October 12, 2023

Dear Catholic University Community,

On Monday, I released a statement on social media expressing sadness over the attack waged by Hamas against Israel, and the killing, kidnapping and maiming of so many innocent people. The Catholic University of America continues to pray for those victims, for all those impacted by the violence, for an end to hostilities, and for a lasting peace.

Hamas is a terrorist organization and seeks the annihilation of the state of Israel. Its abhorrent acts of terrorism against Israel merit the strongest condemnation. There is no justification for the acts of violence against innocent civilians that we witnessed this week. As the Holy Father noted Wednesday, Israel has a right to self defense.

The Holy Father has also rightly added an expression of concern for the “total siege under which the Palestinians are living in Gaza, where there have also been many innocent victims.”

The war in the Middle East has its roots in a history that is as long as it is complex. It may appear that there is little hope for a resolution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, but what is clear, according to Pope Francis, is that “terrorism and extremism do not help.” The current war will only “fuel hatred, violence, revenge, and only cause each other to suffer. The Middle East does not need war, but peace, a peace built on dialogue and the courage of fraternity.”

Shamefully, on some college campuses there have been acts of anti-Semitism or hateful comments made against Muslim students. There is no room on a Catholic campus for words and actions that do not uphold the respect and dignity due to every single member of this community. My hope for Catholic University is that we join together to support the cause of peace. Let us actively contribute to a community in which all persons, regardless of their faith or ethnicity, feel welcomed and safe on this campus.

Above all else, I ask you to join me in continuing to support peace in the Middle East through our prayers. This intention will be mentioned particularly at all of our Sunday Masses on campus. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, has asked all religious communities to dedicate Tuesday, Oct. 17. as a day of fasting, abstinence and prayer. He suggested the faithful come together to pray the rosary or to spend time in Eucharistic adoration. As the conference of U.S. bishops has encouraged, let us “not grow weary and to continue to pray for peace in the land Our Lord, the Prince of Peace, called home.”



Peter Kilpatrick