Earlier today, Cardinal Nichols spoke about the ‘desperate situation’ in the Holy Family Church in Gaza.
In an interview with Sky News, he referred to the account from Cardinal Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch, about the attack on the parish which targeted some of the crucial infrastructure of the compound with rockets. ‘Most distressing of all,’ he added was the ‘cold-blooded killing’ of an elderly lady and her daughter ‘within what is clearly designated as a church’.
Whilst he understands Israel’s right to defend itself, he said that the killings are ‘doing nothing to further’ this aim. ‘The killing of vulnerable and innocent people seems to me to set back what Israel is trying to achieve.’
He noted that the parish is dedicated to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph precisely because, when they were fleeing from the threat of being killed they escaped to Egypt through Gaza. ‘So all those people in Gaza who are fleeing and [taking shelter in the church compound] are actually [doing so] in the footsteps of that Holy Family.’
The Cardinal expressed his support for David Cameron’s appeal yesterday ‘for what he called a structured ceasefire, a ceasefire that has some movement from both sides and with very clear objectives, to bring humanitarian aid in and, very rightly, try and free hostages.’
He said that a resolution would require engagement that can overcome ‘the anger and the dismay and the distress [that] is profound on both sides.’
He added that he hoped that every Christian, and other people of goodwill who have a faith in God, would in their prayer ‘implore God to touch hearts that would have been hardened over many decades so that we can move forward.’
Photo: Cardinal visiting Holy Family Parish in 2014 (Mazur/CBCEW.org.uk)