Vatican City, (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. today addressed the Synodal assembly on the subject of the recent decision to send a delegation of Synod Fathers to Damascus, Syria.
"Speaking before this assembly last Tuesday", he 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 intention was also to express our spiritual closeness to our Christian brothers and sisters in that country, and to encourage those committed to seeking a solution respectful of the rights and duties of all.
"The initiative raised wide interest and received a positive welcome, not only in Rome and Syria, but also at the international level.
"First of all I wish to tell you that we have continued to study the issue and to prepare the visit, despite the tragic episodes that have taken place in the region over recent days.
"As is well known, there is a strong desire to express the closeness of the Holy See and the universal Church by means of a delegation, which will travel to Damascus at the time and in the manner which will be announced after they have been defined in the light of the contacts and preparations currently under way. 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.
"The contribution of the personal offerings of the Synod Fathers, and those of the Holy See, will be sent to Syria as a gesture of fraternal solidarity with the entire population.
"Above all we continue in our commitment to prayer, which is always heard by the Lord and which I invite you to join with renewed confidence".