Pope condemns use of chemical weapons in Syria
Pope Francis has called for peaceful resolution to Syria's escalating civil war.
September 2nd, 2013
11:39 AM ET

Pope condemns use of chemical weapons in Syria

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - As President Obama rallies support for a military strike on Syria, Pope Francis condemned chemical weapons and called for an international day of fasting and prayer to press for a peaceful resolution to Syria's escalating civil war.

The pope tweeted an anti-war message to his nearly 3 million Twitter followers on Monday, repeating a theme he has sounded with increasing urgency in recent days.

On Sunday, Francis devoted much of his Angelus address in Rome to Syria.

"There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry," the pope said, "but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming."

However, the pope also said that people who use chemical weapons - as the Syrian government has been accused of doing - will face divine judgement.

"With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable!"

The pope also proclaimed September 7 a day of prayer and fasting for Syrian peace, and invited the world's 1.5 billion Catholics, as well as other Christians, followers of different religions and "all men of goodwill" to join him.

From 7-12 p.m. in Rome, Francis said, "we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world."

"Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace!" he said.

On Monday, the pope met with a delegation from the World Jewish Congress as Judaism's High Holidays approach. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, begins September 5.

“Pope Francis’ leadership has not only reinvigorated the Catholic Church but also given a new momentum to relations with Judaism," said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.

"Never in the past 2,000 years have relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people been so good."

- CNN Religion Editor

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

soundoff (516 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Peace requires rational thinking. Religion is not rational. Problem solved !!!

    September 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  2. Apple Bush

    I am now esoteric in my feelings towards believers that that are agnostic.

    September 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Keelyam

      Who cares???

      September 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Kill yams, I am feeling some negativity from you.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  3. God

    I agree. War is bad. In the New Testament, I was explicitly against it. However, most of my children use the Old Testament to justify their cruelty an need to kill. Then soldiers go off and commit murder, justifying it by obeying their leaders.

    Yet, killing is killing, no matter who told you to do it. Soldiers are murders.

    September 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  4. Ozymandias

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear -
    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.'

    September 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  5. Apple Bush

    The Pope is a fool.

    War will always necessary sometimes. This is not romper room.

    September 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • God

      What a lovely little world you must live in to believe that war will always be necessary.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Roger that

      So prayer is not the answer? I say we get the Rick Perry prayer team on this right away. If they can make it rain (two months later), then there is nothing they can't accomplish.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  6. brett

    How can a man who wears the chi roe exclaim no war?

    His religion (Roman Catholic) was founded on war. Ever heard of "in this sign conquer"?

    Pope Hypocrite....and the ignorant eat it up!

    September 2, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Lee

      Sorry, the Catholic Church was not founded by Constantine, it existed well before he did. Yeah, let's judge a man by something that happened centuries ago and blame him for it. Any skeletons in your family tree we should blame you for? Are you an American? Guess we should blame you for the genocide of the American Indians, the slavery of Africans and the sterilization by progressives of those deemed unworthy to procreate. Judged and ye shall be judged. I know I'm not perfect, you seem to claim you are.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Lee

      ......and by you're very statement then, you should be calling Obama a hypocrite as well. How can he tell the Syrian president not to gas people when we Americans ourselves knowingly used blankets laced with disease to kill off American Indians? I hope you are just as vociferous in your criticism of him as well. Are you?

      September 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  7. Apple Bush

    sweet smelling flowers roam the sidewalks
    while big bellied dandelions platoon;

    the spring rains are falling a funny tune at the expense
    of a funny man;

    stepping on and off the curb, looking a bit bored;
    eyes up and shoes flexed for the sprint

    suddenly bright sun elbowed it’s way between two clouds;
    a funny man flapped his ready feat into a small puddle and smiled.

    September 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Sorry, meant to post this at writerscafe.org. There we praise each others crappy writing and have pretend contests.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Akira

      *finger snaps*

      September 2, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Dippy

      Its, not it's.

      September 2, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  8. Apple Bush

    Can I just say this? Sometimes war is needed. But the problem with our world today is NO ONE but the U.S. will do a DAMN THING. They are, the whole world, spoiled by our commitment. Sure we fuck up sometimes, but who is always on the front lines? Look at the cost! Does anyone around the world look at us and see the sacrifice???

    September 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Doobs

      Q. What do you call 100,000 Frenchmen with their hands up?
      A. The Army.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      My problem with our military is the lack of fiscal accountability. Other than that, I do see the need to sit on the fence and watch. Who else will? Who?

      Additionally, taking out dictators should be a job we embrace with relish and carry out with great vigor. BUT we should be consistent in our policies.

      We make mistakes, be we can get better. In the mean time, kick ass.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Is the U.S. the police of the world? Yes. Does the rest of the world want to find out what things would be like without us? No. Do they appreciate the devastation our own people suffer at the hands of war? No.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  9. Jessica McGwin

    It is all I can I do.

    September 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  10. Bootyfunk

    uh oh... that old guy with dementia is wandering the streets telling people he's the voice of god again....

    September 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  11. tallulah13

    I'm sure that the people who are being killed are satisfied with the knowledge that the Pope thinks that "god will sort it out". I'm sure now that he's made his declaration, they will happily watch their children suffer horribly then die from chemical weapon attacks ordered by their own leader, because "they will face god's judgement".

