Archbishop Hartmayer’s statement in response to Holy Land violence

ATLANTA–Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., issued a statement Oct. 12 in response to violence in the Holy Land. His statement follows:

“The news of the violent terrorist attacks in Israel over the past few days has been heartbreaking. We join our prayers to those of the Holy Father in this time of crisis. We pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel, as well as those here in Georgia, many of whom have been directly impacted by this violence. We also pray for all of the innocent victims caught in the crossfire. In response to the violence and escalating tensions in the Holy Land, I implore not only the Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, but all people of good will to pray for peace.

In his weekly Angelus address on October 8, 2023, Pope Francis stated, ‘I am following apprehensively and sorrowfully what is happening in Israel where the violence has exploded even more ferociously, causing hundreds of deaths and casualties. I express my closeness to the families and victims. I am praying for them and for all who are living hours of terror and anguish. May the attacks and weaponry cease. Please! And let it be understood that terrorism and war do not lead to any resolutions, but only to the death and suffering of so many innocent people. War is a defeat! Every war is a defeat! Let us pray that there be peace in Israel and in Palestine.’

The Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem issued a statement on Oct. 7, condemning the attacks and calling for prayer during this time of instability. I unite my sentiments with theirs: ‘We unequivocally condemn any acts that target civilians, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or faith. Such actions go against the fundamental principles of humanity and the teachings of Christ, who implored us to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (Mk 12:31).’

Additionally, we pray for the Christian community in the Holy Land, many of whom have fled the region. Father Francesco Patton, OFM, the Custos of the Holy Land, stated in a recent interview: ‘The Christian population is always a peaceful population and the risk when there are conflicts, confrontations and war, is that the Christian population is the first victim after every war. Some of the members of our communities leave the country.’

The International Justice and Peace Commission of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on October 8, 2023 condemning the violence and asking to never tire of praying for peace. Violence–especially against innocent citizens–must always be condemned.

Let us invoke the intercession of Our Lady under her title of Queen of Peace to bring peace to the beloved land we call “holy” and to all parts of the world, where conflict rages.

As a spiritual son of St. Francis of Assisi, I commend to you his prayer for peace.  May we all be instruments of peace at this critical time in history.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”