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New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops

Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Most Reverend Michael J. Sheehan, S.T.L., J.C.D. Diocese of Las Cruces, Most Reverend Oscar Cant, S.T.D. Diocese of Gallup, Most Reverend James S. Wall Most Reverend Ricardo Ramirez, Emeritus

P.O. Box 3243 Los Lunas, NM 87031 (505) 319 3334

September 6, 2013

Dear Honorable As Catholic bishops we are praying for you as you take up the debate regarding the use of military force in Syria. We wish to offer our perspective as pastors of our Dioceses and your constituents. The use of chemical weapons by any nation is morally reprehensible. The use in Syria has led to many deaths and intense suffering. With you we mourn for the lives lost in so tragic a way and grieve with the families of the deceased. One hundred thousand Syrians in this civil war have lost their lives. Two million have fled the country as refugees, and more than 4 million within Syria have been driven from their homes by the violence. This tragedy cannot continue. We ought not to fuel violence but seek a negotiated resolution. We ought to learn from the Iraq tragedy that rushing to conclusions without clear evidence can have disastrous consequences. We have heard the urgent calls of Pope Francis, and our suffering brother bishops of the venerable and ancient Christian communities of the Middle East. They have begged the family of nations not to resort to military intervention in Syria. We join our voice to theirs. We believe a military attack will be counterproductive, could exacerbate the situation, and could have negative unforeseen consequences. We call on you as members of our Congressional delegation to urge the President to seek a negotiated political settlement. We believe that more lives and livelihoods will be destroyed by military intervention. On this question Pope Francis has been clear: "How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed!"

The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a political solution. We ask you to work with the President and Congress to engage

other governments to obtain a ceasefire in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities. Please be assured of our prayers Sincerely yours, Most Reverend Michael J. Sheehan
Archdiocese of Santa Fe

Most Reverend James S. Wall

Diocese of Gallup

Most Reverend Oscar Cant

Diocese of Las Cruces

Most Reverend Ricardo Ramirez

Diocese of Las Cruces Bishop Emeritus

Allen Snchez Executive Director New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops