NZ cannot stand aloof from suffering in Middle East – Archbishop Dew

New Zealand cannot stand aloof from involvement in the Middle East when so many people are suffering and dying says Archbishop John Dew, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

He has written to Prime Minister John Key, offering the support of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops for the cautious and measured approach to making decisions about New Zealand’s involvement in the Middle East conflict.

“We are aware of the difficult challenge this situation presents for countries and world leaders, and we offer the Prime Minister our prayers as he makes further decisions about New Zealand’s involvement,” said Dew.

“We’ve also urged the New Zealand Government to use its seat on the Security Council of the United Nations to find a way to move beyond the impasse on Iraq and Syria, and which will allow actions to be carried out under the UN banner.”

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference has also asked Key to be open to further humanitarian assistance for Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

“While our concern is not only for Catholics, Catholic Syrians and Iraqis in New Zealand speak to us regularly about their deep concern for the desperate situation faced by family members in Syria and Iraq or who have become refugees.”

“These insights about the effects the actions of ISIS are having on ordinary people are deeply moving.”

“We encourage Catholics to remain steadfast in their prayers for the people affected by the conflict and for the world’s leaders – remaining hopeful that together we can bring lasting peace to the Middle East.”

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