DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > A statement on the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict: The ideal of peace and non-violence

A statement on the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict: The ideal of peace and non-violence


St. Vincent Circle
​I​'m told a poet on a television show said that: “Our human heritage is not just to abide in this beautiful world but to understand it." Understanding our world also is an essential part of our Vincentian heritage. Our human responsibility is to continually uphold and strengthen our mutual understanding, the respect of human rights and the protection of justice at all levels so that nonviolence and peace prevail in our coexistence and in the resolution of our conflicts. 

In times of social and political polarization and extreme positions, understanding our reality is becoming more and more challenging.  As I write this message, I feel the grief and anxiety that comes from observing the growing number of victims of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, the new escalating violence, and the heartbreaking suffering of so many in the past days.  Our pressure to act and to not stay quiet comes especially from our students and alumni affected personally with family and friends living in fear, affected directly by the bombing, suffering and dying.

Our DePaul community is rightly asking where do we stand institutionally on what is happening.  As you can imagine we had to pray and to discern on the challenges of making a public statement.  Neutrality is not a safe place today.  Taking a stand is not a safe place either, and we understand that.

When I was very young living in the most violent country on earth at that time, I had to learn to stand and to take a position.  In my encounter with many members of the Vincentian Family all around the world, I became aware that, as a Vincentian, I was never standing alone.  In the Vincentian Spirit in which DePaul University is grounded, we stand by the victims.  We stand by the victims of injustice and the victims of violence.  We stand against the perpetrators of violence and systemic injustice that extinguish lives.

From my perspective, this is the strongest position that people of faith in all traditions can take.  We, who believe in God, cannot condone violence, systemic injustice or political crimes.  We cannot stand by those who personally, politically and economically benefit from violent conflicts in which the innocent pay with their lives, homes, and basic stability and rights.

Following the words of Cardinal Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, we reaffirm the Palestinians' right to statehood, unviolated territorial integrity, and safety; Israel's right to a secure existence; and Jews', Christians', and Muslims' fundamental religious right to access safely the holy sites of their respective traditions in Jerusalem, the City of Peace. “All of these rights depend on a mutual commitment to justice.  Violent conflict will not advance these rights, but rather it threatens any chance of lasting peace, without which there can be no authentic human flourishing."[1]

Pope Francis this week invited the world to pray in solidarity and communion.  He personally prayed for the end of violence and for peace.  We pray for this too, and invite you to join us in prayer, understanding and solidarity.  I ask you to especially pray for all members of the DePaul community directly affected by this conflict.

To all our students, faculty and staff feeling exhaustion, fear, anger and sadness, please reach out to all the places at DePaul where you can process, be heard and receive support.  We feel called to allow you to be where you are, to acknowledge and respect your emotions, while creating spaces in which we all are encouraged to talk with one another, to expand our understanding, and to incorporate new perspectives, as we are open to listen in a space where words are said with respect and without hatred, even when we profoundly disagree.  May peace, nonviolence and justice prevail always.    

[1] Cardinal Cupich full statement.