PRAYING FOR A LASTING PEACE A statement from Australia’s Catholic Bishops

16 Nov 2023

By The Record

ACBC Praying for Peace
A Palestinian boy cries after seeing the damages at a U.N.-run school sheltering displaced people, following an Israeli strike, in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, 2 November, 2023. Photo: OSV News/Fadi Whadi, Reuters.

In gathering in Sydney last week for the bi-annual plenary meeting, the Australian Catholic Bishops, have joined with the Australian Catholic community in expressing our grief and anguish over the suffering of people in the Holy Land.

These are not simply news stories or television dramas: they are the stories of real people. All are children of God.

We pray for our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land and hold them and their suffering in our hearts.

A girl lights a candle, as people gather for a vigil in Tel Aviv, Israel, 7 November, 2023, to mark the one-month anniversary of the deadly attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Israel. Photo: OSV News/Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters.

Remembering the long history that has led to the current violence in the Middle East is the first step to finding a way beyond the violence to a just end of the conflict.

Peace can come only from justice.

We call people of faith to pray with us for a lasting peace and the triumph of human dignity.

As we turn to God in prayer, we also encourage acts of charity and generosity to provide for the material needs of people who are isolated and facing the greatest hardship. The need is urgent. 

Properly administered aid could mean the difference between life and death for innocent civilians, and so we call for immediate access for humanitarian agencies.

The sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam share a longing for peace and harmony, and this we seek together as one human family.

Palestinians men rest on a sofa near a house damaged in an Israeli airstrike, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, 7 November, 2023. Photo: OSV News/Mohammed Salem, Reuters.