As the United States and its NATO allies consider how best to respond to Russia’s massive buildup of military forces and equipment along its border with Ukraine, the chairman of the international policy of the American bishops urged all parties to seek peace.
“With the alarming situation in Ukraine, we call on all leaders to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine and to engage in constructive dialogue to peacefully resolve this conflict which affects the lives and livelihoods of 43 million Ukrainians,” said Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois.
The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops‘ Committee on International Justice and Peace made the comments in a Jan. 25 statement.
He noted that Pope Francis had proclaimed January 26 a day of prayer for peace in Ukraine “in view of the growing concerns about the situation in this country and in Europe in general.”
Expressing concern for Ukraine and how a possible Russian-Ukrainian conflict could spread, the pope announced the day of prayer after reciting the Angelus prayer on Jan. 23.
“I follow with concern the rise in tensions which threatens to deal a new blow to peace in Ukraine and to jeopardize the security of the European continent, with even wider repercussions,” Pope Francis said.
In his statement, Bishop Malloy urged Catholics and all people of good will to “join the Holy Father, who in his 2022 address to the diplomatic corps said: “The mutual trust and willingness to engage a calm discussion should inspire all parties involved, so that acceptable and lasting solutions can be found in Ukraine.’”
Bishop Malloy said the Catholic Bishops of Ukraine and Poland issued an appeal on January 24 for government leaders to “refrain from war and ‘immediately withdraw ultimatums’.” They called on “the international community to unite its efforts of solidarity and actively support those under threat in every way possible”.
“In this time of fear and uncertainty, we stand in solidarity with the church in Ukraine and offer our support,” the Illinois Bishop added. “We call on all the faithful and people of good will to pray for the people of Ukraine, especially on January 26, so that they may experience the blessings of peace.”
In a Jan. 25 interview with the Rome office of the Catholic News Service, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, Ukraine, a major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, said his people are scared.
“People are overwhelmed with great fear, and that’s normal in the face of such danger,” as Russia continues to deploy troops all along the Ukrainian border and the United States and other countries in NATO are warning troops of a possible deployment, he said. .
At the same time, the Archbishop said, “As Christians, we have hope for the victory of good over evil. We pray especially for those who want to harm our people, that the Lord will divert their evil intentions and guide them on the path of peace.
The Archbishop, his faithful and all Ukrainians, he said, are grateful to Pope Francis for declaring a day of prayer for peace in Ukraine and for the pontiff’s constant prayers for an end to the fighting that has started in 2014 between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainians. forces in eastern Ukraine.
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