Card. Gracias: Shocked by Damascus Nunciature attack

November 7, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Mumbai, November 05, 2013: The president of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) expressed “admiration for the courage of Msgr. Zenari” nuncio in Syria. According to the Indian cardinal “peace talks are the only option” to solve the crisis in the Middle Eastern country.

Attack on Nunciature in DamascusIt is with “deep sorrow and grief” that the Church in India has learned of “the attack on the Damascus Nunciature”, which took place this morning. As president of the Episcopal Commission of India (CBCI), Card. Oswald Gracias sent a message of solidarity to Msgr. Mario Zenari nuncio in Syria on behalf of the 18 million Catholics in the country. Following is the full text of the message.

“We express deep sorrow and consternation on learning of the attack on the Nunciature in Damascus. We admire the courage of the Nuncio Msgr Mario Zenari who continues to stay there, it is of utmost urgency, that measures be taken as to guarantee the security and safety of the diplomatic mission and its personnel.

The diplomatic see of the Vatican, is  the Holy Father’s house in Syria, Pope Francis has consistently appealed  for Peace in  Syria, taking the initiative calling for  Global  Day of Prayer  for Syria on 7th Sept.  Pope Francis has urged  world leaders  not to plunge humanity further into a ‘spiral of sorrow and death.

The Church in India  is traumatized  and anguished as the  humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate rapidly, innocent people have been caught in the relentless barrage from all sides, their lives destroyed and lost.

The Church in Asia agonizes over the devastating impact of the Syrian conflict on women and children, the conflict exacts a heavy toll on women who suffer hardship and fear alone, the conflict  is a constant source of fear and anxiety for people, child refugees now number around one million.

Peace talks remian the only option to resolve the Syria crisis … Dialogue can end the Syrian conflict, safeguard the lives of the people and build a viable future. The Church in India, our 18 million Catholics, pray that the land of Syria find peace.”

Mortar fire hits Nunciature in Damascus, no casualties

The front of the building, part of the roof and the eaves on the third floor were hit, including the sleeping quarters. The nuncio is working to ensure the success of the peace conference. The pontifical legation will continue to work and does not plan to shut down or move.

Attack on Nunciature in DamascusSyria, November 05, 2013: A mortar round hit the Vatican Nunciature building this morning in Damascus. The bomb was aimed at the third floor, where the sleeping quarters of the Nuncio Mgr Mario Zenari, his secretary Fr Giorgio, and the sisters working at the residence are located.

“Thank God no one was hit,” Fr Giorgio told AsiaNews. The mortar round destroyed part of the roof, including the eaves of the building and part of the facade.

Archbishop Zenari is one of the few diplomats who never left his post in the past two years of civil war. He continues, along with the pope, to push the international community for a peace conference on Syria, without any veto on participants.

The Syrian government and opponents disagree on the ground rules for the conference set for late November.

Rebels will participate only if Bashar Assad leaves power and threaten anyone who dares to take part. The Syrian regime said that it would not participate with such a pre-condition.

UN and Arab League envoy Lahdar Brahimi, who is tasked with preparing the peace conference, met with US and Russian representatives in Geneva in order to lay the grounds for the event.

The Nunciature has not said anything as to who might be behind the attack. The fact that it was a single salvo leads to believe that the building was targeted.

After the explosion, firefighters, emergency crews and police came to the Vatican legation building. The Syrian President sent a message of solidarity.

Despite the attack, the Nunciature is not planning to close or move its staff. “Papal legations are never closed,” Fr Giorgio said. “We shall only take a few precautions.

– asianews

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