Ukrainians are defending their own land: Pope Francis on the war in Ukraine

Sunday, 20 March 2022, 16:21
On March 18, Pope Francis’ letter to the President of the European Council of Bishops' Conferences, Bishop Gintaras Grushas, Archbishop of Vilnius, was published, marking the start of “Catholic Social Days” in Bratislava. Writing about the war in Ukraine, Pope Francis stressed that Ukrainians "are defending their own land" and called for "sharing the suffering of a people whose identity, history and traditions have been wounded."

In his letter, Pope Francis noted that “the tragedy of the war in Ukraine, which is unfolding in the heart of Europe, leaves us speechless; we would never have thought we would see something like this, which reminds us of the great military conflicts of the last century." He also called on the international community to show solidarity with their "Ukrainian brothers… to share the suffering of the people, whose identity, history and traditions have been wounded." He continued: "The blood and tears of children, the suffering of women and men defending their land or fleeing bombs, shakes our consciences. Mankind is once again threatened with abuse of power and self-interest, which condemns defenseless people to all forms of brutal violence," the Pope wrote.

The Holy Father thanked the representatives of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe for "a quick and unanimous response in providing assistance to the Ukrainian population, which includes material assistance, reception and hospitality." He continued: "Let us not tire of these actions, and let us not stop calling on God and people for peace," the Bishop of Rome urged. The Pope also called for prayer, "that those who hold the destinies of countries in their hands, do their utmost to end the war and start a constructive dialogue, to put an end to the enormous humanitarian tragedy it is causing."

In the context of the war in Ukraine, Pope Francis also stressed the need to rethink the style and effectiveness of modern international politics. The Pope is convinced that "war makes the world worse" and is a "failure of politics and humanity, a shameful capitulation, a defeat against the forces of evil," but he hopes that the war will provoke another reaction, that of "restoring the architecture of peace on a global level, where a major role is played out by a European house, built to guarantee peace following the World Wars.”

The Holy Father also stressed that the unity of European peoples does not mean "monotony," but even greater "unity in diversity." For Christians, rebuilding a common home means "becoming builders of communion, weavers of unity at all levels: not according to a strategy, but according to the Gospel." He continued: "In other words, we must first start at the heart of the Gospel: Jesus Christ and His salvific love. This is always a new message that must be brought to the world, first of all through the testimony of life, which reveals the beauty of the encounter with God and love of neighbor," the Pope wrote.


Secretariat of the Head of the UGCC in Rome



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