Bischof Dr. Michael Gerber, Fulda, Germany •
We are deeply moved by the news we are currently receiving hourly from Eastern Europe, especially from Ukraine. Our solidarity goes out to those who are directly affected by the war, to those who have lost loved ones, to the injured, traumatized, to those who are on the run and face the ruins of their existence. —
Against the backdrop of many years of friendly ties with the Church in Ukraine, especially with the diocese of Ivano-Frankivsk, very concrete descriptions of the dramas that are currently unfolding in the country are reaching us these days. Many people in this country who come from Ukraine are very worried about their relatives. The department “Universal Church” under the direction of Auxiliary Bishop Diez and Caritas in the Diocese of Fulda have already taken measures to be able to provide effective help on site in the country.
At the same time, our sympathy also goes out to the people in Russia whose relatives were sent to a senseless war or who are working for peace and understanding at the cost of great personal disadvantages.
A blatant breach of international law
It is the task of us Christians to live solidarity with the suffering people on both sides of the front. The dignity of the human being applies absolutely and independently of which people someone belongs to. Every people has the right to freely choose its government and to decide for itself what partnerships and alliances into which it will enter. Against this background, the Russian invasion, the invasion of Ukraine is a blatant breach of international law and deeply contradicts the values of Christianity.
In the Christian view of man, freedom is linked to responsibility. This responsibility is particularly evident in the way in which the freedom of others is protected and promoted.
Turn of the times
The current situation leaves the impression that we are standing at a turning point. Which forces will prevail on our globe in the medium and long term? Is it those who, uninhibited, want to assert their power and thus their ideas to the extreme? We must critically observe which political forces in which countries are currently showing understanding for the Russian invasion and in what way. Will, on the other hand, those political forces be able to assert themselves that seek a solution in discourse, in respect for human dignity and the legal norms that can be derived from it?
According to Christian conviction, power is understood as responsibility before God and man. In this way, it provides the opportunity to shape the future. But it shows its true greatness in the self-restraint of the powerful, in the willingness to have one’s own position critically questioned. That is why political and social discourse is necessary, especially in the dynamic events of these days. What is required is the constant search for alternative solutions that can contribute to de-escalation and peace.
In prayer we will therefore especially accompany our politicians who must make very difficult decisions. Because of the complexity, the consequences of these decisions are by no means foreseeable in every respect. And yet decisions must be made.
As humanity, we are challenged anew in our commitment to human dignity and justice. At the same time, we can trust that our lives and the path of humanity are in the hands of the one who once revealed himself to the people of Israel as the “Prince of Peace” and who, in Jesus Christ, calls us to make peace.
Source: www.bistum-fulda.de., press release