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. Rusty Yates

    Would be nice if he really did represent a god that was good, not evil like the god of the bible.

    September 2, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • EX catholic

      He is an Idolater you fool, he does not represent God. Idolatry is a very grave and serious SIN. You are evil and represent the evil one just like he does!

      September 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • Rusty Yates

        Ahhh, A prophet. A seer you are. Divine. You can see what others can't. Obviously you are in touch with God. You have the ability to winnow the chaff from the seed. God has blessed you with his sight. You speak his word. Others do not see your truth but should – for their own good. If they would only listen to you.

        September 2, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Rafael

      "Love your enemies"(Matthew 5 42-48) and "Treat others the way you want to be treated"(Matthew 7:12) is Evil? Because that's the summary of YHWH(The Father and The Son(Jesus Christ) and The Holy Spirit) mission in The Bible. minor(and I mean minor) interpolations is just that, interpolation He(YHWH) isn't evil, He is love(1 john 4:8) and He is The Good

      September 3, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Katie

      "God of the Bible" was not evil. The people of that day were violent (just like so many are today) and projected their violence onto Him. They thought He was a violent and judgemental, but they were wrong. He became man to show us the way and the truth. God's true colors are show in Christ hanging on the cross, forgiving those who persecuted him. God is good and loves us ALL dearly. People who commit violent acts in the name of God are just confused, and I pray that God will help them to see that forgiveness and love are his will, not war.

      September 7, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
  2. Lionly Lamb

    According to LEAP or Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Drugs are bad and drugs wars are worse... Their movement is growing in strength and I sure do hope their message will go throughout the whole world even here in the USA for the drug wars are a scourge to any and all nations where personal drug use behaviorisms can only be changed via the openness of drug use and not having drug users slink in the darkness of socialisms hiding in their troublesome issues as being viewed as being common criminals which many are not... Most drug users are habitually centered around the feelings that drugs raise within their psyche and the temporary relief from all manner of social pains and personalized despondencies found within their livelihoods...

    September 2, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
  3. Lionly Lamb


    September 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
  4. Lionly Lamb


    go to leap.cc to see more,,, That's leap.cc

    September 2, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  5. Lionly Lamb


    September 2, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  6. Lionly Lamb


    September 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      for gosh sake, chill out and smoke a joint. florida's got to be filled with pot

      September 3, 2013 at 6:52 am |
  7. jrumor

    i do like this new pope (much better than benedict 16)...

    i just don't trust the vatican or the catholic church.
    look at the trouble (including wars) they have caused over the last 1700 years.

    September 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  8. bostontola

    "Atheists have mass murdered more people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries. Most rational people find mass murder unhealthy."

    1) the statement is false on numbers alone. Adding all killed by Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. doesn't add up to all killed by leaders previously.
    2) Stalin didn't kill for atheism, he killed to consolidate his power. In fact, I know of no case where mass murder was committed in the name of atheism.

    The top statement is as useful as saying more people have been killed by men with mustaches, therefore mustaches are not healthy for children and other living things. Absurd.

    On the other hand, many have perpetrated mass murder/genocide in the name of their religion or to devastate another religion. Less than 20 yeas ago there was a religious genocide in Bosnia. Hitler was not an atheist, his genocide was primarily targeted at Jews (even if you claim Hitler was atheist, he clearly didn't kill for atheism). There are plenty more examples.

    Please provide 1 example where a mass murder was perpetrated in the name of atheism.

    September 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Akira

      He can't. And he told to refrain from stupidity when I told him that none of the murders were done "in the name of atheism".
      I hope you have better luck, bostontola.

      September 2, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
      • bostontola

        You're right. They don't seem to learn. The logical fallacies over and over.

        September 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Colin

      Stalin and the others murdered because they were atheists not in the name of atheism. That in the name of atheism crap is a shell game trying trying to hide the hundreds of millions of corpses sick demented atheism has produced. Mass murder and hiding it are character traits of atheists so is lying, no real surprise in that.

      September 2, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • Colin

        Liar. You are not the real original Colin here and you know it. You are a typical lying Christian.

        September 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
      • bostontola

        Christian Colin,
        Your logic is atrocious. More mass murders are perpetrated by men than women. In fact almost all (if not all) have been done by men. By your logic, men are bad. Mass murder has been perpetrated by religious and atheist, that is incontrovertible. You confuse cause, effect, and irrelevant factors. When it comes to genocide, atheism is an irrelevant factor. Religion and belief in god has many times been the cause. You have poor critical thinking skills.

        September 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Rafael

      Albania, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_atheism#Albania

      September 5, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
  9. Lionly Lamb

    An old ten dollar bill shows hemp harvesting on the bill's backside and is itself made of hemp...


    September 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  10. Lionly Lamb

    Are we winning the war that government has waged on cannabis sativa for nearly a hundred years here in the USA..? How much longer will the autocracy’s bureaucratic aristocracies lay waste to the naturally occurring symbiosis of cannabis and mankind..? Is it better for mankind to seek out cures for one’s illnesses by the uses of all measures of cannabis sativa from smoking it to hemp oils for ingestion purposes and also as a salve for skin cancers and 3rd degree burns on the body..?

