Israel's aerial attack and ground
move into Gaza has left hundreds dead and thousands wounded, many of them
civilians. Benedict XVI has repeatedly called for a cease fire during this
Christmas and New Year's messages, the latest during Sunday's angelus.Benedict XVIThe dramatic news from Gaza shows that the refusal of dialogue leads to
a serious worsening of the situations that affect people who are once again the
victims of hatred and war.
Father Manuel Musallam is Gaza's only Catholic
priest. He runs the Holy Family parish in Gaza city. In a recent interview
before the attack began December 27th , Father Musallam predicted the current
atmosphere in Palestine and the consequences of further disputes.Msgr.
Holy Family Parish Priest (Gaza)Now Israel is putting
Gaza under siege, it is not even a siege, they are committing a crime of war or
a crime against humanity.
The attacks are an attempt to stop the radical
Islamic group Hamas and their rocket attacks into southern Israel which haven't
ceased. Religious leaders from around the world have asked both states to end
the violence and come to terms.Msgr. Manuel Musallam
Parish Priest (Gaza)If I am able as a Palestinian and as a Christian too to
say something to Israel: Now, Now is the time not later. Now is the time for
peace with Palestinians. Now is the time to agree to have some kind of
compromise with Palestinians.
During the World Peace Day homily on
January first, Benedict XVI expressed his concerns for the escalating violence
between Palestine and Israel and the resilience of Christians in the Middle
East, particularly Gaza's parish.Benedict XVITogether with them and
their dear faithful, especially those of the small but fervent parish of Gaza,
we place upon Mary our concerns for the present and fears for the future, but
also our founded hope.
A hope that Catholic relief charity Caritas
Internationalis is desperately trying to bring to Gaza's wounded. With limited
medical supplies and continuous bombings, the aid is as needed as it is
difficult to get to.Patrick Nicholson
Spokesman We're trying to work with the parish of Gaza in providing this
medical help. It's a very difficult situation because of the aerial bombardment
to move around. It's very hard for our mobile unit to move around so we are
really operating under extremely difficult circumstances.
confirmed on Vatican Radio that many Christian homes have been affected by
Israel's air attacks. Although Christian population in Palestine has decreased
from 5 to 2% in recent years, the Holy Family Parish continues to pray for their
faith and their country.Msgr. Manuel Musallam
Holy Family Parish
Priest (Gaza)We need really the support of God in Gaza, prayers, Church
A plea that has become much more urgent in recent weeks.
Despite the hostile atmosphere, Vatican authorities assure Benedict XVI's visit
to the Holy Land in May is still a possibility and Gaza's Parish could be one of
the stops in Palestine, suggested in the Pope's agenda.