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War in Ukraine, European Bishops call for peace: COMECE appeal

The conflict in Ukraine is experiencing a moment of military escalation that is perhaps unprecedented: Russian troops are massing in Belarus, Ukrainian troops are advancing in the east of the country

Weapons are making their voices heard loudly, leaders on both sides are increasingly talking about a widening of the conflict and open confrontation.

In all of this, religious leaders, especially Catholics, are trying to bring the word peace back to the centre of the diplomatic table, and to re-emerge love into hearts harbouring hatred and resentment.

A laudable intent that must be supported and propagated.

From COMECE an appeal for peace in Ukraine and Europe

We publish below the text of the Declaration of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE).

A heartfelt appeal for peace in Ukraine and in Europe as a whole

“Direct our steps in the way of peace” (Lk. 1:79)

We, the delegated Bishops of the European Union Bishops’ Conferences, gathered during the Autumn Plenary Assembly, are filled with deep sadness at the horrible human suffering inflicted on our brothers and sisters in Ukraine by the brutal military aggression of the Russian political authorities.

We remember the victims in our prayers and express our sincerest sympathy to their families.

We feel equally close to the millions of refugees, mostly women and children, who have been forced to leave their homes, as well as to all those who suffer in Ukraine and neighbouring countries from the “madness of war”.

We are deeply concerned about recent actions that increase the risk of further expansion of the ongoing conflict, with all its uncontrollable and disastrous consequences for humanity.

The war in Ukraine also directly affects us as citizens of the European Union.

Our thoughts go out to all those who find themselves in increasingly dramatic socio-economic difficulties, due to the energy emergency, rising inflation and the soaring cost of living.

Especially in times of crisis like these, we realise once again that the European Union is a valuable reality, according to its original inspiration.

We are grateful for the tireless efforts of European policy makers in showing solidarity with Ukraine and mitigating the consequences of the war for European citizens, and we strongly encourage leaders to maintain their unity and determination for the European project.

In full communion with the numerous appeals made by Pope Francis and the Holy See, we too strongly appeal to those responsible for the aggression to immediately cease hostilities, and to all parties to be open to ‘serious proposals’ for a just peace, with a view to a sustainable solution to the conflict in full respect of international law and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Through the intercession of Mary, Queen of Peace, we pray the Lord to ‘enlighten those who stand in darkness and in the shadow of death and direct our steps on the path of peace’.

Approved by

Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich sj, Archbishop of Luxembourg, President

H.E. Msgr. Mariano Crociata, Bishop of Latina (Italy), First Vice President

H.E. Msgr. Franz-Josef Overbeck, Bishop of Essen (Germany), Vice-President

H.E. Msgr. Noël Treanor, Bishop of Down & Connor (Ireland), Vice-president

H.E. Msgr. Jan Vokál, Bishop of Hradec Králové (Czech Republic), Vice-president

H.E. Msgr. Lode Aerts, Bishop of Bruges (Belgium)

H.E. Msgr. D. Nuno Brás da Silva Martins, Bishop of Funchal (Portugal)

H.E. Msgr. Joseph Galea-Curmi, Auxiliary Bishop of Malta

H.E. Mgr. Antoine Hérouard, Archbishop of Dijon (France)

H.E. Mgr. Theodorus C.M. Hoogenboom, Auxiliary Bishop of Utrecht (Netherlands)

H.E. Msgr. Vjekoslav Huzjak, Bishop of Bjelovar-Križevci (Croatia)

H.E. Msgr. Anton Jamnik, Auxiliary Bishop of Ljubljana (Slovenia)

H.E. Msgr. Czeslaw Kozon, Bishop of Copenhagen (Scandinavia)

H.E. Msgr. Andris Kravalis, Auxiliary Bishop of Riga (Latvia)

H.E. Msgr. Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, Auxiliary Bishop of Madrid (Spain)

H.E. Msgr. Gábor Mohos, Auxiliary Bishop of Esztergom-Budapest (Hungary)

H.E. Msgr. Rimantas Norvila, Bishop of Vilkaviškis (Lithuania)

H.E. Msgr. Selim Sfeir, Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

H.E. Msgr. Janusz Bogusław Stepnowski, Bishop of Łomża (Poland)

H.E. Msgr. Ägidius J. Zsifkovics, Bishop of Eisenstadt (Austria)

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