Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Catholics to support Pope Benedict’s call for action on the current Middle East conflict which respects the rights of the people of Lebanon, Israel and Palestine in a balanced and just way.
The call was issued on the day set aside by Pope Benedict for prayer for peace in the Middle East.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that there needed to be more efforts to respect the human dignity of all people in the Middle East.
“The defence of human dignity is a core value for Catholics seeking to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ,” Mr Arndt said.
“In order to do that, we should be rejecting the violence on all sides in the Middle East,” he said.
“We should not be trying to justify violence which destroys human lives and dignity whether it is perpetrated by Hezbollah or the Israeli Defence Forces,” he said.
“The Pope has made it clear that the people of Israel, Lebanon and Palestine all have rights which must be respected,” he said.
The Pope issued a statement on 20 July in which he called for prayer and penance in support of three specific intentions:
- An immediate ceasefire in the current conflict
- The opening of corridors which would allow the delivery of humanitarian aid
- The commencement of responsible negotiations which would address injustices which exist in the region
The Pope’s statement affirmed the Vatican’s position that:
- The Lebanese people are entitled to have the integrity and sovereignty of their land respected;
- Israelis have a right to live in peace in their own land; and
- Palestinians are entitled to live in their own free and sovereign homeland.
“Our Commission calls on Catholics not to take sides in the current conflict, but, rather, to pray and work for an end to the violence and for the pursuit of a just solution to the conflict,” Mr Arndt said.
“Too much of what we have heard from world leaders and from various groups in Australia tends to support the position of one side or the other,” he said.
“As the Pope has said, the Palestinians, Israelis and Lebanese all have rights which must be supported if the human dignity of every person in the Middle East is to be respected and upheld,” he said.
Released by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission – Brisbane