Confusion clouds the situation in Syria as politicians advocate that several varying degrees of military action be taken, while figures like Pope Francis issue calls for peace.
Sept. 7 was proclaimed by Pope Francis as a churchwide day of prayer and fasting for Syria, the first such declaration since 2003, when Pope John Paul II called for prayer and fasting before the Iraq War. The Pope’s special holiday occurred between President Obama’s call to military action in Syria and his subsequent decision to postpone these plans in hopes of coming to a displomatic solution.
“Biblically, there is all kinds of commentary on what is an appropriate response to violence,” said Fr. Brendan Busse, S.J., “The Hebrew scriptures, in my own reading of them, say a lot about a pretty radical stance against violence enacted by states. If you read the Book of Samuel or the Book of Kings I think it is pretty clear that God’s not a big fan of superpowers in nations in general enacting violence against people.”
The Jesuit Refugee Service is currently working on the border of Syria and Jordan to care for refugees fleeing the country.
“The antidote to this violence is not more violence,” Busse said. “The antidote to violence from the church’s perspective is love and that has to be actively put into the situation.”
The conflict in Syria has escalated over the years, but looking at the last two years in particular is crucial to understanding current events in Syria. The use of chemical weapons appears to be a retaliation on the part of the government against ongoing rebel demonstrations. Here, the Spectator has outlined a timeline of events.
Veronica Mazzolini is a senior English Lit major and French Minor. She has been working at The Spectator for two years. Veronica enjoys reading, and is afraid of gnomes.