ColumnistsEditorial staff

Invasion of Ukraine, nine months

With the war in Ukraine in the background, Advent emerges as a privileged time to seek the light of peace in all areas. 

December 2, 2022-Reading time: 2 minutes

In the nine months since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the war and the destruction, human and material, have confirmed and increased the reasons for revulsion expressed at that time. The war is becoming a nightmare for many people on both sides, especially among the Ukrainians, on whose territory it is disputed.

Pope Francis has followed events closely, from the perspective of father and pastor characteristic of his mission. His steps and decisions in this context have shown a clear commitment to the cause of peace and justice; and his pronouncements and gestures have been clear, courageous and measured.

On the one hand, he is omitting no effort to promote peace, employing a wide variety of diplomatic initiatives, including countless appeals for sanity. At the same time, he has shown countless times his fatherly closeness to those who suffer and his desire to accompany them; thus, has sent special representatives on several occasions. Nor did he hesitate to condemn with great clarity this "sacrilegious massacre", as he called it. At the same time, he has avoided closing doors, creating new enmities, provoking conflicts with Russian Orthodox representatives, damaging what can be saved or occupying positions that do not correspond to him.

Exactly nine months later, on November 24, 2009, the Holy Father has written a letter to the Ukrainian people where he again regrets "so much destruction and suffering". The touching letter represents a significant terminological intensification. 

The pain of the Ukrainians is his own pain, and he carries them every day in his heart and in prayer, the Pope affirms. In addition to expressing a human feeling, their solidarity has a religious meaning: "In the cross of Jesus I see you today, you who suffer the terror provoked by this aggression. Yes, the cross that tortured the Lord lives again in the tortures found on the corpses, in the mass graves discovered in various cities, in those and in so many other bloody images that have entered the soul.". Lists and recalls with "affection and admiration" to the children who suffer or die; to the mothers and wives; to the young, the elderly, the wounded in body or spirit; to the volunteers, shepherds, refugees and displaced persons, to the authorities. It describes the behavior of the Ukrainian people as "bold" y "strong", "noble" y "martyr". Pope encourages Ukrainians to "return to Bethlehem". For that Holy Family the night, which seemed cold and dark, was illuminated by a light not from men, but from God. 

Not only UkraineThe whole world, including each one of us, needs this light, and Advent invites us to seek it. It is a useful guideline that the Holy Father offers when he encourages Ukrainians to turn to the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, so that she may fulfill her promises of peace. "just expectations of your hearts, heal your wounds and give you his consolation."and give them the gift of peace.

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