Europe’s Catholic bishops on Wednesday lent their support to the appeal of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land for peace in region, stressing the urgency of protecting life at all costs.
In a separate appeal on Wednesday, Pope Francis also urged for peace in the region warning that “war begets war, violence begets violence.”
The appeals came after Israeli forces killed some 60 Palestinians and wounded many more near the Gaza-Israel border on Monday during demonstrations against the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, relocating it from Tel Aviv. It was the bloodiest day in Gaza in years.
“We join the Catholic Church in the Holy Land to deplore “yet another explosion of hatred and violence, which is once again staining the Holy Land with blood” in these days, wrote the top leaders of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) in a statement.
The CCEE, headquartered in St. Gallen, Switzerland, said it wanted to “witness the closeness of the European Church” and welcomed the invitation of the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, for a time of prayer for peace in the Holy Land.
The statement signed by CCEE President Italian Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco Archbishop of Genoa and its two vice-presidents, expressed the conviction that peace and human life are undeniable goods and are above all national and international interests.
Europe’s bishops invited communities and individuals in the continent to “join the prayer of the Church of Jerusalem, through a time of meditation and prayer for peace and the defense of life at any cost, on Saturday, May 19, the eve of Pentecost.”