Pope Francis Asks You to Pray and Fast for Afghanistan and the Vatican Calls on Countries to Accept Refugees

 After the Angelus, on Sunday August 29, the Pope Francis made a Special Plea for Afghanistan:

Dear brothers and sisters, with great concern I am following the situation in Afghanistan, and I take part in the suffering of those who are grieving for the persons who lost their lives in the suicide attacks that happened last Thursday, and of those who are seeking help and protection. I entrust the deceased to the mercy of Almighty God and I thank those who are striving to help that population so tried, in particular the women and children. I ask everyone to continue to help the needy and to pray that dialogue and solidarity may lead to the establishment of a peaceful and fraternal coexistence and offer hope for the country’s future. In historic moments like this one we cannot remain indifferent; the history of the Church teaches us this. As Christians this situation obligates us. For this reason I address an appeal, to everyone, to intensify your prayer and practice fasting. Prayer and fasting, prayer and penance. This is the moment to do so. I am speaking seriously: intensify your prayer and practice fasting, asking the Lord for mercy and forgiveness. (Vatican.va excerpt)
The Vatican's Monsignor John Putzer, in charge of the Holy See's Permanent Mission to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva spoke at the 31st Special Session of the Human Rights Council. He urged all parties “to recognize and uphold the respect for the human dignity and fundamental rights of every person, including the right to life, the freedom of religion, the right to freedom of movement and the right to peaceful assembly.” "At this critical time," he added, "it is of vital importance to support the success and safety of humanitarian efforts within the country, in a spirit of international solidarity, so as not to lose the progress that has been made, especially in the areas of healthcare and education.” He expressed hopes for a “peaceful and swift resolution to the ongoing tensions,” and the conviction that “inclusive dialogue" represents "the most powerful tool" to achieve the goal of peace. In conclusion, the statement urged the entire international community to "move from declaration to action" by welcoming refugees " in a spirit of human fraternity." According to the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, there are 2.5 million registered refugees from Afghanistan, comprising the largest protracted refugee population in Asia, and the second-largest refugee population in the world. (Vatican News excerpt)