Both priests spoke of their material powerlessness against the weapons of war, but of the importance of their spiritual presence for their community.
My friend Michael La Civita, who is the communications director for Catholic Near East Welfare Association and who oversees the publication of its award-winning magazine, ONE, has written an essay over at Our Sunday Visitor about the dire condition of the Middle East. He notes that the presence of Christians is a necessary ingredient to long-term peace in that region of the world. It's worth the read.
NCR Today: As another week of violence comes to a close, Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, has been advancing the cause of peace in the Holy Land.
Listen to the news any day, any hour. You will find commentators, usually Republicans, who think that President Barack Obama needs to show more "muscle" in his conduct of foreign policy or act "more strongly" wherever -- you name the place -- or "regain America's leadership role in the world." Many critics wish he had kept at least some U.S. troops in Iraq, engaged to some degree in the civil war in Syria, and had "taken decisive action" (whatever that means) against Russia for annexing Crimea and supporting the Ukrainian separatists.
NCR Today: Resources for peace in Gaza; Rick Santorum; immigration issues; fired bishop of Toowoomba, Australia, writes memoir; and much more.
The Vatican representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council urged the Israeli military and fighters in the Gaza Strip to stop targeting civilian areas.
"As the number of people killed, wounded, uprooted from their homes, continues to increase in the conflict between Israel and some Palestinian groups, particularly in the Gaza Strip, the voice of reason seems submerged by the blast of arms," Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said Wednesday during a special session of the council in Geneva.
NCR Today: Conflict continues in Israel, Palestine; U.S. Senator to deliver policy address at CUA; Texas governor sending troops to border; Australian teachers go on strike
NCR Today: Every innocent death, Israeli or Palestinian, is one too many. The world has gotten inured to Israeli tactics of disproportionate response to acts of violence.
As Israel continued its ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, Pope Francis urged Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to end the spiraling conflict.
The pontiff telephoned the two leaders Friday to express "his very serious concerns" only six weeks after both joined him at the Vatican for a historic prayer meeting.
Francis said he was concerned about the "climate of growing hostility, hatred and suffering" that was claiming many victims, resulting in "a serious humanitarian emergency," the Vatican said in a statement.
Civilians in Gaza used a brief cease-fire to spill onto the streets and replenish scarce supplies, some church representatives said.
The temporary end of hostilities Thursday was to facilitate moving desperately needed aid into the area as well as give those who could leave a chance to escape, said the Vatican's Fides missionary news agency.
Three foreign Sisters of the Institute of the Incarnate Word were to leave Gaza after Israeli missiles destroyed a home very close to Holy Family Church, the territory's only Catholic parish, the agency said Thursday.