The Vatican Secretary of State said Tuesday that the Holy See is committed to doing everything it can to help end the Israel-Gaza conflict.
“This conflict is bringing destruction and death,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin told journalists in Rome May 18.
Parolin said that the Holy See is concerned that international efforts to reach a cease-fire have not been successful and that the Vatican wishes to “do everything possible to stop the conflict.”
He added that he does not see the Holy See as acting as a “mediator, in the technical sense of the word,” under the current conditions, stressing the importance of direct negotiations.
“It’s necessary that any action, any initiative of goodwill, must lead to a cease-fire. Direct negotiations must be taken up again between the two sides, in such a way that puts an end to this age-old conflict and reaches a solution,” he said.
“The solution ought to be in keeping with the two-state solution, which will enable each of them to live in peace.”
The cardinal made the comments at a book launch at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See’s Palazzo Borromeo. Parolin’s full remarks at the event were published by Exaudi News.
The book is an Italian biography of Mario Agnes, who served as president of Catholic Action and later editor-in-chief of L’Osservatore Romano from 1984 until his retirement in 2007.
“If there is one episode that more than others summarizes Agnes’ attitude towards the theme of peace, it is the title ‘Never again war,’ written in large letters, on the occasion of the Gulf War,” Parolin said in his prepared remarks.
“In a comment published on March 10, 1991, after the ‘cease-fire’ in Iraq while popular uprisings are raging in the country, Agnes stated: ‘In establishing justice and working for peace, one cannot continue to ignore a problem that is at the bottom of many other problems: the indiscriminate trade in arms of all kinds. Unscrupulously arming the poor to fight each other and pretending that this is a non-existent or irrelevant fact is an ignoble action that cries out for vengeance in the sight of God.’”
Parolin said that Pope Francis would discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when he meets with Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, on May 22.
Earlier this week, the pope also addressed the conflict in conversations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
After his Regina Coeli address on May 16, Pope Francis called for an end to the violence.
“Many people have been injured and many innocent people have died. Among them are even children, and this is terrible and unacceptable,” the pope said.
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem asked Catholics to pray for “peace and justice” in the Holy Land as the conflict entered into its second week.
Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa said: “Until we decide to really face the problems that have afflicted these countries and these peoples for decades, in fact, I fear that we will be forced to witness more violence and other grief.”
“It is important that all the Church will join the mother Church of Jerusalem in the prayer of intercession for peace and justice in the Holy Land,” he said.