Catholic World News

Pope voices sorrow, fear after Israeli raid on 'Freedom Flotilla'

June 02, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI expressed deep regret and "great trepidation" over the Israeli raid on the "Freedom Flotilla," during his weekly public audience on June 2.

"I feel the need to express my deepest condolences to the victims of these sorrowful events that are troubling all those who are concerned with peace in the area," the Pontiff said. "I again repeat, with heavy heart, that violence does not resolve conflict but only increases its tragic consequences and generates more violence."

The Pope urged all international leaders to redouble their efforts at finding a peaceful solution to the problems of the Middle East. He said: "The Lord sustains the efforts of those who never tire of working for reconciliation and peace."


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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jun. 02, 2010 10:25 PM ET USA

    Just Google "flotilla video" and you will see that this was an attempted blockade run by ships loaded with weapons under the cover of being a peace boat. If there was an disproportionate reaction by Israel, then where's the evidence of it? Humanitarian supplies and food are not blocked by Israel from entering Gaza. If Turkey wants to break the blockade, let it leave NATO and the EC, and fight a real war with Israel with its navy and not with human shields.

  • Posted by: williiam ronner - Jun. 02, 2010 9:14 PM ET USA

    In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us "blessed are the peacemakers" (Matt. 5:9). Elsewhere in the Sermon on the Mount he tells us "if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matt. 5:39). From such verses some have concluded that Christianity is a pacifist religion and that violence is never permitted. But the same Jesus elsewhere acknowledges the legitimate use of force, telling the apostles, "let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one" (Luke 22:36). How are these passages to be reconciled? In broad terms, Christians must not love violence. They must promote peace whenever possible and be slow to resort to the use of arms. But they must not be afraid to do so when it is called for. Evil must not be allowed to remain unchecked. Added weight is given to this realization when one recognizes that Scripture -- all of Scripture -- is inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16). This means that the Old Testament is just as inspired as the New Testament and thus an expression of the will of Christ. The Old Testament acknowledges frankly that there is "a time to kill" (Eccles. 3:3). At various times in the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to defend their nation by force of arms. Yet it was always with the recognition that peace is the goal to be worked for. Thus the psalmist exclaims, "how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (Ps. 133:1). Peace is the goal, but when it cannot be achieved without force, force must be used. In the same way, the New Testament sets forth the goal of peace but acknowledges the legitimate use of force. It does so by John the Baptist's acknowledgment that Roman soldiers, whose job it was to enforce the Pax Romana, or "Peace of Rome," could keep their jobs (Luke 3:14) and by Paul's observation that the state "does not bear the sword in vain" but is "God's servant for your good" (Rom. 13:4). As long as Christianity remained a minority religion in the Roman Empire, it was not forced to put these insights together into a formal theory of when warfare could be used. But as Christianity grew predominant, more attention had to be devoted to this subject. By the time of Augustine (A.D. 354-430) the need for a theory of when warfare was just was keen, and Augustine provided one, crystallizing biblical principles into what is now known as just war doctrine. In the intervening centuries the theory has been refined, but its framework remains as he gave it.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 02, 2010 7:48 PM ET USA

    Our Holy Father spoke rightly, and carefully, and as he should have. Informed and thinking people have an honest understanding of just why the Israelies had no choice in the matter, other than risk more of the usual arms and munitions smuggling to their sworn enemies. If the Turks manning the ship were honestly peaceful, they would have allowed peaceful and lawful inspection of the cargo. oremus7739 is right, but the Islamists do not want peace.

  • Posted by: oremus7739 - Jun. 02, 2010 6:04 PM ET USA

    Amen. We all need to pray for peace in the world. And Our Lady has stated that the Rosary is the weapon we need to use. The Devil is in the mood for creating more bloodshed through his agents involved in radical Islam. As Our Lady said "Only I can help you!". Mary, Help of Christians pray for us!

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Jun. 02, 2010 5:56 PM ET USA

    "Blessed are the peacemakers. . ." If only we had all Christians believing this beatitude.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 02, 2010 5:25 PM ET USA

    Just wondering if there is any goodwill among the parties in the negotiations for peace in the Middle East. I suppose one has have an advantage over the other in the guise of self defense. Unless there is goodwill a requisite for respect, for each other, in the negotiating process.... I feel that there will be no peace but continued on & off violence will be perpetuated among the parties.

  • Posted by: Saved by Grace - Jun. 02, 2010 11:12 AM ET USA

    Thanks, Pope Benedict for a voice of reason!