Last week, when speaking to his weekly audience, Pope Francis urged the world to take “only one side” in the Israeli-Palestinian war – the one “of peace”. He added, “War does not solve any problem, it only sows death and destruction, increases hatred, multiplies revenge. War erases the future”. He called for a day of fasting, penance and prayer for peace on Friday October 27, for everyone, whatever their religion.
The Society of Jesus endorses the Pope’s unconditional call for peace.
The Society of Jesus has been present at the heart of the conflict in Israel-Palestine and throughout the Middle East. Jesuits have been deeply engaged in dialogue with Jews. Fully committed to the uprooting of the teaching of contempt for Jews, anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, the Society of Jesus also recognizes the rights of Jews in Israel and everywhere else in the world. Never again must Jews be murdered, raped, maimed, tortured, kidnapped and threatened.
Jesuits have also been deeply engaged in dialogue with Muslims who form the majority of Palestinians together with the Christian Palestinians. They are fully committed to the building up of multicultural and multireligious societies in Palestine and throughout the Middle East. They are active in the fight against Islamophobia and racism. Palestinians have the right to live everywhere in their homeland in dignity and peace. Never again must Palestinians be murdered, buried under the rubble of their homes, expelled, starved, collectively punished and exiled.
It is time to say, stop the killing and promotion of ideologies that permit it. Stop instrumentalizing religion for political power projects. Decades of violent conflict have brought nothing but ruin on the entire region and escalation of hatred. The only possible victory is the fruit of a struggle for justice and peace, equality and reconciliation.
Today, in this time of engulfing darkness and death, let us embrace the invitation to take the side of peace.
[Image by jcomp on Freepik]