October 2023

Statement from Archbishop Charles C. Thompson on Violence in the Holy Land

Most Reverend Charles C. ThompsonViolence and killing are deeply disturbing in any form, but especially disheartening in a place like the Holy Land where persons of the three most prominent world religions—Judaism, Islam and Christianity—strive to live together while honoring the sacred places of their respective religions. Such aggression, torturing and killing of innocent people, young and old, cannot be tolerated. In fact, such actions must be condemned.

Violence, retribution, and reaction often beget violence, retribution, and reaction. The only lasting humane outcome in such situations is that of response, one that is directed toward overcoming rather than succumbing to injustice. Such a response necessarily seeks to set aside weapons of destruction in order to cultivate a sacred space of listening, dialogue, healing and reconciliation.

The standard for this response as Christians is Jesus Christ and the Cross. Rather than react in kind to the violence and injustice of his time, particularly when it was directed toward him, Jesus chose to respond by absorbing such behavior so that it would die with him. In this way, he took the sins of humanity—the anger, bitterness, guilt, resentment, shame, and vengeance—to hang upon the Cross and die there in his crucified body. Three days later, he would rise from the dead, having left the sin and evil on the cross to be transformed by divine grace and mercy. It was this response that ushered in our salvation and redemption.

Together, we pray for all who are made to suffer violence and injustice, especially those who are victims of abuse, human trafficking, terrorism, and war. We pray for all those in the Holy Land, both in Israel and Gaza, particularly the poor, homeless, grieving and victims of torture. Let us pray for the end to all wars, violence, and atrocities against the dignity of human life. May we never tire of praying and working toward cultivating a culture of response rather than a reaction to differences, injuries, injustices and violence. By the grace of Jesus Christ, our Savior, may it end with us.

Local site Links: