Pope Francis met with King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan at the Vatican yesterday morning, with the chief topic being the crisis in Syria. Both the Pope and King Abdullah are urging a peaceful solution as western powers, especially the United States, may be preparing for war. Both the Holy Father and the King expressed the belief that dialogue was the only way to resolve the long-term conflicts in both Syria and the Middle East. Since the conflict in Syria began, over 100,000 people have died. As was written yesterday in this space, the Catholic Bishop of Aleppo reports that many Christians are being displaced because of the violence, and that some of it is directed at them specifically by rebel forces.
The Pope and His Majesty also discussed the state of affairs for Christians throughout the Middle East, and the positive contributions many Christians are making to the improvement of society there. The Holy Father commended King Abdullah for his commitment to being more inclusive of Christians. The Jordianian King is hosting a conference in the Jordanian capital, Amman, next month to discuss the challenges facing Christians in the region.