CSAN Statement on the Israel-Gaza Conflict

Caritas Social Action Network supports the call by Pope Francis for an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli-Gaza conflict. In his comments after the Angelus on 29 October, Pope Francis said, “…in Gaza, may space be opened to guarantee humanitarian aid, and may the hostages be released right away. Let no one abandon the possibility that the weapons might be silenced – let there be a ceasefire” (1).

We deplore the atrocities carried out by Hamas on 7 October and we agree with our sister Caritas agency CAFOD that “responding to the atrocities committed by Hamas with what amounts to a collective punishment of civilians living in the occupied Palestinian territory is leading to unimaginable levels of death and suffering” (2).

We urge the Catholic community in England and Wales to pray for peace and reconciliation and to learn more about the background to this conflict, including the role played by Britian during the period of the Mandate (1920-1948). We urge Catholics to raise the voice of peace and justice in their communities with their elected representatives.

In particular, we urge all Catholics to take a stand against antisemitic and Islamophobic hate crimes in their own communities. We share the concern of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who has appealed for “restraint and the total avoidance of hateful language and action, as the impact of this conflict is felt in communities here” (3).

Catholics in England and Wales can also respond in charity to the worsening situation by donating to the CAFOD appeal. Donations to the Crisis Appeal will support those affected and get funds to local trusted experts who have been working alongside communities helping those most in need to receive urgent humanitarian aid including food, water and emergency shelter. You can donate to the CAFOD appeal here: https://cafod.org.uk/news/emergencies-news/israeli-palestinian-crisis-calls-for-ceasefire-shared-with-foreign-secretary

Raymond Friel, CEO, Caritas Social Action Network                                13 November 2023

(1) https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/angelus/2023/documents/20231029-angelus.html#:~:text=You%20cannot%20truly%20love%20others,the%20Father’s%20love%20like%20mirrors, accessed 9.11.2023

(2) https://cafod.org.uk/news/emergencies-news/israeli-palestinian-crisis-calls-for-ceasefire-shared-with-foreign-secretary, accessed 9.11.2023

(3) https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/17844/uk-churches-back-ceasefire-plea-with-prayer, accessed 9.11.2023