Lebanon: The Catholic Church denounces any recourse to violence

Sunday, July 16 2006

(CCCB – Ottawa)…In the face of escalating violence in the Middle East, Catholics are uniting their voices to encourage the parties to pursue negotiations rather than violence.

Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI prayed for peace throughout the Holy Land. He said that the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East is “a cause of new and serious concern to everyone, especially for the increasing military activities in Lebanon and for the many victims among the civilian population. At the root of such pitiless conflicts there are, unfortunately, objective violations of rights and of justice. But neither terrorist acts nor reprisals, especially when they have such tragic consequences on the civilian population, can be justified. Bitter experience shows that by following this path no positive results can be achieved”.

The Holy Father also invited Catholics to raise special prayers for peace in the Holy Land and in the entire Middle East in “bringing political leaders back to the way of reason and opening new possibilities for dialogue and understanding.”

In Canada, Development and Peace, an international solidarity organization created by the Canadian Catholic Bishops, sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper as well as to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter MacKay, urging them to intervene immediately in order to end the violence in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

“Development and Peace believes that a just peace is possible in the Middle East, and urges Canada to uphold international law and help the people of Israel, of Palestine and of Lebanon step back from the brink of full-scale war. Development and Peace is calling on the Canadian government to do everything within its means to encourage a ceasefire and the commencement of negotiations”, wrote Margie Noonan, the organization’s president.

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