Let’s Pray for “end to this horrifying violence”: South African Cardinal on Gaza Conflict

Stephen Cardinal Brislin. Credit: SACBC

Stephen Cardinal Brislin has called for prayer for an end to the Israel-Hamas war following the reported December 16 attack on the Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza and on the Centre for Disabled Children, which the Missionaries of Charity run within the Parish compound.

In a December 16 statement, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which oversees the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, claimed that a sniper of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) “murdered two Christian women inside the Holy Family Parish in Gaza, where the majority of Christian families has taken refuge since the start of the war.” 

The statement also indicated that there was no warning issued by the IDF ahead of the attack, alleging that the victims “were shot in cold blood inside the premises of the parish, where there are no belligerents.” 

In a Tuesday, December 19 statement, the Archbishop of Cape Town in South Africa appeals for prayers, saying, “Let us pray for peace and an end to this horrifying violence that seems to have as its aim the annihilation of Gaza.”

Cardinal Brislin asks the Clergy, women and men Religious in his Metropolitan See to make parishioners aware of the attacks in Gaza. He says, “Please ask them to keep in prayer the minuscule Christian community in Gaza together with all those who have been so badly affected by the war – those killed, who have lost loved ones, those maimed, those displaced, those without food and water.”


In a December 16 statement announcing the attacks, Pierbattista Cardinal Pizzaballa said the generator of the Parish, the only source of electricity, and the fuel resources, were destroyed. 

“The house (convent) was damaged by the resulting explosion and massive fire. Two more rockets, fired by an IDF tank, targeted the same Convent and rendered the home uninhabitable,” Cardinal Pizzaballa said, adding that the 54 persons living with disabilities at the home “are currently displaced and without access to the respirators that some of them need to survive.”

On the night before the December 16 attack on the Catholic Church premises in Gaza, the Italian-born member of the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin (OFM Cap.) said, there was heavy bombing in the neighbourhood.

“Three people were wounded inside the church compound last night. Furthermore, solar panels and water tanks, which are indispensable for the survival of the community, were destroyed,” he said.

Israelis reportedly justified the shooting by claiming the presence of a rocket launcher in the only Roman Catholic Church in Gaza.

More in Africa

Pope Francis condemned the attack on the Catholic Church premises in Gaza, saying, “It’s war, it’s terrorism.”

“I continue to receive very serious and painful news from Gaza. Unarmed civilians are subjected to bombings and shootings. And this even happened inside the parish complex of the Holy Family, where there are no terrorists, but families, children, sick and disabled people, nuns,” the Holy Father said after the Angelus prayer on December 17.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.