Pope Benedict prayed for peace in both Libya and Syria following Sunday’s Regina Coeli.
“I renew an vital appeal that the paths of negotiation and dialogue prevail over those of violence, with the help of international organizations that are working in the direction of finding a solution to the crisis,” he stated on May 15.
The Pope’s comments came on a day that other key figures called for an strengthening of military action in Libya. The head of the U.K.’s armed forces, General Sir David Richards, said he wants to see bombing limits on NATO forces eased. He now wants to target direct attacks upon the infrastructure propping up the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
NATO’s military action is at present guided by the terms of the U.N. resolution which only permit the use of force in protecting civilians. The Pope said he’s praying for those naively caught up in the conflict which has been continuing since February when rebels first took up arms against Colonel Gaddafi.
“I assure you, also, my sympathy and prayerful commitment with which the Church assists the local population, chiefly by religious in hospitals.”
The Pope then turned his prayers and thoughts to Syria.
“My thoughts also go to Syria, where it is urgent to reinstate a partnership geared towards harmony and unity. I ask God that there is no further bloodshed in the homeland of the great religions and civilizations, and urge the authorities and all citizens to spare no attempt in seeking the common good and in accommodating the legitimate aspirations for a peaceful future and stability.”
Since March, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is estimated to have killed over 800 pro-democracy campaigners and imprisoned 10,000 others.