CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 June 2019

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Vatican delegation set to visit Syria


VATICAN (SE): Pope Benedict XVI is planning to send a seven-member delegation on a special mission to Syria to “express… our encouragement to all those who are involved in the search for an agreement that respects the rights and duties of all with particular attention to what is demanded by humanitarian law.”

The Vatican press officer, Father Federico Lombardi, said that although the initial announcement was made on October 22, the mission is still in the process of being studied and prepared.

However, he called it a priority and said the hope is that it can leave as soon as possible.

On October 23, the secretariat of state for the Vatican, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, said, “I announced the Holy Father’s decision to send a delegation to Damascus to express his solidarity and that of the synod with the people of Syria, who, unfortunately, have for some time been experiencing a tragic situation of suffering.”

The cardinal added that the initiative has aroused wide interest and received positive support and welcome, not only in Rome and Syria, but also at an international level, the Vatican Information Service reported.

“Given the gravity of the situation, the visit will be postponed, probably until after the conclusion of the synod, and the composition of the delegation will be modified, also due to other commitments on the part of its members.”

Currently, the delegation is made up of Laurent Cardinal Mosengwo Pasinya, from Kinshasa; Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, the president of Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Timothy Cardinal Dolan, from New York; Bishop Fabio Suescun Mutis, the military ordinary of Colombia; Bishop Joseph Nguyen Nang, from Phat Diem, in Vietnam; Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican secretary for relations with states; and Monsignor Alberto Ortega Martin, from the secretariat of state. Cardinal Dolan is expected to head the delegation.


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