Ecumenical Catholic Communion

Council of Bishops

Statement on the War in Gaza and Israel

Statement on the War in Gaza and Israel


Dear Sisters and Brothers, Siblings in Christ,


The Council of Bishops of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, your bishops, wish to make a statement on the current war in the Holy Land. We join with other Catholics, Christians, Jewish peace activists worldwide,[1] and people of all faiths in calling for an immediate ceasefire to end the suffering of innocent civilians and the endangerment of hostages in Gaza. 


In solidarity with the Middle East Council of Churches, we lament the bloodshed of the Hamas attacks and the Israeli military response. The actions of Hamas were nothing less than horrific; nothing justifies the deaths of 1,400 people and the kidnapping of hundreds of civilians. That acknowledged, the Israeli government response, which includes cutting off water, destroying medical infrastructure, and killing more than 6,500 civilians (more than a third children) is just as unjustified. It has escalated this tragedy to what is now being characterized by the Christian Churches of Gaza as a “war of extermination.”[2]


Grounded in the justice teaching of the Catholic churches, we align ourselves with Pope Francis's perspective in rejecting war as a response – even to terrorism. In his papal encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis challenges the world to a new era of peacemaking: 


We can no longer think of war as a solution because its risks will probably always be greater than its supposed benefits. In view of this, it is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a “just war.” Never again war!


These words ring true for the severely afflicted people of Israel and Gaza.


The citizens of both Israel and Gaza have the right to live within security and peace. As Catholics, we affirm the basic human rights of all human persons, regardless of geography or religion. All have a right to safe and sufficient housing; the right to water and food security; the right to educational opportunities and to work with dignity; the right to medical care; and the right to access opportunity and build financial stability for themselves and their families. All those rights are being violated in Gaza. An immediate ceasefire is the first step toward restoring these critical elements of human safety and dignity in the region. 


We recognize that the notion of “just war” originated within the Catholic theological tradition. While ideas of “just war” may provide satisfaction to those who command armies, they are of little comfort to those who suffer the inevitable death, disability, and destruction of war. We plead with those involved in the conflict, their supporters, and particularly the government of the United States, to find an alternative path of resolving this ongoing tragedy and its hellish outcomes. In the final analysis, there is no sufficient explanation the world can offer to the tens of thousands who will suffer for generations because of the actions of the past month. The “victories” of war will never return lost lives and destroyed hopes. 


In contrast to “just war,” we offer the perspective of the Catholic theologies of liberation to our ECC Churches in the midst of this tragedy. In his book The Spiral of Violence, Archbishop Hélder Câmara of Brazil examines how oppression of whole peoples by the State inevitably leads to violence on the part of the oppressed: 

The egoism of some privileged groups drives countless human beings into this subhuman condition, where they suffer restrictions, humiliations, and injustices; without prospects, without hope, their condition is that of slaves. This established violence, the violence no.1, attracts violence no. 2, revolt, either of the oppressed themselves or of the youth, firmly resolved to battle for a more just and humane world.[3]

Archbishop then notes that force becomes the State’s response, a third form of violence inflicted under the banner of public order and public security. It is that form of violence we see now in a region of the world we call “holy.” The long-standing apartheid conditions of Gaza, while not justification for the violence of Hamas and other terrorist groups of the region, must be addressed.


Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9, NIV). This is our guide. This is the voice we follow.


With a prayer to the God of peace, addressed by many names, we join people of peace around the globe in urging a ceasefire. We ask for pause and reflection, followed by concrete action to end violence, and prayer that the future will bring justice, prosperity and peace to Israel and Gaza, as well as all places torn by war across this globe




[2]  Middle East Council of Churches statement, 10/18/ 2023,

[3] 1971, page 30

Bishop Paul J. Burson

Bishop Francis Krebs

Bishop Denise Donato

Bishop Kedda Keough

Bishop Kae Madden

Bishop Rafe Adams

Bishop Armando Leyva

Emergency Response Fund

Church World Services

When disaster and conflict strike, the CWS Emergency Response Fund supports vulnerable communities in their time of greatest need.

