Sirens warning of incoming rockets sound around Gaza, near Tel Aviv Sirens warning of incoming rockets sound around Gaza, near Tel Aviv  (AMIR COHEN)

Cardinal Parolin decries "terrible, despicable attack" against Israel

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, expresses the Pope's sorrow for the outbreak of war in the Holy Land, expressing hopes that reason will prevail over violence.

By Salvatore Cernuzio

Cardinal Pietro Parolin has condemned the attack on Israel that took place last Saturday, 7 October, calling it a "terrible and despicable" act that has saddened the Pope who has expressed his condolences for all the dead and injured caused by the latest wave of violence.

The Vatican Secretary of State expressed these words in his opening address at a three-day conference starting on Monday at the Pontifical Gregorian University entitled "The New Documents from the Pontificate of Pope Pius XII and their Meaning for Jewish-Christian Relations."

Cardinal Parolin said, "I would have never thought to begin, today, my speech with the dutiful, sad obligation to share and convey the sorrow that the Holy Father expressed yesterday at what is happening in Israel. Two days ago, on the day of the Sabbath, on the feast of Simchat Torah, the joy of the Torah, in Israel, many Israeli brothers and sisters were awakened by a terrible and despicable attack. We are close to the families of the victims, to the thousands of wounded, to those who are missing and kidnapped and now in grave danger."

Holy See's great concern

The Secretary of State assured that "the Holy See is following with deep and grave concern the war that has been provoked, in which also many Palestinians in Gaza are losing their lives and many are displaced and wounded".

He then reiterated the Holy See's "closeness and prayers" also to their families and all civilians, who are "totally innocent."

Recalling the words of Pope Francis at Sunday's Angelus, Cardinal Parolin said "war is always the defeat of dignity and an occasion for not reaching any solution."

Cardinal Parolin added that, "Unfortunately, terrorism, violence, barbarism and extremism undermine the legitimate aspiration of Palestinians and Israelis. I hope that the weapons will be silenced and reason will prevail and be used to pause and reflect on the right way to achieve peace in Israel and Palestine."

A foundation for peaceful coexistence

Just ahead of the event, Cardinal Parolin spoke to journalists outside the Pontifical Gregorian University.

He called for a solution that finds ways "to lay the foundation" for addressing the challenge of coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis by implementing "the instruments of diplomacy" that the international community has available.

“Until that problem is resolved, until a roadmap for peace is found, these things will always risk repeating themselves and always with greater ferocity,” he warned.

'History has taught us nothing'

He shared with the journalists his concern over the upheavals taking place in the world at this "tragic time," even more so now with the outbreak of "this real war" in the Holy Land.

Cardinal Parolin expressed anguish over how history seems to repeat itself. "We thought the tragedies that occurred in the 1900s were something of the past, that they would never be repeated again. Instead, with great sadness and bewilderment, we see that we are repeating all the mistakes of the past. History has taught us nothing..."

Every avenue of diplomacy

In finding ways out of the current situation, the Cardinal noted that “certainly everyone's commitment will be needed to try first to limit this conflict which has broken out in a completely surprising way. At least on our part, no one imagined that what happened would be unleashed. Then all the tools of diplomacy need to be employed."

First, Cardinal Parolin underscored, we need to overcome this initial shock in which "it is difficult to think about things as we are all caught up in the emotional impact of what is happening."

At this time everything seems "very difficult", but "a moment of detachment" will arrive, and there, said the Cardinal, we will have to "start to reflect together."

Living with justice

Cardinal Parolin finally appealed that, "we must find the conditions that allow us to live with justice," because as Pope Pius XII said in the past "peace is the fruit of justice."

Therefore, we need to "find the way to resolve this tragic problem of relations between Palestinians and Israelis on the basis of justice. Only this can ensure a stable peace and a peaceful and fruitful coexistence between the two peoples."

09 October 2023, 17:04