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
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(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 Religion Editor

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

soundoff (589 Responses)
  1. Daryl Glick

    May all the faithful join the Holy Father and our bishops in praying for peace.

    September 5, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Athy

      Prayer doesn't work. Diplomacy might. Bombs will.

      September 5, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
      • porow

        Bombing for god will and some

        September 5, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
  2. HotAirAce

    HotAirAce to Pope-A-Dope: Keep your mentally ill delusionals, especially your pedophile priests, within the confines of your cult's clubhouses. In other words, Fuck Off!

    September 5, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  3. Scott 1956

    The Pope giving moral advice? When he can't even stop his priests from molesting little boys, and STILL trying to cover it up? Pope's who live in glass houses, shouldn't throw stones!

    September 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Dippy

      Popes, not Pope's.

      September 5, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • hharri

      And you our beloved hero.! Thank you for speaking out against that perverted black mamba, ms. Stone. If everyone would rebuke her, maybe this place wouldn't be the hated dump that it is.

      September 5, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
      • Doobs

        Did you watch Kill Bill last night, hharri?

        September 6, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  4. Andrew

    There will be more deaths due to the military intervention than without it.

    September 5, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • USMC 1371

      Not as many as those under the pope

      September 5, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  5. nacho


    September 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  6. Lionly Lamb


    September 5, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  7. The Sage

    More than two years on... and you think dialogue should still be at the center? I don't think so. Now that somebody has resorted to using chemical weapons, it is only logical that those that are blessed with the means to intervene militarily should do so and do so like now now. The government should be held accountable for either the chemical weapons attack or for failing to have found a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

    September 5, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Syria doesn't control huge amounts of oil, or any other resource we want, though.

      September 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • maybe

      Maybe the Arab League should LEAD for once.

      September 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Arab League or Allah one or the other.

        September 5, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • keleolisa

      Why the red line on chemical weapons? What's worse: 1,000 dead from chemical weaponry or 100,000 dead from bullets and mortars? Completely nonsensical for the issue to be how people are killed and not how many are killed.

      September 5, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
      • Lisa

        The problem is not so simple as which of 2 evils is worse at some specific point in time. Think about it some more.

        September 5, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Should mankind blame the war machine mongers who sell their warring goods to impoverished nations giving said nations the abilities to rule by military force..? The USA and Russia and China are the big three war machine enthusiasts keeping the bloodlines from their war machine makers alive and doing well...

        September 5, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
        • Lisa

          Where do you think the chem weapons came from?

          September 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
        • Theresa

          Lisa, you don't think Assad is capable of manufacturing CWs? Think again.

          September 5, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  8. Cpt. Obvious

    Chanting magic spells only works in myths.

    September 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • Doobs

      Or in people's imaginations.

      September 6, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  9. rory

    Sound like gospel

    September 5, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Andrew Rane

      'called for a day of prayer and fasting on Sept. 7 to press for peace in Syria', he should have done that 2 years ago!

      September 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
      • George

        Hey dude, he was not the Pope two years ago!

        September 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
      • Doobs

        Would it have been more effective then? Does fasting and prayer have an expiration date and a shelf life, like yogurt?

        September 6, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  10. Dan

    Right position... But, how to stop the war?

    September 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired Dan...

      The "limited' warring aspirations of nationally syndicated politicians and all their political backers will most likely get their "limited" war for the simple reason that the war machineries need a monetary income and this "limited" war will give the war machine their injections of much needed monetary income to sustain a stranglehold upon other wars such as the drugs wars and its need for bullet proof vests and bullets and all manner of customized warlike vehicles... 🙁 🙁 🙁

      September 5, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      How do you stop a religious and ideological war that has been raging for more than a thousand years in that region?

      I think the only answer is to take away the thing they are fighting over, their religion. And the only way to do that is to give up our own religion and sacrafice it on the alter of peace and humanity. No more people need die, just the doctrine that claims one person is different from another, just the ideologies that claim a patent on truth. Rid them of their bronze age stupidity and they might just have a chance.

      September 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Sired Ma'am...

