Yesterday, the National Catholic Reporter published their story, entitled “Cardinal McElroy, Archbishop Wester Issue Call for Israeli Ceasefire in Gaza.” It follows:
Two U.S. Catholic bishops on Jan. 17 added their voices to growing calls for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego and Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico, released a statement both condemning Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attack against Israel and calling for an “immediate and total” halt to continuing Israeli military action in Gaza.
“The siege of Gaza has lasted more than 100 days and has already resulted in the deaths of more than 23,000 people, most of them innocent civilians. This is more than one percent of the entire population of Gaza. Proportionately for the United States, this would represent more than 3.5 million lives,” the bishops wrote, also citing the damage to Gazan housing and infrastructure.
The bishops continued, “A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Gaza before the eyes of the world. In such a conflict, continuing such warfare is neither just nor tolerable.” The United Nations’ emergency relief chief said Jan. 15 that hundreds of thousands of Gazans are starving and “actually in famine.” The bishops also raised concerns that the war in Gaza would lead to further violence in Lebanon, the West Bank and other parts of the Middle East.
In recent weeks, Israel’s military and the Lebanese militant group and political party Hezbollah have been exchanging fire over the Lebanon border. The U.S. military has also been striking what they say are Iran-backed Houthi sites in Yemen, in retaliation for that militant group’s alleged attacks on international shipping routes. Houthi leadership says they are undertaking the attacks in support of the Palestinian cause.
In condemning Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks, the bishops wrote, “The massacre of more than 1,200 innocent Israelis, including children, and the abhorrent victimization of women on Oct. 7 stand as a shocking attack by Hamas upon the most basic principles of human dignity.”
McElroy and Wester said those attacks delegitimized Hamas’ future role in the Middle East.