in Syria and should establish a dialogue between the rebels and the government to come to an amicable solution.

    September 8, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • sam stone

      that tactic as worked so well in the past?

      September 9, 2013 at 4:49 am |
  6. Reality

    Once again:

    From a former member of the US Army's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Corps i.e. me:

    The Syrian leaders need to be taken out quickly before they again use nerve or biological agents and/or mustard gas on their population or elsewhere.

    For those interested in the chemical weapons development and use in Iraq:

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_chemical_weapons_program for what appears to be a good review of the Iraqi chemical weapons' development and use. It appears the Germans, Austrians and Soviets were deeply involved in the Iraqi commercial production and use of said chemical weapons. Assistance was provided by a surprising number of other countries to include the USA.

    September 8, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • Alan

      Whatever happened to the principle of "innocent until proven guilty"? Supposition isn't evidence, and that is all there is for the question about who used chemical weapons in Syria.
      On the other hand, the US was never held accountable for using Agent Orange or depleted uranium, or for torture; all of which it has admitted.

      September 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  7. OK - we'll keep our armies OUT of Syria - we promise!


    September 8, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  8. Lionly Lamb


    September 7, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  9. What if Putin is correct?

    What would happen if it were proven that the muslim brotherhood/Al Qaida rebels were the one who used the chemical weapons on the Syrian civilians? Then would Obama be so gung-ho for a strike on his own pals? Not that the CIA of this administration would ever stage such an attack....

    September 7, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      How different would the world or even just the USA be if Chief Babble Humper and Former Monkey In Charge Bush hadn't been an outright liar and mentally ill delusional who attacked Iraq because his god told him to?

      September 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Obama + Bush are both evil warlords.

        September 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
      • What if Putin is correct?

        He attacked Saddam because Saddam would not play ball $$$ with the NWO. They "removed" him. Besides, I'm not quite sure who the "god" of W. would be exactly.

        September 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          How can you condemn Obama and not Bush?

          September 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Also, saying you don't know which god Bush followed is disingenuous seeing as he mentioned him every time he spoke (although I'd doubt the sincerity of his beliefs).

          September 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Because Obama is black and Bush isn't?

          September 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Because he thinks Obama is a muslim but Bush is god-fearing (but mentally ill delusional) christian?

          September 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          That sounds plausible.

          September 7, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
        • What if Putin is correct?

          Bush is sitting on his ass on a ranch in TX-he has done his share of damage. But, assuming we have an election in 2016, his brother Jeb will probably be running the show. If you remember correctly, Jeb and his daddy H.W. visited Obama awhile back(even though it wasn't on the White House guest register-no one denies they were there). For what purpose??? We have no choice in the elections anymore.

          September 7, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          See http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/01/obama-hosts-george-hw-and-jeb-bush-at-white-house-112638.html for a public account of this secret and no doubt nefarious meeting.

          September 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
        • Akira

          Jeb won't be elected. Period.
          That name holds too many connotations and the US is Bush-weary.

          September 8, 2013 at 11:21 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          While I am tired of the Bush family, I will never be weary of bush.

          September 8, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • What if Putin is correct?

        And if you're claiming that the current monkey in the WH(the supposed Christian that wears a muslim ring and thinks the muslim call to prayers is the most beautiful sound in the world) is any better-you're nuts.

        September 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
        • midwest rail

          It's not a "muslim ring" – do some research besides right wing fanatic sites.

          September 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
        • What if Putin is correct?

          Is it Arabic writing or not?

          September 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
        • What if Putin is correct?

          Did Obama say that about the muslim call to prayer or not?

          September 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
        • midwest rail


          September 7, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
        • What if Putin is correct?

          That's for you midwestrail.

          September 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
        • midwest rail

          And this is for you.

          September 7, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
        • midwest rail

          And you're seriously citing anonymous posters to Yahoo answers as a legitimate news source ? Good grief.

          September 7, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
        • Matthew 5:21

          “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Worthless!' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell."

          You're a CHRISTIAN HYPOCRITE, full of the sin of PRIDE and HYPOCRISY and BEARING FALSE WITNESS.

          Burn in the fires of your own, imaginary hell.

          September 8, 2013 at 1:07 am |
        • What if Putin is correct?

          midwestrail, Sorry. How's this from the indvidual from the New York Times who interviewed Obama. The interviewer ADMITS openly that Obama said this. Satisfied?

