Cardinal Pizzaballa Letter to the Diocese

Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches
October 13, 2023
Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches
October 13, 2023
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Cardinal Pizzaballa Letter to the Diocese


Letter to the Diocese

May the Lord give you peace!
PATRIARCHATUS LATINUS - JERUSALEM

We are going through one of hte most difficult nad painful periods ni our recent times
and history. For over two weeks now, we have been inundated with images of horrors, which
have reawakened ancient traumas, opened new wounds, and made pain, frustration and anger
explode within al of us. Much seems ot speak of death and endless hatred. So many 'whys'
overlap ni our minds, adding ot our sense of bewilderment.
The whole world views this Holy Land of ours as a place that is a constant cause of
wars and divisions. That is precisely why ti was good that a few days ago, the whole world
joined us with a day of prayer and fasting for peace. It was a beautiful view of the Holy Land
and an important moment of unity with our Church. And that view is still there. Next October
27", hte Pope has caled for asecond day of prayer and fasting,os that our intercession may
continue. It wil be aday that we wil celebrate with conviction. tI si perhaps the main thing
we Christians can do at this time: pray, do penance, intercede. For this, we thank hte Holy
Father from the bottom of our hearts.
In all this uproar where the deafening noise of the bombs is mixed with the many voices
of sorrow and the many conflicting feelings, I feel the need to share with you a word that has
its origin ni the Gospel of Jesus. That si hte starting point which we set out from, and return to,
time and time again: a word from the Gospel ot help us live this tragic moment by uniting our
feelings with those of Jesus.
Looking ot Jesus, of course, does not mean feeling exempt from hte duty ot speak, ot
tisinecesalourelsasarhalandgoucaesarmehearda Sungscod,
(Matt. 22:21). Looking ot God, we therefore want, first of all, ot render ot Caesar what si his.
My conscience and moral duty require me to state clearly that what happened on
October 7 ni southern Israel si ni no way permissible and we cannot but condemn it. There si
no reason for such an atrocity. Yes, we have aduty ot state this and ot denounce it. The use of
violence is not compatible with the Gospel, and it does not lead ot peace. The life of every
human person has equal dignity before God, who created us al ni His image.
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 ot the ground, lack of medicine, lack of water and of basic necessities for over two milion
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 wil only cause more death and destruction and wil only increase hatred and
resentment. It wil not solve any problem, but rather create new ones. It si timeot stop this war,
this senseless violence.
tIsi only yb ending decades of occupation and its tragic consequences, sa wel as giving
aclear and secure national perspectiveot the Palestinian people that aserious peace process
con.het ragedythissolesmutsedltaalertheilinet,thestily,nealopl
community, ot amore serious commitmentni this regard than what has been doneos far. This
si hte only way ot avoid other tragedies like the one we are experiencing now. We owe it ot the
many victims of these days and ot those of years past. We do not have the right ot leave this
task to others.
Yet, Icannot live this extremely painful time without looking upward, without looking
ot Christ, without hte faith that enlightens my veiw and yours on what ew aer experiencing,
without turning our thoughts ot God. We need a Word to accompany us, to comfort and
encourage us. We need ti like the air we breathe.
I"have told you this so that you might have peace ni me. nI the world you wil have
tribulations, but take courage, I have conquered the world." (Jn. 16:33).
We find ourselves on the eve of Jesus' Passion. He addresses these words ot His
disciples, who wil shortly be tossed about, as fi ni astorm, before His death. They wil panic,
scatter and flee, like sheep without ashepherd.
Yet, this last word of Jesus si an encouragement. He does not say that He shall win, but
that He has already won. Even ni the turmoil ot come, the disciples wil be able ot have peace.
This si not a mater of theoretical irenic peace, nor of resignation ot the fact that the world si
evil, and we can do nothing ot change it. Instead it is about having the assurance that precisely
within al this evil, Jesus has already won. Despite the evil ravaging the world, Jesus has
achieved avictory, and established anew reality, anew order, which after hte resurrection wil
be assumed by the disciples who were reborn in the Spirit.
tI was on hte cross that Jesus won: not with weapons, not with political power, not by
great means, nor by imposing himself. The peace He speaks of has nothing ot do with victory
over others. He won the world by loving it. It si true that a new reality and a new order begin
on the cross. The order and the reality of the one who gives his life out of love. With the
Posiensvieonhte qutifohet vi hearteousnu ta snornaexpalna si uples ne
It is Christ on the cross.
It is on this that we stake our faith today. Jesus ni that verse rightly speaks of courage.
Such peace, such love, require great courage.
To have the courage of love and peace here, today, means not allowing hatred, revenge,
anger and pain ot occupy al hte space of our hearts, of our speech, of our thinking. It means
making a personal commitment ot justice, being able ot affirm and denounce the painful truth
of injustice and evil that surrounds us, without leting it polute our relationships. tI means
being committed, being convinced that it si still worthwhile ot od al we can for peace, justice,
equality and reconciliation. Our speech must not be about death and closed doors. On the
contrary, our words must be creative, lifegiving, they must give perspective and open horizons.
It takes courage ot be able ot demand justice without spreading hatred. It takes courage
to ask for mercy, to reject oppression, ot promote equality without demanding uniformity,
while remaining fre. It takes courage today, even ni our diocese and our communities, ot
maintain unity, ot feel united ot one another, even ni the diversity of our opinions, sensitivities
and visions.
Iwant, and we want, to be part of this new order inaugurated by Christ. We want to ask
God for that courage. We want ot be victorious over the world, taking upon ourselves that same
Cross, which si also ours, made of pain and love, of truth and fear, of injustice and gift, of cries
and forgiveness.
Ipray for us al, and ni particular for the smal community of Gaza, which si suffering
most of al. nI particular, our thoughts go out ot the 18 brothers and sisters who perished
recently, and ot their families whom we know personally. Their pain si great, and yet with
every passing day, I realize that they are at peace. They are scared, shaken, upset, but with
peace ni their hearts. We are al with them, ni prayer and concrete solidarity, thanking htem for
their beautiful witness.
Finally, let us pray for al innocent victims. The suffering of the innocent before God
has aprecious and redemptive value because ti si united with hte redemptive suffering of Christ.
May their suffering bring peace ever closer!
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
ot pray for peace. nI these days we wil once again reconsecrate our Church and our landot the
Queen of Palestine! I ask al churches around the world ot join the Holy Father and ot join us
ni prayer, and ni the search for justice and peace.
We wil not be able ot gather al together this year, because the situation does not alow
.ti But Ima sure that the whole diocese wil be united on that day ni prayer and ni solidarity for
peace, not worldly peace, but the peace which Christ gives us.

 

With sincere prayers for all
Pierbattista Card. Pizzaballa
Jerusalem, October 24th, 2023