LATEST SITUATION: On October 7, Hamas launched horrific attacks that resulted in the murder of hundreds of Israeli civilians. Counter attacks by the State of Israel killed thousands more Palestinian civilians in Gaza, further threatening extremely vulnerable communities.  

The 2.2 million residents of Gaza are not able to leave, and the State of Israel has cut off water, electricity, fuel, medical supplies and food and continues to launch major military attacks in areas populated by civilians. Since October 21, a small amount of humanitarian aid has been allowed to enter Gaza (according to the United Nations, as of October 25, 62 truckloads had entered Gaza, compared to a daily average of 500 truckloads prior to the hostilities).


As of October 25, the number of people killed in Gaza has exceeded 6,547 and more than 17,439 people have been injured.

Click here for more information and how to donate.,is%20often%20long%20and%20challenging.

Demand a Ceasefire by all parties

Petition presented by Amnesty International

Demand a ceasefire by all parties to end civilian suffering

The unparalleled escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and other armed groups has taken a devastating toll on civilians. The level of casualties is unprecedented. Countless lives have been shattered, ripped apart, and upended. 

With each day that passes more lives are lost and the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is getting worse. Sign our petition to call for an immediate ceasefire by all parties to end civilian bloodshed and ensure humanitarian aid access to Gaza........

* * * * *

Click here to read more...and to considers signing their Petition to urge world leaders to call for an immediate ceasefire by all parties and put an end to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

A Prayer for Peace in Israel and Palestine

God of Comfort,

send your Spirit to encompass all those whose lives

are torn apart by violence and death in Israel and Palestine.

You are the Advocate of the oppressed

and the One whose eye is on the sparrow.

Let arms reach out in healing, rather than aggression.

Let hearts mourn rather than militarize.

God of Justice,

give strength to those whose long work for a just peace

might seem fruitless now. Strengthen their resolve.

Do not let them feel alone. Show us how to support their work

and bolster their courage. Guide religious leaders to model

unity and reconciliation across lines of division.

Guide political leaders to listen with their hearts as they seek peace and pursue it.

Help all people choose the rigorous path of just peace and disavow violence.

God of Love,

we lift up Palestine and Israel — its people, its land, its creatures.

War is a monster that consumes everything in its path.

Peace is a gift shared at meals of memory with Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

Let us burn incense, not children. Let us break bread, not bodies.

Let us plant olive groves, not cemeteries.

We beg for love and compassion to prevail

on all your holy mountains.

God of Hope,

we lift up the cities of the region: Gaza City and Tel Aviv,

Ramallah and Ashkelon, Deir El Balah and Sderot,

so long divided, yet so filled with life and creativity.

Come again to breathe peace on your peoples

that all may recognize you.

God of Mercy,

even now work on the hearts of combatants

to choose life over death, reconciliation over retaliation,

restoration over destruction. Help us resist antisemitism in all its forms,

especially in our own churches. All people, Israelis and Palestinians,

deserve to live in peace and unafraid, with a right to determine

their future together.

God of the Nations,

let not one more child or elder be sacrificed on altars of political expediency.

Keep safe all people from unjust leaders who would exploit

vulnerability for their own distorted ends.

Give wise discernment to those making decisions to pursue peace.

Provide them insight into fostering well-being, freedom, and thriving for all.

Teach all of us to resolve injustices with righteousness, not rockets.

Guard our hearts against retaliation, and give us hearts for love alone.

Strengthen our faith in you, O God of All Flesh,

even when we don’t have clear answers,

so that we may still offer ourselves nonviolently

for the cause of peace.


Office of Presiding Bishop

Ecumenical Catholic Communion

10 West Lockwood

St. Louis, MO 63119

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