WASHINGTON – Tensions are mounting as the United States and its NATO allies consider how best to respond to the massive build-up of Russian military forces and equipment on the border of Ukraine. In the face of these increased tensions, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace issued the following statement:
“With the alarming situation in Ukraine, we appeal to all leaders to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine and to engage in constructive dialogue to peacefully resolve this conflict that impacts the lives and livelihoods of 43 million Ukrainians.
“In remarks following his January 23 Angelus, Pope Francis asked that January 26 be a day of prayer for Ukraine given the growing concerns over the situation in that country and in Europe in general, saying, ‘I make a heartfelt appeal to all people of good will to raise prayers to Almighty God that all political actions and initiatives may be at the service of human brotherhood…’ Earlier, the Holy Father had expressed concerns about Ukraine and the hope ‘that the tensions it is experiencing may be resolved through serious international dialogue and not with weapons.’
“Let us join with the Holy Father who, in his 2022 address to the diplomatic corps, said, ‘Reciprocal trust and readiness to engage in calm discussion should inspire all parties at stake, so that acceptable and lasting solutions can be found in Ukraine…’
“The Catholic bishops of Ukraine and Poland issued an appeal on January 24 that leaders refrain from war and ‘withdraw ultimatums immediately.’ They called on ‘the international community to join efforts in solidarity and actively support those under threat in all possible ways.’
“In this time of fear and uncertainty, we stand in solidarity with the Church in Ukraine and offer our support. We call on all the faithful and people of good will to pray for the people of Ukraine, especially on January 26, that they may know the blessings of peace.”
SOURCE United States Conference of Catholic Bishops