        This world's neighborhoods are just that... Hooded neighbors whose children in middle east neighborhoods are rioting against their parents concerns.... Why then do you see 100's of thousands of Syrians fleeing their country and crossing the borders..? Who is it that is left in Syria of Syrian decent..? the riotous children of Syrians that fled their nation...

        September 5, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
      • Dippy

        Altar, not alter.

        September 5, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        sacrifice not sacrafice

        September 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  11. Dan

    Good words....

    September 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Doobs

      Good pancakes.

      September 6, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  12. kcp

    Sounds like Obama should Listen to the Pope Man and Stop his War talk

    September 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Observer

      At least Obama isn't going to start a $2,000,000,000,000 war for false reasons like Bush and the Republicans did.

      September 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
      • willow

        ilet's not make it about obama vs. bush that is such a waste of energy. it comes down to this – are the rebels who seek to overthrow assad any better than he is? will human rights improve should they succeed? we do not know who they are but common sense would suggest that there are many radical islamists among them. iraq is no better off and neither is afghanistan, as a result of our intervention. an attack like the president is describing, to punish assad, could trigger a huge catastrophe and no one can predict how long and painful this one could be.

        September 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          You hit all the talking points. That's why we should stay out of it. No matter what we do, somebody will be upset. Leave them alone to solve their own issues.

          September 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @kcp..................Republicans are the ones the war trip, Have you been listening to McCain?

      September 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Correction: "on the war trip"

        September 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Who then is John Kerry's political stance being a "democrat" pushing the case for a presidentially mediated limited war..?

        September 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  13. bert

    I do not recall of a Pope being so utterly concerned as to have sent a letter to the G 20 assembly to request a peaceful solutions for Syria, at least in my lifetime regarding other conflicts in this region. His advice is objective, and should be considered in all of his intention, even if it may sound idealistic. No one has yet the real solution to this crisis.

    September 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I have a solution. Why don't the Saudi's show some onions and take a stand. They have weapons that the U.S. provided to them. The Saudi's are scared that suicide bombers will be knocking on the doors of it's citizens.

      I say stay out of it, let them kill each other and move on. If no one else cares, why should we?

      September 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
      • Dippy

        Its, not it's.

        September 5, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
      • Dippy's Aide

        Saudis, not Saudi's.

        September 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
        • Dippy

          Oops! Missed that obvious one (two, actually). I'm losing my touch.

          September 5, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Krygma

      John Paul ll was against the invasion of Iraq. Bush even sent some US neo-con lay theologians to talk with the Pope justifying his plans to invade Irag. Looking back JP2 was correct.

      September 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        So was Obama, He voted against it.

        September 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • George


      Leave his opinion out, if war is the solution then we must start to bomb.

      September 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
      • willow

        rest assured bombing syria will be just as effective as the bombings of iraq and afghanistan. that should inspire great confidence.

        September 5, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  14. Lionly Lamb


    September 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  15. Lionly Lamb

    As you can see in this blog on page 2 among many other blogs, I am against any and all wars from the prohibitionists wars on drugs to all out wars any country engages in for any war entails propagandists to use psychological subversion tactics upon those who cannot think things out rightly therefore giving the mainstream bureaucrats and their sanctimonious henchmen ways in which to spread disharmony and disunity... Of all the wars: I hate any prohibitionist wars engaged in drug prohibitions for it is these ongoing wars that are blamed for social disunities in all the modernistic worlds whose concentrated ranks are of the most rich and their political maneuverers killing off the poor folks only wanton reasons for living Life thru the use of drugs, especially cannabis sativa which is nowadays being proven to have beneficial effects and potential cures for all cancers, epilepsy and seizures... I am so ashamed of being part of a hierarchal society that shuns the poor folks and their desires for feeling good... 😳

    September 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Do you vote? You really want to make changes? Exercise your right to vote before the republicans take it away.

      September 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Sire Ken...

        My vote for any party of any political agents that are dead set against drugs are prohibitionists. I would rather help spread the word to readers here on this "Belief Blog"... Until I see a politician coming out and saying to the general public that he or she is against this nation's illegal drug war brought on by backstabbing prohibitionists, I will not give any of them my vote...

