WASHINGTON – As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace offered the following statement:
“On February 24, the world watched in horror as Russia launched airstrikes and began shelling Ukraine. The death toll is already in the hundreds if not thousands and mounting. Over one million Ukrainians have already fled the fighting into neighboring European countries and millions more could become refugees.
“In this time of crisis, we echo the appeal by Pope Francis to those ‘with political responsibility to examine their consciences seriously before God, who is the God of peace and not of war…who wants us to be brothers and not enemies.’ We join with the Holy Father in praying that ‘all the parties involved refrain from any action that would cause even more suffering to the people, destabilizing coexistence between nations and bringing international law into disrepute.’ We also join in solidarity with the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches and the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the U.S. who are all united in prayer for their people and their homeland.
“In view of the developing humanitarian crisis, I urge the U.S. government to provide all possible assistance to the people of Ukraine and to work closely with faith-based partners who are already on the ground providing emergency aid. I encourage everyone to give generously to organizations such as Catholic Relief Services and USCCB’s Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe that are bringing tangible relief and the hope of Christ to those in need.
“Those suffering in Ukraine and in the surrounding region will remain close in our hearts through this conflict. During this penitential season of Lent, with Our Lady of Fatima as our guide, let us not grow weary in praying for peace, justice, and the salvation of the whole world.”