    September 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
  11. Apple Bush

    Question to the real Observer, did you pick that name from "Fringe" ?

    September 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Observer

      Apple Bush,

      Nope. Just because I observe and give my observations. Nothing any deeper than that.

      September 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  12. Apple Bush


    One tiny hole that is; zero
    Large porous spaces
    Grass and critters. Critters crawling by; Crawling
    Tiny little holes; giant tiny holes
    Absorbing and spinning and crashing
    One narrative of all perception; the position can’t change
    You are right there

    September 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Akira

      Some haikus are strange.
      They end unexpectedly.

      September 2, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Akira, thank you for understanding non-traditional haiku. The nature them gives it away.

      September 3, 2013 at 1:06 am |
  13. Lionly Lamb


    September 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  14. Earth Shattering Newsflesh

    What one says is not necessarily what one is really thinking or feeling.

    September 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  15. Apple Bush

    I wish I could show you what she looks like Bigot Observer. To think no dudes will every defile her.

    September 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Here is the problem though. I only have two kids, both girls. The other one dresses like Gene Kelley and she is 12. You do the math....

      September 2, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  16. geno marcello

    The Pope has the right to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church. Barack Obama is not the Pope. The majority of the American voters elected Obama President. I did not agree and did not vote for him, but he is in the Oval Office and will be there until his term expires or the people and the government evict him, which I profoundly wish would happen. He has not done a good job in representing America around the world, and he has done a poor job at home. My personal desire would be for him to admit his personal failings as a leader and resign.

    September 2, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Master Shake

      The pope
      will speak
      when spoken to
      by me
      and me alone!

      September 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Akira

      What the holy hell does the Pope's wish for Syria have to do with BO?
      Just a gratuitous slam against a sitting POTUS, who has done no better or no worse than out other elected POTUS has in the last 40 years.
      He won't, and shouldn't resign, but you can hold on to your fantasy.

      September 2, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  17. Lionly Lamb

    Hemp Building Presentation


    September 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    September 2, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • bostontola

      What is healthy for children and other living things? Not Christianity and prayer. Faith healing kills hundreds of innocent children. The Christian religion teaches that the earth and its living things are for men to do with as they please. That has led to centuries of exploitation, pollution, and extinction of species. Wow, that's a scary track record.

      September 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
      • Colin

        Atheists have mass murdered more people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries. Most rational people find mass murder unhealthy.

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

          Are you speaking of totalitarian regimes? Because I cannot think of one death that was done "in the name of atheism", whereas there have been plenty in the name of God/Allah.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
        • Colin

          Please try to refrain from stupidity, ever atheist despot that has ever ruled a country has been a mass murderer, that is not coincidence that is an atheist character trait.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Colin, mzh cut off his session early so if you want to get started that's fine.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • jessej


          September 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
        • Akira

          Please refrain from being a dick, Colin. Although some despots may have been atheist, atheism isn't the cause of despotic behavior. One of the biggest despots was Hitler, having caused the deaths of over 12 million people, was Catholic.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
        • Colin

          A careful examination of history reveals that hitler was an atheist.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • Observer


          "A careful examination of history reveals that hitler was an atheist."

          A careful examination of history reveals that Hitler constantly reassured supporters that he was a Christian.

          September 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
        • omeany

          Not that it's healthy to have a contest but the record history provides us is very clear, more people have died for or by the hands of religion. Until people stop projecting their fears and hatreds on a "God" and face the fact that it is not God that hates the enemy but they themselves history will continue to experience more of these kinds of wars.

          Have you ever wondered why it is that God hates gays and people who do not believe as you? It's because God is not involved in the equation. God is used as a rationale for hatred and to control people and that's all there is to it. Once people get past the treat of "eternal damnation" I believe (eventually) we will be able to live more peacefully with each other knowing we are responsible for our own actions and our own morality.

          September 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
        • Akira

          A careful examination of history reveals he never denounced the Catholic Faith, and kept his standing within the church until his dying day.

          September 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
        • Sejones

          "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... "
          -Adolf Hitler.

          Sure sounds like an atheist to me. /sarcasm

          September 2, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Observer

      WORST case EVER for being unhealthy for children and other things:

      (Gen. 7:21 “And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and ALL HUMAN BEINGS”

      No atheist EVER did anything REMOTELY REMOTELY like that.

      September 2, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
      • Colin

        Do give us accurate numbers please. We can number the victims of atheists as some are more than 100 million by themselves. Given the entire world population would have only been a small fraction of that number back then on what do you base your opinion?

        September 2, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
        • Observer


          The numbers are based on the percentage of the population of the world wiped out.

          When God was done with his killing spree, according to the Bible only 8 people were left or ZERO, take your pick.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
        • Colin

          Seems Christian god is more of a killer than the worst atheists then.

