Palestinian militants ride an Israeli military vehicle that was seized by gunmen who infiltrated areas of southern Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip Oct. 7, 2023. OSV News photo/Ahmed Zakot, Reuters

Editorial: Bishops, find thy voice

  • October 19, 2023

Not even the horrifying violence spiralling beyond imagining in the Holy Land should blind us to Hamas’ ultimate responsibility for the carnage resulting for its Oct. 7 slaughter of Israeli innocents.

It’s a reality stubbornly overlooked by Israel’s enemies who literally cheer on Hamas’ barbarism, and will pounce on the horrid tragedy of a hospital being struck in Gaza as proof positive of the Jewish state’s perfidy. Unacknowledged is the hard truth that Hamas poured the gasoline, lit the fire, ran to hide behind its own people, and now strategically condemns Israel for the deadly flames.

That indisputable sequence raises the question for, say, the likes of Queers for Palestine as to whether it considered the statistical probability that some Jewish babies burned alive by Hamas on Simchat Torah would have grown up “Queer.” If so, did Queers for Palestine nevertheless conclude that while burning “Queers” is an indisputable homophobic moral outrage, random burning of baby Jewish “Queers” is somehow rationalized and justified by parrot-squawk clichés about “settler colonialism,” and “freedom from the river to the sea”?

It seems improbable any sane human being could swallow and regurgitate such illogic. But improbability is not impossibility. After the slaughter of more than 1,000 Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, Queers for Palestine were among the plethora of groups seized by the folly of self-serving “our side-ism.”

A further sad subset of that company comprises those who take refuge in “no side-ism” where blame is distributed with such even-handedness it is no longer blame at all. In the face of hardship’s hard choices, the “no-siders” insist that “terribles” on all sides are violating each other, and we can only pray they all find peace. Prayer for peace is essential but so is keeping our eyes open to the true offenders.

Alas, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops seems to have at least blinked given a statement published under the name of new CCCB President Bishop William McGrattan five days after Hamas launched its Jew-hating extermination effort. A caveat is required. Calgary’s admirable bishop is in Rome pre-occupied by the all-inclusive Synod on Synodality. Doubtless that explains why his statement reads like the product of a harried committee working by candlelight to at least say something. Still. Its opening sentence (see Verbatim opposite) could have easily been more emphatic of Holy Mother Church’s moral precepts. For example: “The burning of babies is an evil suited to Moloch in the Valley of Hell, which is precisely where Hamas terrorists who committed it belong.”

Or: “By ordering acts of murder, rape, torture and hostage-taking against defenceless Jewish civilians, then hiding behind their own civilians, Hamas has aligned itself with Nazi Nuremberg war criminals.”

If that seems too strong, compare it with the related statement of Cardinal Thomas Collins in the wake of violence in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, 2019.

“On a day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Easter joy is numbed by the horrific attacks in Sri Lanka, targeting churches and hotels. We condemn the targeted violence against Christians that is taking place at an alarmingly frequent rate worldwide. The slaughter of innocent families in a place of worship is particularly heinous.”

Horrific. Heinous. That is the language of a Catholic voice expressing Catholic leadership on first causes. Let us hope the CCCB finds such a voice.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.