VATICAN CITY (AP):
The Vatican is ramping up its opposition to threatened military strikes against Syria as it draws attention to Pope Francis' plans to host a day of fasting and prayer for peace this weekend.
The Vatican has invited all ambassadors accredited to the Holy See to attend a briefing today on the pope's agenda for the four-hour vigil Saturday night in St Peter's Square, and bishops' conferences from around the world have announced plans to host local versions of the vigil as well.
Even the Vatican's often dysfunctional bureaucracy seems to be one message with the initiative, Francis' first major foray into international diplomacy since being elected in March.
The Vatican's justice and peace office warned earlier this week that military action in Syria could spark a world war.
The head of its office for families wrote a letter to Catholics urging parents to offer their children an "austere and minimal lunch" Saturday to participate in Francis' fast. And the cardinal in charge of the Vatican's office for Eastern rite Catholics warned in an interview with the Vatican newspaper that Christian minorities in the region would suffer the most from any military intervention.