Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No Truce, No PopeTrip

Amid Israel's stance that its recent days of airstrikes on Gaza are just the beginning of "long weeks of action" and the prospect of retaliation by Hamas grows, a growing buzz suggests that B16's already-announced May pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Jordan could be shelved:
Vatican sources have said a worsening of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict could alter the pope's travel plans.

The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, told Vatican Radio Dec. 27 that the latest escalation of violence was a provocation by both sides, and showed that both Hamas and Israel were caught up in a mentality of conflict.

"Hamas is a prisoner of a logic of hatred, Israel of a logic of trusting in force as the best response to hatred. They need to keep looking for a different way out, even if it seems impossible," Father Lombardi said.

The spokesman said Israel's attack on Gaza was notable for its intensity and the number of victims.

"Certainly it will be a very hard blow for Hamas. At the same time, it's quite probable that there will be innocent victims, in fact many of them; hatred will increase and the hopes for peace will once again fade," he said.
At his Sunday Angelus, the pontiff pleaded for peace:
Addressing pilgrims at his noon blessing at the Vatican Dec. 28, the pope urged serious dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians as the only way out of the "perverse logic of conflict and violence."

He called for a restoration of the truce in Gaza, and said the international community has a particular responsibility to leave nothing untried in helping both sides out of the current "blind alley."

"I am deeply saddened for the dead, the wounded, the material damage, and the sufferings and tears of the people who are the victims of this tragic sequence of attacks and reprisals," the pope said.

"The earthly homeland of Jesus cannot continue to be a witness to such bloodshed, which is repeated without end! I implore the end of this violence, which must be condemned in all its forms, and a restoration of the truce in the Gaza Strip," he said.

The pope called for a fresh demonstration of "humanity and wisdom in everyone who has responsibility in the situation."
On a related note, earlier today the Holy See released its annual list of pastoral workers killed in the line of duty during 2008.

Numbering 17 clerics, two religious and one lay volunteer, nearly half hailing from Asia, the group was led by the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul Paulos Faraj Rahho, who was kidnapped and murdered in March by a band of Islamic militants in the northern Iraqi city.

Given the situations roiling so many parts of the globe in these days, it's worth reminding that Thursday's observance of the church's World Day of Peace may be reflected in the liturgy by using the Sacramentary's Mass for Peace and Justice with its readings in place of the propers for the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.