Statement on the October 7th Hamas Attack

The CCJS condemns the October 7th massacre of hundreds of innocent civilians in more than 20 places in southern Israel by Hamas militants. We are horrified by the targeting and slaughter of men, women, and children, and the abduction of dozens of people as hostages. The nature of this terrorist attack, aimed at civilians standing at bus stops and attending festivals, is particularly insidious.


Nothing can justify these acts of terror and the killing, maiming and abduction of civilians. According to Catholic Social Teaching, terrorism must be condemned in the most absolute terms. It shows complete contempt for human life and can never be justified.The dignity of the human person is the foundation of society and so acts of terror strike at the heart of all societies.


Speaking at the October 11th Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis said “Terrorism and extremism do not help to reach a solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, but fuel hatred, violence, and revenge, causing suffering to both sides.” Pope Francis called for the release of all hostages taken by Hamas militants and said Israel has a right to defend itself. The pope also rightly expressed grave concern for civilians in Gaza. The pope concluded his appeal for peace with a call for fraternity and dialogue. “The Middle East does not need war but peace, a peace built on justice, dialogue, and the courage of fraternity.”

The victims of the brutal attack on Oct. 7th, including the hostages and their relatives and loved ones, remain firmly in our prayers. We also pray that Israeli and Palestinian leaders discern a path towards a just and lasting peace.