The Holy Father convokes a day of prayer and penance for peace in the Middle East.
The call for peace is certainly a good one. One could wish that the Holy Father would make the connection between peace on earth and fidelity to the divine will and invite people to seek more directly peace from the only One who can give it: Our Lord Jesus Christ, Rex Pacificus. The distinction between legitimate and illegitimate violence is necessary, just as, the distinction between true peace and false peace.
Nonetheless, we appreciate the invitation to pray and fast and we hope that not only Catholics but everyone may respond to the pope's call by praying to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Virgin Mother. Indeed it was at Fatima that she declared herself as the Queen of Peace and the one through whom God entrusted all graces.
May the pope make of this new escalating conflict the occasion to answer her request, giving to the whole world by the effect of Her intervention a renewed proof that the Catholic Church is the only religion to possess the power of intercession with God and the means of salvation for mankind.
Pope Francis has launched a heartfelt appeal for peace in Syria, expressing his pain and concern regarding the conflict and asking the concerned parties and the international community to embark on the path of negotiation, setting aside partisan interests. His plea was made during the Angelus prayer at midday in St. Peter's Square, in the presence of thousands of faithful. We offer below an excerpt of the Holy Father's homily:
May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.
To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.
On 7 September, in St. Peter’s Square, here, from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m. 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! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.
Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!”
Vatican City, September 1, 2013 (VIS)