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Church Official in Jerusalem Offers to Exchange Himself for Child Hostages Held by Hamas

Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the patriarch of the Catholic Church in Jerusalem, said in a Monday interview that he is willing to exchange himself for the children held hostage by Hamas.
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The following article, Church Official in Jerusalem Offers to Exchange Himself for Child Hostages Held by Hamas, was first published on Flag And Cross.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends,” John 15:13 proclaims.

During a video conference interview on Monday, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Patriarch of Jerusalem and Pope Francis’ representative in the Holy Land, said that he was willing to exchange himself for the hostages in Gaza, according to Reuters.

“I am ready for an exchange, anything, if this can lead to freedom, to bring the children home. No problem. There is total willingness on my part,” he said.

“The first thing to do is to try to win the release of the hostages, otherwise there will be no way of stopping (an escalation),” the cardinal said.

“We are willing to help, even me personally,” he added, although he admitted, “You can’t talk to Hamas. It is very difficult.”

Although Hamas is very unlikely to take him up on his offer, the desire of the cardinal to do whatever it takes to rescue the children, demonstrates the stark contrast between a faith that is rooted in love versus those who will willingly destroy innocent lives under cover of religious zeal.

Unfortunately, hate is easier to rile up, as we have seen in the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish protests even here in our own country. These events underscore the unfortunate reality that it is often easier to incite hatred than to promote understanding and love.

The joy at the killing of 1,300 people just going along with their lives and taking nearly 200 hostages, about a dozen of them children, is horrifying.

Christian history is complicated, and we have not always done what our faith would require us to do.

While the story of Corrie Ten Boom is widely published as an example of Christian love, countless others chose to be silent while approximately six million Jews were exterminated in the holocaust.

As we reflect on these historical complexities, we are left with important questions: Will the Church and Christians, as a whole, respond differently if faced with similar challenges today? Will they stand up for their Jewish brothers and sisters, even if it comes at a personal cost?

The cardinal’s commitment, following the example of Christ’s willingness to lay down his life, offers a glimmer of hope.

It reminds us that, in the face of adversity and testing times, there is an opportunity for selfless love to overcome hate.

The world waits to see if the church and its followers will rise to the occasion when called upon to make such sacrifices in the name of peace and humanity.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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