U.S. bishops renew call for peace in the Holy Land — By: Catholic News Agency

Workers distribute medical aid and medicines to Nasser Medical Hospital in the city of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, which recently arrived through the Rafah crossing on Oct. 29, 2023, in Khan Yunis, Gaza. / Credit: Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Oct 31, 2023 / 13:11 pm (CNA).

The U.S. bishops recently renewed their call for peace in the Holy Land as the Israel-Hamas war moves toward its second month and the casualties of the conflict continue to grow.

“The war in the Holy Land is playing out in real time before us with its mounting casualties, the growing humanitarian disaster, and the potential for violent regional and international escalation,” Rockford Bishop David J. Malloy, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, said in a statement. 

Malloy said the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, in which the terrorist group shelled Israel and breached the Israeli border with ground troops, “must be condemned.” The attacks led to more than 1,300 deaths and quickly resulted in Israel’s declaring war against Hamas. 

More than 8,000 Palestinians have subsequently died in Gaza amid the war, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.

“We renew the call for the release of hostages and protection of civilian populations,” Malloy said.

“At the same time, we affirm continued efforts to allow humanitarian access, including corridors for those seeking safety, and urge Congress to provide support for relief efforts,” he said. “As Pope Francis reminds the world, ‘War is always a defeat; it is a destruction of human fraternity.’”

International aid groups and workers have been calling for major supply access to Gaza in order to deliver lifesaving material to civilians there, warning of a looming humanitarian disaster as drinking water supplies dwindle and medical supplies grow scarce.

Malloy in his statement said the bishops “continue to pray for the victims caught in this cycle of violence as well as the regional and international actors who are being drawn into the conflict.”

“We must not grow weary of offering our prayers and support for peace and justice for all concerned,” he said. “A lasting solution respecting the rights, needs, and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians remains essential to these ends.”

“As Christians, we look to Our Lord and unite our prayers to those of the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who in his recent letter to his flock recalls the words of Christ: ‘In the world you will have tribulations, but take courage, I have conquered the world’ (Jn 16:33),” Malloy said. 

The bishop also referenced the Second Vatican Council document Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”) in his statement.

“With passions enflamed in our own communities, online, and around the world, we must guard against any tendency to sow hatred against other people or faiths,” Malloy said. 

“As the Second Vatican Council teaches, ‘The Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, color, condition of life, or religion.’”

Read More