        September 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        @lion...................You don't have a leg to stand on if you don't vote.

        September 5, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Sired Kenneth...

          Like I said, until a politician(s) come out "openly" saying they are against today's drug prohibitionists and are for the legalization of all drugs, I will not lift a finger to vote for any of today's backstabbing drug prohibitionist...


          September 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Laws have been passed in Colorado and the State of Washington so things are beginning to change. Like everything else it takes time. Press the candidates on the legalization of weed enough and they might change their tune.

          September 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Sir Margo...

          Here's the conundrum our nation is now in.... The political war machine wants wars to escalate bringing to their coffers a beneficial income... These coffers in turn promote those in political circles to keep up the drug prohibitionists moving along giving their coffers even more financial income thru the manufacturing of bullet proof vests and guns and bullets and all manner of war machinery to transport the policemen with... can't you Sired ken see the vicious circles of all prohibitionists reeling around the hidden faces of the war czars..?

          September 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          @lion...................It's no secret that if you legalize weed you'd eliminate the gun violence that comes with it. The jailing of minorities and so on. I see all of that with you. You can drink beer to the point of passing out but smoke a little weed. JAIL. The system su'cks big time.

          September 5, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
      • George


        Yup blame the GOP when the DNC also has their greedy hands in our pockets.

        September 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          I didn't "Blame" the gop for anything. I stated the facts. Republicans have wanted Obama to bomb Iran for years. Syria is their latest target. It's amazing for a group that doesn't think the gov't should spend money, have no problem wasting money on wars!

          September 5, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Sadly Ken...

          Was not Obama asked for his views on the legalization of marijuana and even though he smoked it in his youth years he resonated being against it being legal..? And our leader of a so called "free nation" is being forced by drug czars and drug prohibitionists to lean away from legalizing cannabis sativa that is being proven to cure all cancers and many forms of epilepsy and even seizures... Why should any cannabis toker or hemp oil user really want to vote for the two faces of identical twin political racists and their being against the most impoverished folks only desires for daily enlightenment..?

          September 5, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          @Lion................I agree with you, Obama shouldn't enforce federal laws for weed just like he wouldn't enforce laws that were against gay marriage. He has disappointed me on that one very much and I don't smoke!

          September 5, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Sir Ken...

          While I was once a cannabis toker I am in refrain due my political paranoia and until cannabis sativa is made either legalized out rightly or for medicinal purposes here in my Floridian state, I am humbled to be legal in my stay of living rightly under Floridian laws... I smoke regulated tobacco (filtered) and if I could legally smoke cannabis sativa, I would give up tobacco smoking... At 58, my years of smoking tobacco since I was a teenager is taking its toll. I remain vigil in hopes of seeing marijuana becoming legal nationwide. The benefits of cannabis sativa or hemp will be our nation's saving grace provided our country thinks it fully thru and begins to see its medicinal benefits and industrial uses of which their are thousands of ways to use industrial hemp...

          September 5, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          I'm in complete agreement with you. What is the difference between a tobacco plant or a marijuana plant? No one I know has ever had "marijuana" fueled rage like you see with other drugs. It's just a way to keep the jails full.

          September 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb


      September 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb


      September 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  16. Bruce

    The Pope should keep his nose out of international affairs and in his own churches, where it belongs.

    September 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • willow

      Heaven forbid he should have the freedom to voice his opinion.

      September 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  17. xreals

    Listen to him!!!

    September 5, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Christians don't listen to him. (Remember the church s3x abuse scandal)

      September 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
      • willow

        not all Christians are Catholic but we can still recognize his words for their wisdom.

        September 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Not everything the pope says is filled with wisdom. their stance on gays and abortion is just a couple of examples.

          September 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  18. xreals

    Boom! Listen to him!!!

    September 5, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  19. Lionly Lamb

    Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Déjà vu (1970) [Full Album]


    September 5, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  20. Lionly Lamb

    War...what is it good for absolutely nothing


    September 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
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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.