Pope Francis has condemned world leaders for failing to put aside difference and work together following "senseless massacres in Syria, but has called military strikes against Assad "futile".
Prominent world leaders are attending another G20 summit, this time it is being held in Russia. Many people view these summits as little more than a jolly, with fine dining and a hefty price, but this time with the Syrian crisis hanging like a black cloud over the meeting it is liable to be anything but "jolly".
As the US pushes ahead with its plans to launch military strikes against President Assad of Syria the goalposts keep moving. With the UK out of the equation, at least as far as direct action goes, the US is shoring up relationships with its allies.
Is it all about America saving face now, and its credibility on the world stage, or is there a full agenda on Syria? In recent days the mood has shifted from easing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, to sending Assad a tough message about his alleged use of chemical weapons, to helping the rebels in their campaign to take over the country and to help oust President Assad.
The people of Syria are rarely mentioned. Those who have fled Syria and are now housed in makeshift camps in various countries surrounding Syria could return and fight for their country. That is assuming that the people of Syria know what they want. Do they want Assad gone? Do they want western style democracy? Do they want the rebels to be the new leaders of their country? We do not really know.
Now that the UK is out of direct action the Daiy Express reports: "The UK is expected to add to its £348 million pound contribution to the relief effort, but the UN has still received less than half the funding it is hoping for from the international community. Mr Cameron said: "We are facing the worst refugee crisis of this century and millions of lives are being destroyed inside in Syria by Assad and his regime. "The world needs to do more to help the innocent victims of this conflict who dreamt of a democratic and peaceful future but who are now living a nightmare far from their homes and struggling to feed their families and keep them safe."
In an attempt to garner military support the USA is pulling out all stops but there is no widescale support for action. Even close neighbours of America, Canada, have only issued vague assurances of support but nothing tangible.
Thursday Pope Francis has weighed into the debate saying military strikes against Syria are "futile". As the Telegraph reports: "Pope Francis has urged world leaders to halt the "futile pursuit" of military action in Syria in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the G20 conference. Leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies are meeting in St Petersburg, with reaction to the civil war in Syria likely to dominate discussions."
Those banging the drum for conflict may condemn the Pope for becoming involved and voicing his concerns, but they would not had he supported them. The truth is that such words by a man of God are surely the most appropriate? It has always struck this writer as ironic that the "church" blesses troops being sent into conflict to perhaps kill or maim, exonerating them of all blame and responsibility.
We wonder what Jesus Christ would have made of this stance? The bible is full of anomalies such as an eye for an eye, though shalt not kill, the wages of sin are death and if we say we have no sin then we device ourselves, but nowhere in the bible does it say though shalt not kill, except in certain circumstances. There are times when fighting is the only way but are we at the stage of the Syrian crisis now?
Pope Francis has been berated by some for his track record before he became Pope. Others condemn the Holy Roman Catholic church for sex abuse cases which have been covered up for years. That may all be true but not the point.
Pope Francis in speaking out about the futility of war is acting as a true disciple of Christ. When push comes to shove that is what he represents on earth.
The Pope and his adviser's are well aware that world conflict could easily be sparked, in the right circumstances and in a tweet this week, wrote: "War never again! Never again war!"
Note: A four hour vigil to be held in St Peter's Square on Saturday evening. The Vatican will station 50 confessors around the square. Bishops' conferences around the world have announced local vigils.
From Pope Francis via President Putin: