Archbishop Pizzaballa said 'wars and the way of force have not been able to bring peace and justice'

In his first pre-Christmas address, the new top Catholic cleric in the Holy Land has decried the destruction in Syria and Iraq.

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa said on Monday that “Syria and Iraq are destroyed” and the plight of the region’s Christians is tragic. He bemoaned how “wars and the way of force have not been able to bring peace and justice, [they have] only brought more violence, death and destruction.”

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (CNS)

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (CNS)

Archbishop Pizzaballa took office earlier this year as the apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate, the temporary chief clergyman to the local Catholic population. As caretaker of Jerusalem’s Latin Patriarchate, he has made his main task promoting dialogue among Christians in the Holy Land – and between Christians and others.

The Italian-born Archbishop Pizzaballa, a Franciscan priest, replaced longtime patriarch Fouad Twal earlier this year.