          September 2, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  19. Apple Bush

    mzh, by golly I really like you. I would like you to tea bag me sir. If you please sir.

    September 2, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Akira

      I take it you're not against "the gay."

      September 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      The gay is people too.

      September 2, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
      • Observer

        Just extremely filthy people!

        September 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Observer, while it is true that my daughter is gay and filthy, someday she WILL learn to pick up after herself!

          September 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
        • Observer

          How will she pick up AIDS?

          September 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Very carefully. And in a lab.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
        • Observer

          It's pathetic to see someone so ignorantly bigoted using the same name as I do.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
      • Akira

        Yes, they are, and should be afforded all rights and privileges as the rest of the country.
        It just cracks me up when I see people use that term, "the gay".

        September 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
        • Observer

          True qu eer, fa ggot or fairy would be more appropriate.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
        • Jeff Roem

          My name is Jeff Roem, and I regularly steal known user names to post my hatred and bigotry under. I deserve nothing but contempt. Nothinng worse than a self hating Jew who trolls the BB trying to be everyman. Pity me.

          September 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
        • Akira

          I don't care who you are, knock off the hijacking of names. Post your garbage under your own damn name.

          September 2, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I don't know anyone who has a bad thing to say about my gay 16 year old daughter, except Observer who does not know her.

        September 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • Observer

          Since when is Truth bad?

          September 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
        • Observer

          Apple Bush,

          Please keep in mnd that you are not reading quotes from me, the person who usually uses the name Observer.

          It could be a person like faith who uses many names and probably would have no problem stealing a name.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
        • AB

          I know O, no worries yo.

          September 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
        • Akira

          ID thiefs are the most cowardly. Your daughter is lovely. Think nothing of people like faux Observer.

          September 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
        • Observer


          "ID thiefs are the most cowardly."

          Amen, no matter which "side" they are on.

          September 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
      • mzh


        I have no doubt that they are human and I do not hate any human as I believe that human are all my brothers and sisters in mankind from different mother...

        I was talking about the action that people do...


        September 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
        • Kate

          mzh, enough of your insincere exhortations of "peace" already. Stop trying to promote your religion of terror here under false premises.Your religion plainly teaches you to hate, and it's visible with each passive aggressive post you make. You've been caught out on that, and here are some exceprts of how violent the Quran really demands that you be:

          It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he has made slaughter in the land. – 8:67

          Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. – 2:191

          Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme. (different translation: ) Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is God's entirely. – Sura 2:193 and 8:39

          Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. – 2:216
          (different translation: ) Prescribed for you is fighting, though it is hateful to you.

          ..... martyrs.... Enter heaven – Surah 3:140-43

          But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever you find them. – 4:89

          O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people. – 5:54

          Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme – 8:39

          O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there are 20 steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish 200; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding. – 8:65

          Allah and His apostle are free from obligations to idol-worshipers. Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers. – 9:2-3

          When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. – 9:5

          Fight those who believe neither in God nor the Last Day, nor what has been forbidden by God and his messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are People of the Book, until they pay the tribute and have been humbled. – 9:29 (another source: ) The unbelievers are impure and their abode is hell. (another source: ) Humiliate the non-Muslims to such an extent that they surrender and pay tribute.

          mzh, please stop trying to promote your religion of terror here.

          September 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  20. Lionly Lamb


    September 2, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Akira

      I know I asked you this yesterday, LL, but I didn't see your answer, so I'll repeat the question: have you recently discovered pot?

      September 2, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Hi Akira...

        I am an old hippie who used it recreationally but it isn't until I began looking into all the uses for cannabis sativa that I am now convinced that if properly regulated, cannabis will become Life's staple in all forms of medicine and textile manufacturing and building constructions and even such things as perfumes and soaps...

        September 2, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
      • sam stone

        akira: no, he started at 16. now 58, he is afaid to get busted. i don't see legalization coming soon down there in blue hair country

        September 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • Akira

        Thanks for the explanations, guys.
        Ll, Woody Harrelson would *love* you.

        "Blue hair country" being Florida, sam? Lol. Probably not, athough I think that the elderly would benefit from a j or two.

        September 2, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Akira, from what I think I know about LL based on undiscovered evidence, LL is in favor of legalizing drugs and prostitution. And I believe he does partake.

      September 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Sired Bush...

        I am not for the overall legalization of currently illegal drugs that are physically addicting... The ingesting of cannabis sativa is not physically addicting yet it does yield one to become a habitual user such as I once was... Having been cannabis free now for a good while, I have concluded that governmental regulations regarding its consumption for medicinal purposes is outweighing it's negatives... I await when my state will hopefully legalize it even for medicinal purposes for it would be a good alternative for my brother's addiction to heavy alcohol use... BTW, I am morally against the legalization of prostitution for such to be legalized might well demoralize the traditions of married Life...

        September 2, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • Dippy

          Its, not it's.I

          September 2, 2013 at 8:43 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.