On 16 December the communications office of the Latin Patriarchate reported that an IDF sniper murdered two Christian women inside the Holy Family Parish in Gaza, where the majority of Christian families have taken refuge since the start of the war on 7 October. One woman was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety into the Convent of the Sisters of Mother Theresa (Missionaries of Charity) which is home to 54 people with disabilities and is part of the church compound, and has been signalled as a place of worship since the start of the war.
Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, along with Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin and Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford and Lismore, commented on this attack and on the continuing heart-breaking news of the relentless loss of human life in Gaza.
Archbishop Martin said, “When are these merciless attacks going to stop? Our prayers from Ireland go out to all those impacted, and cry out for an immediate end to the violence.”
Bishop Doran said, “The Catholic Patriarchate in Jerusalem is a very authoritative source. Army snipers don’t kill civilians by accident. This a war crime; one among the many committed against civilians on both sides.”
Bishop Cullinan said, “The targeting of a religious institution and vulnerable members of society is a grave violation of human rights and goes against the principles of compassion and respect for all life. For peace to take hold, the sanctity of all human life must be upheld throughout the Holy Land. I offer my heartfelt prayers for an end to the conflict and I extend my support to the Patriarch, the Missionaries of Charity, and to all affected by this attack.”
Bishop Cullinan continued, “I am calling for an immediate end to the needless bloodshed in Gaza, as this slaughter is claiming innocent lives and causing immense suffering to local residents.”