Ukraine situation is a great danger for Europe, bishops say


Eastern Europe


A Ukrainian Military Forces serviceman checks his weapon as he stands in a trench on the frontline with the Russia-backed separatists near Zolote village, in the eastern Lugansk region, on 21 January. Photo AFP, Anatolii Stepanov

The present situation around Ukraine is a "great danger" for Central and Eastern Europe and the entire European continent. It can "destroy" order and unity in Europe.

The bishops of Poland and Ukraine say so in a joint appeal to seek dialogue and understanding to avert the danger of military action, the Austrian Catholic website Katholische Nachrichten writes.

The church leaders note with concern that the recent series of talks between Russia and the West has not resulted in an agreement and blame it on the former. "In their speeches, leaders of many countries point to Russia's increasing pressure on Ukraine, with massive armaments and troops massing on its border. The occupation of the Donbas and Crimea has shown that the Russian Federation, in its violation of Ukraine's national sovereignty and territorial integrity, disregards the binding rules of international law," the appeal says.

False ideologies

The authors of the appeal point out that "the search for alternatives to war" in resolving international conflicts has become an "urgent necessity" today, as the terrifying power of the means of destruction is now in the hands of even medium and small powers. According to them, the "ever-stronger ties between peoples across the globe" make it "difficult, if not virtually impossible", to limit the impact of conflict.

The bishops recall that the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century brought the world the tragic experience of wars and political terror while disregarding the authority of God. "In the name of false ideologies, whole peoples were condemned to extermination, respect for human dignity was violated, and the essence of the exercise of political power was reduced to violence alone. Today, too, we want to make it clear that every war is a tragedy and can never be an appropriate means of solving international problems."


Pope Francis is also profoundly concerned about the situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border. "I follow with concern the growing tensions that threaten to deal a new blow to peace in Ukraine and endanger the security of the European continent", the church father said at the Angelus prayer on Sunday. "Those who pursue their own goals to the detriment of others disregard their own destiny as human beings, for we are all created as brothers."

Francis recommended people of good will to pray for peace. Therefore, with concern given the current tensions, I propose that next Wednesday, 26 January, be made a day of prayer for peace."



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