Vatican City, March 18, 2022 / 05:58 (CNA).
The suffering of Ukrainian women and children during the war should stir our consciences, Pope Francis has told European bishops.
“The tragedy of the war unfolding in the heart of Europe amazes us; we never thought we would see such scenes, reminiscent of the great wars of the last century,” he said in a letter published on March 18.
Pope Francis’ message was sent to the 3rd European Catholic Social Days, taking place in Bratislava, Slovakia, March 17-20.
The letter, dated March 15, was addressed to Bishop Gintaras Grušas of Vilnius, Lithuania, president of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE).
“The blood and tears of children, the suffering of women and men defending their land or fleeing bombs shake our conscience,” Pope Francis said.
“Once again, humanity is threatened by a perverse abuse of power and partisan interests, which condemns the defenseless to all forms of brutal violence.”
He continues: “The piercing cry for help from our Ukrainian brothers and sisters urges us, as a community of believers, not only to reflect seriously, but to cry with them and to do something for them; to share the anguish of a people whose identity, history and tradition have been wounded.
The pope thanked the European bishops for sending aid to the Ukrainian people, as well as their hospitality towards the Ukrainian refugees.
Francis said: “Let us not tire of this and do not cease to invoke the peace of God and of men. I therefore urge you to continue to pray that those who hold the fate of nations will spare no effort to stop the war and open a constructive dialogue to end the immense humanitarian tragedy it causes.
One of the guest speakers at the 2022 European Catholic Social Days is Cardinal Michael Czerny, who traveled to Ukraine’s border with Slovakia on March 16 as an envoy of Pope Francis.
Among the guests is also Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, President of the Commission of Episcopal Conferences of the EU (COMECE).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the four-day meeting has been limited to 150 participants, while others are encouraged to follow the events online.
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