By Melissa Butz
As Turkey continues its military operation against Kurdish fighters in Syria, Pope Francis used the canonization of five saints on Oct. 13 to call on the international community for help.
The nine-year war in Syria doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militias in Northeast Syria has killed, wounded and displaced nearly 500,000 people in less than a week.
From St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis pled for solutions.
“In these populations, there are also many Christian families. To all those involved, and the international community, please; I renew the appeal to engage with sincerity, honesty and transparency on the path of dialogue to find effective solutions,” Pope Francis said.
The pontiff’s words were applauded before he spoke of yet another crisis, that in Ecuador.
“I am following, with much concern, what has been happening in the past few weeks in that country. I entrust them to joint prayer and to the intercession of the new saints. I join in grieving for the dead, the wounded and those missing,” he said.
The Holy Father’s concern even carried into the synod hall as Ecuador, one of the nine countries comprising the Amazon region, was spoken about during a press briefing.
“This morning, our work began with a prayer by the pope for Ecuador. The Synod is not a place where world events do not resonate, particularly for countries who are part of the Synod,” said Paolo Ruffini the prefect of Vatican Communications
“I am in an international setting saying we are the people who are called to seek allies to protect our life,” explained José Gregorio Díaz Mirabal, president of the Coalition of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin. “What is happening in Ecuador is an example for our entire Amazon basin,” he said.
At the briefing, panel members said beginning the second week of the Amazon Synod, one topic discussed was how the Catholic Church can be a voice for the voiceless and especially speak out on international issues.
The “voiceless” include those who are persecuted, migrants and those who are homeless, particularly the victims of the attacks in Syria and the oppressed indigenous peoples of the Amazon region.