New Year’s Eve plea to end war

December 31 2023

Statement from the Association of Catholic Priests

31 Dec 2023

The reality of the war in Gaza continuing right through Christmas must have been somewhere in the minds of most people, even at the height of the season’s celebrations.

In the minds of priests, it would have been almost impossible to shut out the clamour of war, as we celebrated the Eucharist, that great act of peace and joy. The incongruity was more pointed during the feast when we welcomed the Prince of Peace into the world in ritual and song, the constant news of destruction and death seemed almost to make a mockery of what we were doing.

As we sang the hymns: Silent night, Holy night, all is calm, all is bright — there was no calm in Bethlehem this Christmas. Angels we have heard on high — what came from on high were not angels, but drones containing deadly bombs.

Pope Francis is clear, war is evil, there is no justification for what is happening.

Every human person is a child of God, containing within them the Spirit of the Divine. To wantonly kill people is, in a real sense, killing the Divine Presence in the world. This applies to all sides of all military conflicts. 

Speaking on behalf of the Association of Catholic Priests we say as clearly and definitively as we can: War is evil; the agents of war are acting on behalf of evil.

War does not solve problems, it only deepens hatred, division, enmity, and becomes the seedbed of future wars. The war in Gaza, the war in Ukraine, and the many wars around the world, must cease now.

In the name of God, in the name of humanity, let there be an end to war now. In these words, we are re-echoing the words of Pope Paul VI when he addressed the United Nations.

In the name of the Child of Bethlehem, in the name of Jesus, let there be peace.

Tim Hazelwood 087-1337164; Roy Donovan 087-2225150;

Gerry O’Connor 087-2320295; Tony Flannery 087-6814699.