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Cardinal Pierbattista PizzaballaX screenshot

Help Christians who escaped Gaza: LifeFunder

(LifeSiteNews) — Rumored papabili Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa toured war-torn Gaza earlier this month, calling on political leaders to bring the “nightmare” conflict to an immediate end.

“I want to send a clear message to decision-makers. Enough killing! The war must end, and avenues for various aid must be opened to avoid an imminent humanitarian crisis,” His Eminence said in a press release Monday.

As reported by LifeSite, the ethnic cleansing being carried out by the Israeli military against Palestinians has resulted in more than 30,000 deaths, including many Christians and children.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently escalated the situation by striking the city of Rafah, which has reportedly caused hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee.

Pizzaballa has served as the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem since 2020. He was made a cardinal in September 2023, mere weeks before the conflict broke out. His multi-day visit began May 15 and lasted until May 19.

In his statement, Pizzaballa remarked that the “scale of the destruction I witnessed is unbelievable, and the poor living conditions, such as the lack of water and electricity and the absence of security, are dire.”

“The places I was somewhat familiar with are unrecognizable. It is very difficult to find an intact house. We traveled in silence,” he also said during a recent press conference.

Just 58, Pizzaballa has emerged as a possible leading contender at the next conclave, according to journalist Edward Pentin. He is viewed as a “moderate” with less baggage than certain potential candidates. At the same time, Pizzaballa has expressed support for many of Francis’ most controversial documents, including his heterodox Abu Dhabi declaration, Laudato Si, and Fratelli Tutti.

Pizzaballa garnered international headlines when he offered himself in exchange for children being held captive in Gaza by Hamas in October. He has repeatedly called for peace in the region, though has noted that “only by ending decades of (Israeli) occupation” will a “serious” peace process begin.

On Monday, he said that he was impressed by the “steadfast faith” and “optimism” of Palestinian Christians amid the fighting.

“They told me, ‘We will stay here. As long as the church stands with us, we are not afraid.’ I was really impressed by their attitude.”

Help Christians who escaped Gaza: LifeFunder