          September 8, 2013 at 9:04 am |
        • midwest rail

          You provided no link, so while I can't substantiate your claim, so what if he said it ? The assertion that Obama is a muslim has been so thoroughly debunked by so many different sources that to continue in that direction is laughable. Do you admit that his ring bears NO arabic inscription ?

          September 8, 2013 at 9:13 am |
        • What if Putin is correct?


          September 8, 2013 at 9:13 am |
        • doobzz

          I think that Christmas hymns sound beautiful. Does that make me a Christian?

          September 8, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • What if Putin is correct?

          Christmas is a pagan day celebrating the birth of the sun god. Yeshua(Jesus) was born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles and circ.umcised the 8th Day.

          September 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • What if Putin is correct?

      So Ace, would he bomb the muslim brotherhood/Al Qaida or not? Perhaps you should get off you msm news and see what the people of Eygpt think of Obama and his administration. Look at some of the signs THEY were carrying BEFORE Morsi got toppled. You should see what they think of him now-pictures of O that look like Satan.

      September 7, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Sorry, don't know what msm is, and I don't care what anyone thinks of Obama or any other president or world leader for that matter. But it does seem to me that it is obvious that Obama has taken on Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists. Perhaps you don't believe that Bin Ladin is dead?

        September 7, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Jesus, you are a nutjob. Your fears are descending from mildly overboard to batsh!t crazy. It went from fear over our 2nd Amendment rights (a valid fear) to fear of WWIII (a valid fear, considering what's happening in Syria) to fear of the NWO (BS in my mind, although who knows what happens behind closed doors) to Obama being Satan (Full retard. You never go full retard).

        September 7, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Would it be impolite to say "I told you so."?

          September 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Sorry, I just read that properly. You haven't gone full retard. Please don't.

          September 7, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          No, it wouldn't. It's what I get for defending nutjobs, although he still made some valid points.

          September 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and eventually someone will correctly predict the end of the world.

          September 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • If frogs had wings

        they wouldn't bump their buttocks when they hop.

        IF, If, if... Well, it's NOT if ANYTHING. So stop playing hypothetical with crap you know can't/won't happen.

        September 8, 2013 at 12:27 am |
      • Matthew 5:21

        “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Worthless!' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell."


        Burn in the fires of your own, imaginary hell.

        September 8, 2013 at 1:08 am |
        • What if Putin is correct?

          Give it a rest Matt, you're NOT my brother:
          Mat 13:38

          “The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.

          Mat 13:39

          “The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.

          Mat 13:40

          “Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.

          Mat 13:41

          “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,

          Mat 13:42

          “and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

          Mat 13:43

          “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

          September 8, 2013 at 9:09 am |
        • sam stone

          wow, a furnace of fire......must be pretty scary for those who believe in that tripe

          September 9, 2013 at 4:59 am |
  10. What if Putin is correct?

    What an absolute laugh watching cnn news tonight. Showing us how Diane Feinstein had the CIA make a PROOAGANDA dvd to persuade Congress and all of the sheeple. What a joke! Hey Diane, how about showing the videos of muslim brotherhood/Al Qaida attrocities? The priest being decapitated? Show that on the nightly news on all the msm PROPAGANDA networks. Does this administration really think the American people are this STUPID? Then again, they elected this regime-twice. Nevermind.

    September 7, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Was the decapitated Priest a pedophile?

      Or was he just one of those priests that protected and sheltered pedophiles?

      September 8, 2013 at 12:29 am |
      • What if Putin is correct?

        Probably not but the islamic s.o.b. that caused his 8-year-old Yemeni "bride" to die from internal bleeding is. Look it up.

        September 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  11. What if Putin is correct?

    Did it ever occur to the POTUS that Hezzbollah may just have sleeper cells already in the U.S. ? We keep hearing about how there will be "no boots on the ground" and the pilots will release their weapons from a safe distance, etc. If you declare war or attack Syria, then we may consider ourselves fair game for retaliation, correct? Anyone think of this? Or is this what they WANT?

    September 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • What if Putin is correct?

      Come to think of it, that would give the administration the excuse to deploy U.S. troops HERE in our streets-all to "protect" us, of course. Maybe this where the billion+ rounds of ammo that DHS bought will come into play.

      September 7, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
  12. What if Putin is correct?


    September 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  13. What if Putin is correct?

    Speaking to his human rights council Wednesday, Putin said, "This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them (the Americans), and we assume they are decent people, but he is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad."

    September 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  14. What if Putin is correct?


    September 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.