‘We renew call for release of hostages and protection of civilians’


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WASHINGTON – In response to the escalating Israel-Hamas war, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, renews his call for peace.

“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. The Oct. 7 terrorist attacks of Hamas which initiated this war must be condemned. We renew the call for the release of hostages and protection of civilian populations. 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. As Pope Francis reminds the world, ‘War is always a defeat; it is a destruction of human fraternity.’

“We 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. A lasting solution respecting the rights, needs, and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians remains essential to these ends.

“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. As the Second Vatican Council teaches, ‘The Church (rejects), 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.’

“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.’ (John 16:33)”

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