Dated today, the feast of Saint Raphael, His Beatitude, Pierbattista Cardinal Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, has addressed a letter to his entire Diocese. The letter is suffused with a supernatural spirit of uniting the suffering of his flock to the suffering of Jesus on the Cross.
After condemning the “atrocity” of Hamas on October 7 in no uncertain terms — “what happened on October 7th in southern Israel is in no way permissible and we cannot but condemn it” — His Beatitude goes on to condemn the disproportionate response of Israel:
The same conscience, however, with a great burden on my heart, leads me to state with equal clarity today that this new cycle of violence has brought to Gaza over five thousand deaths, including many women and children, tens of thousands of wounded, neighborhoods razed to the ground, lack of medicine, lack of water and of basic necessities for over two million people. These are tragedies that cannot be understood and which we have a duty to denounce and condemn unreservedly. The continuous heavy bombardment that has been pounding Gaza for days will only cause more death and destruction and will only increase hatred and resentment. It will not solve any problem, but rather create new ones. It is time to stop this war, this senseless violence.
The Patriarch goes on to call for ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine, faithful to the traditional posture of the Holy See, which has consistently called for a two-state solution to the conflict in the Holy Land:
It is only by ending decades of occupation and its tragic consequences, as well as giving a clear and secure national perspective to the Palestinian people that a serious peace process can begin. Unless this problem is solved at its root, there will never be the stability we all hope for. The tragedy of these days must lead us all, religious, political, civil society, international community, to a more serious commitment in this regard than what has been done so far. This is the only way to avoid other tragedies like the one we are experiencing now. We owe it to the many victims of these days and to those of years past. We do not have the right to leave this task to others.
Near the end of his letter, Cardinal Pizzaballa calls for the faithful to join in the Pope’s call for prayer and fasting on October 27. Moreover, he invokes the Blessed Virgin under the title, Queen of Palestine, whose feast this year coincides with that of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King in the traditional Roman calendar:
We are approaching the solemnity of the Queen of Palestine, the patroness of our diocese. The shrine was erected during another time of war, and was chosen as a special place to pray for peace. In these days we will once again reconsecrate our Church and our land to the Queen of Palestine! I ask all churches around the world to join the Holy Father and to join us in prayer, and in the search for justice and peace.
We invite our readers to join us in prayer and fasting on Friday, including special prayers to Our Lady of Palestine, such as this one on our site.