Sustained prayers needed for Mid-East: Archbishop Wilson

"Our faith tells us that it is not God's way to oppose violence with stronger violence," Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson said yesterday in a call by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) for "sustained prayers" for peace.

"I know that there are many Australians who have families in both Lebanon and Israel. Let us hold them in our prayers as indeed we pray for all of those affected by this terrible conflict," the ACBC President said.

"We can so often feel helpless in the face of such violence and seemingly intractable political problems, but our faith tells us that it is not God's way to oppose violence with stronger violence.

"Once again, I return to the words of Pope Benedict who tells us: 'What we can do is to give witness of love, witness of faith and, above all, to raise a cry to God - We can pray!'"

Archbishop Wilson also joined with Pope Benedict XVI in calling for an immediate ceasefire as the first step towards reconciliation and lasting peace.

"Nobody underestimates the complexity and the difficulties in finding a solution for peace in the Holy Land, but there must be an end to the killing, including of civilians, before even the first steps towards reconciliation can be taken," he said.

Archbishop Wilson noted an address from the Pope on July 23 in which he reaffirmed the "right of the Lebanese to the integrity and sovereignty of their country, the right of Israelis to live in peace in their state, and the right of Palestinians to a free and sovereign homeland".

"I also acknowledge with gratitude the work of humanitarian agencies in responding to this emergency in which hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes, drinking water is cut off in many places and supplies of food and fuel are very low."

Caritas Australia is raising funds to help respond to the crisis and its partners, Caritas Lebanon and Caritas Jerusalem, are supplying aid and every possible assistance to people in the affected areas.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (Media Release, 2/8/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Caritas Australia
Caritas Lebanon blog (now in English and French)

Unity and hope amid chaos in Lebanon (CathNews, 2/8/06)
Canberra Christian leaders slam Govt over "cowardly" silence on Middle East (CathNews, 1/8/06)
Benedict calls for miracle as Qana toll reaches 54 (CathNews 31/7/06)
Asian and African migrants "abandoned" in Lebanon, Vatican says (CathNews 27/7/06)
Students taking lead for Middle East peace (CathNews 26/7/06)
Lebanese Maronite bishops plea for UN help (CathNews 25/7/06)
Caritas Lebanon slams milk factory attack (CathNews 21/7/06)
Advertise Lebanon evacuation plans, stranded priest tells Govt (CathNews 20/7/06)

3 Aug 2006