Pope Francis and Holy See appeal for peace

Friday, August 01 2014
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Over the past weeks, Pope Francis and the Holy See have repeatedly called for an end to the current violence in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East. Yesterday, July 31, 2014, the President of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. This, he said, "is just the first step on the road to a just peace based on inclusive negotiations across the region."

This past Sunday, July 27, following his Angelus message Pope Francis recalled the centenary of the beginning of the "tragic event" of World War I. "I hope that the mistakes of the past won't be repeated, but that the lessons of history be taken into account, that the demands of peace through patient and courageous dialogue are always made to prevail," he said. Pope Francis then spoke of what he referred to as "three areas of crisis: the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine", and concluded by reflecting "that all is lost with war, and nothing is lost with peace."

Also yesterday, the English-language network of Vatican Radio carried an appeal by Caritas Jerusalem for a solution to the Israeli-Hamas conflict in the Gaza strip where the death toll is now more than 1300 people, overwhelmingly Palestinians. The appeal also described how thousands are trying to find shelter in Gaza's Christian churches. The same day, Vatican Radio's French-language network described the impact on a Catholic parish and convent in the Gaza.

On July 30, the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem posted a statement by the Middle East Council of Churches, also condemning the violence in Iraq, Syria and Palestine, and appealing to the international community for help.

Last week, on July 23, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's Permanent Observer at the United Nations and other international organizations based in Geneva, spoke at the 21st Special Session of the Human Rights Council dedicated to the question of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem. Archbishop Tomasi noted: "The legitimate aspiration to security, on one side, and to decent living conditions, on the other, with access to the normal means of existence like medicines, water and jobs, for example, reflects a fundamental human right, without which peace is very difficult to preserve. The worsening situation in Gaza is an incessant reminder of the necessity to arrive at a cease-fire immediately and to start negotiating a lasting peace."

-Link to July 31, 2014, statement by Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga
http://www.caritas.org/2014/07/cardinal-rodriguez-maradiaga-calls-for-just-peace-in-gaza/ 

-English translation of the Pope's Angelus message and remarks of July 27, 2014: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-angelus-address-sunday-july-27th 

-Report in English on July 31, 2014, by Vatican Radio:
http://www.news.va/en/news/caritas-jerusalem-wholesale-destruction-in-gaza-li 

-Report in French on July 31, 2014, by Vatican Radio:
http://www.news.va/fr/news/a-gaza-la-paroisse-de-la-sainte-famille-touchee-2 

-Link to statement by Middle East Council of Churches:
http://en.lpj.org/2014/07/30/irak-siria-palestine-the-middle-east-council-of-churches-calls-upon-the-international-community/ 

-Report in English by Vatican Information Service on the July 23, 2014, intervention by the Holy See:
http://www.news.va/en/news/conflict-between-israel-and-palestine-the-voice-of 

-Report in French by Zenit on the July 23, 2014, intervention by the Holy See:
http://www.zenit.org/fr/articles/israel-palestine-reconnaitre-notre-humanite-commune 

Last Updated on Friday, August 01 2014