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Cardinal Dolan Against Military Action in Syria

Cardinal Timothy A. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has sent a letter to President Barack Obama imploring him not to take military action in Syria and to seek a political and non-violent resolution to the deadly conflict that has left an estimated 100,000 dead.

"As our nation contemplates military action in Syria, we want to assure you and your Administration of our prayers," the Cardinal begins in the letter, which was co-signed by Bishop Richard E. Pates, chairman of the USCCB's Committee on International Justice and Peace.

"We join you in your absolute condemnation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  These indiscriminate weapons have no place in the arsenals of the family of nations.  With you we mourn for the lives lost and grieve with the families of the deceased.  At the same time, we remain profoundly concerned for the more than 100,000 Syrians who have lost their lives, the more than two million who have fled the country as refugees, and the more than four million within Syria who have been driven from their homes by the violence.  Our focus is on the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Syria and on saving lives by ending the conflict, not fueling it."

Echoing the sentiments of Pope Francis and the Christian communities living in the Middle East, Dolan went on to beg the international community not to resort to military action.

This "will be counterproductive, will exacerbate an already deadly situation, and will have unintended negative consequences," he writes.

"The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a political solution.  We ask the United States to work urgently and tirelessly with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities."

He concludes: "Please be assured of our prayers as your Administration faces the complex challenges and humanitarian catastrophe that have engulfed Syria."

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