    I'm sure that they will stop begging for help, now that this Pope has made his helpful declaration. Any day now.

    September 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Tallula, asking 2 million or so people to focus for a day on this problem can't hurt.

      September 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        excuse me 2 billion people

        September 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  12. southernsuga

    Amen, Papa!

    September 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  13. The Central Scrutinizer

    Who wants to hear the bunny poop story?

    September 2, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • it is

      I do.

      September 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      it is, sorry man I can't find it anymore. Oh well, suffice to say they are disgusting.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  14. wikipoops.com

    Do you have to tell a rabbit to take a bath? I say HELL NO!

    September 2, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • wikipoops.com

      sorry, wrong blog

      September 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Akira

      Hey, AB. What's the haps?

      September 2, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • AB

      Hi Akira, not much. Just trying to beat the heat. You? My rabbit is staring at me and chewing. That can't be good.

      September 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • Akira

        Pretty day, here. Nice, not humid, 70's.
        What is your rabbit chewing? Cute rabbit, BTW.

        September 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • AB

      The joke was wikipoops.com was supposed to be just a pile of rabbit poop. But then my rabbit got involved and now it looks like it was built in 2004 by a rabbit lady.

      September 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • Akira

        I especially liked the "Powered by: poop". Scatological humor cracks me up. My inner juvenile giggled.

        September 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
      • AB

        You are welcome.

        September 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  15. stephen48739

    I like Pope Francis. I'm a Protestant. My faith convinces me that a spiritual dimension exists and with enough positive energy, from those from all faiths, peace will prevail in Syria. Abstaining from food, for one day, on September 7th, will allow us to empathize with those who go to bed hungry, every night in third world countries.

    September 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • nope.


      September 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
      • Akira

        Don't you usually "nope" atheists, nope? Let me guess your answer. Nope.

        September 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • nope.


          September 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • Akira


          September 2, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Doobs

      At least you are honest enough to admit that this whole fasting for Syria nonsense only helps the person doing the fasting. It does nothing to help the Syrians.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  16. drturi

    Be amazed read Dr. Turi's rebuttals – Google "Yes Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same stolen God… dr.turi"

    September 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Doobs

      Be amazed when you are banned for spamming.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  17. He is Jehovah Shalom

    "The pope also proclaimed September 7 a day of prayer and fasting for Syrian peace"

    –That is a very wise decision!

    September 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Ed

      A practical pope, who practices what he preaches.

      September 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Doobs

      What a waste of time.

      September 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
      • Rick

        Not as much as you waste away on this blog.

        September 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • Doobs


          Fasting and prayer do nothing. I've already contacted my congressional representatives and have told them how I feel about this. How I choose to spend the rest of my morning is none of your concern.

          September 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • Rick

          How the Pope chooses to spend his time is none of your business either.

          September 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • Doobs

          I never said it was. Neither, to my knowledge did the pope criticize how I spend my time, so your analogy fails. You, Rick, were the one who criticized me, and I responded to you.

          The pope is a public figure, and he's not doing this on personal time. He's tweeting to the world. He also wants to tell me what I can and can't do with my own body. I have every right to criticize him.

          The day he "tweets" the authorities and turns in the pedophiles he and his organization are hiding is the day he might earn an iota of respect from me.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
        • Rick

          Enjoy trolling, you idiot!

          September 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
        • Doobs

          Is that the best you can do, Rick? The internet equivalent of a teenaged girl slamming her bedroom door? What a loser.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  18. John Stefanyszyn

    Fasting and prayer to which 'god'?
    ...since Jorge Bergoglio and the Roman church of universal values believes in freedom of all religions....since he believes that it is RIGHT (a right) to be free to worship any 'god'.

    BUT Christ, Son of the Only God, said that one is to worship the One Lord Creator and Him Alone to serve.

    Soon, Christ will rule as the One King according to the Will of One God and NOT according to man's "freedom will", the freedom which President Obama has confessed to be the 'Light' and the will of his god and the god of all "religions".

    September 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • JackMcMillan

      I've heard about the second coming all my life – hasn't happened, isn't going to happen. There is no jesus, no "god". They are fairy tales. Jesus is about as real as Santa, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth fairy, or Harry Potter.
      Stop believing such nonsense.

      September 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
      • it is

        Poor trapped Jack,
        belittled what he lacked,
        and lacking what he had belittled,
        sat within his trap.

        September 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • Doobs

          The kids couldn't hurt Jack,
          They tried, tried, tried.
          They dropped things on his back,
          They lied, lied, lied, lied, lied.

          But they couldn't stop Jack, 'or the waters lapping,
          And they couldn't prevent Jack from being happy.

          September 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • Akira

          More *finger snaps* for it is and Doobs.

          September 2, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  19. I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

    The Military Industrial Complex marches forward.

    September 2, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Mason


      September 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Right, but wrong.

        September 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • PortOurTroops

      "The Military Industrial Complex marches forward."

      –to the end of life on earth. It may be sooner than you think. It is certain to come if we cannot stop making war.

      September 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
      • Akira

        I agree.

        September 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • Ozymandias


        War is not a zero sum game.

        September 2, 2013 at 2:42 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.