European Bishops: Russian Aggression Poses ‘Real Threat’ to World Peace

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visit an military exhibition after attending an extended meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry Board at the National Defense Control Center in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021. The Russian president on Tuesday reiterated the demand for guarantees from …
Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

ROME — The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) issued an appeal Friday urging support for Ukraine under the threat of Russian military aggression.

Representing the Catholic Church in forty-five countries in the European continent, CCEE President Archbishop Gintaras Grušas of Vilnius, Lithuania, described the tension around Ukraine as “dramatic” while also expressing the closeness of the European bishops to “the Churches in Ukraine and to all its people.”

In the statement, the bishops urged the international community to offer its support to Ukraine “in the face of the danger of a Russian military offensive.”

President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in Downing Street , London, to sign a strategic partnership deal with the president in the face of Russia's "destabilising behaviour" towards the country. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 8, 2020. The meeting with Mr Johnson is part of a two-day visit by Mr Zelenskyy to the UK which has included a tour of the Prince of Wales aircraft carrier in Portsmouth. See PA story POLITICS Ukraine. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in Downing Street , London, to sign a strategic partnership deal with the president in the face of Russia’s “destabilising behaviour” towards the country (Aaron Chown/PA Wire).

The actions of the Russian military forces have been universally understood as “a real threat to peace throughout the world,” Archbishop Grušas declared, adding that in this time of fear and uncertainty for the future of the country, the bishops embrace “our brothers and sisters in the faith and all the people of Ukraine.”

Citing Pope Francis, the bishops also appealed for a resolution to the crisis through “serious dialogue and not with arms.”

“Reciprocal trust and readiness to engage in calm discussion should also inspire all parties at stake, so that acceptable and lasting solutions can be found in Ukraine,” the pontiff told members of the Diplomatic Corps on January 1.

Pope Francis celebrates Mass on the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. (Remo Casilli/Pool via AP)

Remo Casilli/Pool via AP

The bishops encouraged world leaders not to forget “the tragic World Wars of the last century” so that “international law as well as the independence and territorial sovereignty of each country will be defended.”

“At this extremely delicate time, we ask Christians to pray for the gift of peace in Ukraine so that those responsible may be filled with, and radiate, a peace that is ‘contagious’ and that the crisis will be overcome exclusively through dialogue,” the statement concludes.

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