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Cardinal Matteo Zuppi (CNS/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Mario Zuppi has condemned the rise of antisemitism since the outbreak of the war in Gaza and has called for a ceasefire, saying Israel’s military offensive does not justify the rising civilian death count. Source: Crux.

Speaking on the Italian television program In Mezz’ora on Sunday, the Italian cardinal, a close papal aide, lamented the many violent conflicts raging throughout the world, saying, “We must always try to see peace, war is always a terrible defeat.”

“Every day more is a day of anguish. Peace is something that requires a lot of experiments, many attempts, it must be sought with obstinacy, and we are convinced that it will come,” he said, saying the international community has a role to play, and “cannot keep itself out.”

Cardinal Zuppi issued a “strong and clear condemnation” of antisemitism and of the October 7, 2023, attack by Hamas that left some 1200 Israelis dead and more than 200 more taken as hostages.

He called the Hamas attack “a terrible violence which killed innocents” and an “expression of something that we cannot accept”.

He also backed recent remarks from the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defence, but said its military response to the Hamas attack has been disproportionate.

Israel’s embassy to the Holy See hit back against that statement, calling Cardinal Parolin’s remarks “deplorable”. 

However, Cardinal Zuppi defended Cardinal Parolin, saying he simply repeated “what many governments are saying; he said ‘ceasefire’ because this operation does not justify a huge number of victims”.

“We hope that this appeal will be accepted by Israel, and we will begin to look to the future,” he said.

Cardinal Zuppi is also Pope Francis’ personal peace envoy for the war in Ukraine. His efforts in the Ukraine war have so far focused primarily on the humanitarian situation and on negotiating the return of Ukrainian children forcibly deported to Russia.


Top papal aide backs global appeal for ceasefire in Gaza (By Elise Ann Allen, Crux)