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Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa outside St Onuphrius on the Janiculum Hill in Rome (CNS/Lola Gomez)

Sudden peace negotiations or an intervention by the United States will not deliver Israelis and Palestinians from the suffering caused by the war in Gaza, a Jerusalem-based cardinal said yesterday. Source: CNS.

As a result of the war, the rift between Israelis and Palestinians is “deeper than it has ever been”, said Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, patriarch of Jerusalem..

“We are all waiting for something big, something that changes the course of the history of events,” he said in his homily during a Mass to formally take possession of his titular church in Rome. “We all want the United States to resolve the problem; we all want the peace negotiations to end in something big, important, in a way that marks the course of history.”

But “this is not the way the kingdom of God grows”, he said. “The kingdom of God grows in community, with communal gestures, calmly, little by little.”

The kingdom of God is not “a miracle that is performed, suddenly changing the fate of the world”, the cardinal said, rather it is “a seed sown in the ground that dies and little by little grows and bears fruit”. The Catholic Church, he added, is called to be that slowly but steadily growing seed.

Cardinal Pizzaballa preached before a packed congregation in the small, historic Church of St Onuphrius on the Janiculum Hill in Rome as he formally took possession of the church, a tradition meant to seal his identity as a member of the clergy of Rome.

After the Mass, Cardinal Pizzaballa told reporters that he struggles to understand the protests taking place across college campuses in the United States over academic institutions’ investments in companies that do business with Israel.

“Universities are places where cultural debate, even when heated, even when tough, should be available at 360 degrees,” he said. “The contrast of completely different ideas, harsh as they may be, must be expressed not through violence or boycotting, but by knowing how to confront one another.”


Cardinal says church shouldn’t expect ‘miracle’ of peace in Holy Land (By Justin McLellan, CNS)