Spokesman for Russian Catholic bishops: ‘There is no foreseeable solution’ to Ukraine war

By Ana Paula Morales for CNA


null / Credit: Vlad Vasnetsov/pixabay

ACI Prensa Staff, Feb 27, 2023 / 13:15 pm (CNA).

Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Father Kirill Gorbunov, who is also vicar general of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of the Mother of God at Moscow, said that “the majority of the people are suffering” and that “after a year of war [with Ukraine], there is no foreseeable solution.”

“It seems that the only proposed solution is to make the conflict even worse,” he lamented.

According to the priest, those who come to him “in search of spiritual guidance speak of fear of an uncertain future, disillusionment and anger towards those they believe to be responsible for the current situation; sometimes also towards God and the Church.”

In addition, he said that there is “suffering because of conflicts between colleagues, friends, and relatives due to different political points of view.”

Gorbunov noted that “there are very many Russian-Ukrainian mixed families, even more so in the Catholic Church, and in many of them people have found themselves on opposite sides of the front.”

“This causes a lot of suffering,” he stressed.

The priest also explained that the generation of Russians who grew up when the Soviet Union, which was dismantled in the 1990s, still existed “in general tends to feel absolutely powerless in the face of the State and doesn’t believe that any type of social action can contribute to a peaceful solution.”

Fasting and prayer for peace

Gorbunov stressed that the bishops “have invited our faithful to pray and fast for peace.”

“We continue to include petitions for an end to the violence and the restoration of peace in the prayers of the faithful. Some prayer groups are also doing special prayers for this intention,” he noted.

The spokesman for the Russian Roman Catholic archdiocese also recognized the importance of Pope Francis’ consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 2022.

“We are very grateful to the Holy Father for the consecration. This act has sent a very powerful message that in the eyes of God and Mary we are equally their children.”

“Pope Francis’ insistence that the conflict can only be resolved through dialogue and not military power gives us great hope,” he added.

Gorbunov explained that “Catholics are a small minority in Russia, less than 1%,” which limits the Church’s ability to respond to the drama of war.

However, “our parishes, especially in southern Russia, are trying to find a way to help everyone who comes to us and asks for help.”

The spokesman for the Russian Roman Catholic bishops also expressed his “deep gratitude to people around the world, especially Catholics, of course, who feel the need to pray for the people of Russia, understanding that lasting peace can only be achieved through the conversion of hearts and not by force.”

“It seems very disheartening that 2,000 years after the birth and resurrection of Christ, people who profess to be Christians can find no other way to resolve political tensions than by killing each other,” he said.

“Pope Francis reminds us that, as Catholics, we are called to be ‘peacemakers,’ people who strive to master the ability to unite people and help them resolve conflicts through the conversion of hearts,” the priest noted.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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  1. Tolstoy titled his great work War and Peace from Qoheleth. A time for all things. The Soviet Russian 1966 film version directed and co-written by Sergei Fyodorovich Bondarchuk was unusual for atheist USSR. Bondarchuk filmed a masterpiece, significant, the blessing of the Army by Orthodox priests as the Army marched toward Borodino, banners of imperial Russia, iconic tapestries of our Blessed Mother, Christ, the saints. What will save us from nuclear war? Father Kirill Gorbunov, “there’s no foreseeable solution.” Myopic US generals, engineered by training and disposition to win wars, not negotiate, shout for more weapons, defeat Russia. Politicians, no longer pragmatists vie for votes rather than just peace.
    Pope Francis has this one right, there must be a negotiated compromise for ending this no end no win death spiral. Russia, the remaining Christian European nation [with Hungary, Poland] vilified as the demon by an abortionist, homosexualist, atheistic West must be crushed. Putin replaced. Regime change, the most morally bankrupt, disastrous policy ever, still popular.
    What will save us? War the penalty for immoral excess. A demon that may exorcised only by prayer and fasting.

  2. Additionally, the Ukrainian people were attacked and have fought bravely. Russia has a history of treating Ukraine similar to a third world colony. Unfortunately, while their cause is just, Ukrainians seem to be the instrument of outside ideological interests rather than what is in the best interests of the people.

  3. I’m in partial agreement with Father Morello, though I don’t see this war as an unjust Russian “aggression.” Two main points: (1) the current Kiev regime has its proximate roots in a US backed coup which overthrew the constitutionally elected President Yanukovich for the “crime” of wanting to tilt away from the West and have friendly relations with Russia. This signaled to the world that the US does not want an independent Ukraine (2) Ukraine violated the Minsk accords through its shelling of the Donbass republics (15,000 killed), a shelling that was redoubled in the months leading up to the invasion, (and was ready to be backed by a full fledged Ukrainian invasion of the Donbass.) The Donbass republics, composed largely of Russian ethnics, appealed for help from Russia. Putin then recognized the republics and the rest is a bloody history–mainly for the Ukrainians.

    I agree with Father Morello about War and Peace–magnificent film and like him I was surprised at Soviets allowing such open displays of Russian piety–especially the beautiful Virgin of Smolensk.

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