Pope Francis had harsh words about the situation in the Holy Land, after two Christian women, a mother and daughter, were killed December 16 at the Catholic parish in Gaza.
After praying the midday Angelus this December 17, the Pope said:
I continue receiving very serious and sad news about Gaza. Unarmed civilians are targets for bombs and gunfire. And this has happened even within the parish complex of the Holy Family, where there are no terrorists, but families, children, people who are sick and have disabilities, sisters. A mother and her daughter, Mrs. Nahida Khalil Anton and her daughter Samar Kamal Anton, were killed, and other people were wounded by the shooters while they were going to the bathroom… The house of the Sisters of Mother Teresa was damaged; their generator was hit.
Some are saying, “This is terrorism and war.” Yes, it is war, it is terrorism. That is why Scripture says that “God puts an end to war … the bow he breaks and the spear he snaps” (cf. Ps 46:9). Let us pray to the Lord for peace.
The news about the death of the mother and daughter came from a December 16 statement from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
The statement explains that the Missionary of Charity convent “is home to over 54 disabled persons.” Now the home is “uninhabitable” and the electricity and fuel sources destroyed. “The 54 disabled persons are currently displaced and without access to the respirators that some of them need to survive.”
“Furthermore, solar panels and water tanks, which are indispensable for the survival of the community, were destroyed,” the statement adds.
During his post-Angelus remarks, the Pope also followed the tradition of Bambinelli Sunday, where children bring the Baby Jesus figurines to St. Peter’s Square for the Pope’s blessing. He made the blessing a request for prayer for children in war-torn areas.
“In blessing your Bambinelli, I ask that you pray before the Nativity scene for children who will experience a difficult Christmas in places where there is war, in refugee camps, in situations of profound misery. Thank you for doing this, and Merry Christmas to all of you and your families,” the Pope said.