As the war wages on in Ukraine, European Bishops are asking when the madness of war will end, calling on Russia to suspend the hostilities and encouraging all parties to work toward a solution.
The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) on Wednesday made these appeals In a statement issued on Thursday in the context of recent events in Ukraine and Poland.
The text was produced by the COMECE Commission on the External Relations of the EU, chaired by Lithuanian Bishop Rimantas Norvila, as the European Bishops convened for their second annual meeting.
“We express our deep concern over the latest developments in Ukraine and Poland. Since the beginning of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, the entire world has been holding its breath, fearing a major global conflict.”
While recognizing that the episode is still being investigated, they recalled that the incident that occurred Tuesday evening on the Polish territory at the border with Ukraine "is yet another reminder of how this war bears the risk of uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences for the whole humanity."
Prayers for all victims and all suffering
"Following recent Russia’s brutal attacks on cities and civilian infrastructures in Ukraine – in blatant breach of international law - and the incident in Poland," they said, "we wish to offer our prayers to the victims and condolences to their families."
They also expressed their closeness to the people in Ukraine left without access to basic services, including water and electricity.
“We ask: what else must happen so that finally an end is put to this ‘madness of war’?”
Appeal for De-escalation
The EU's bishops made a series of appeals for peace: "We urge all parties to vigorously work towards de-escalation, and on the European Union, in particular, to step up its diplomatic efforts and continue its active engagement for halting this spiral of violence."
Need for 'serious proposals'
The Bishops expressed their support of the numerous appeals made by Pope Francis, the Holy See, and the people of good will across the world.
They also repeated their call "to Russian authorities immediately to suspend the hostilities, and to all parties to open themselves up, with the help of the international community, to negotiation of ‘serious proposals’ for a just peace, to work towards a solution to the conflict, which respects international law and the territorial integrity of Ukraine."