“I have great sorrow in my heart at the worsening situation in Ukraine”, the Holy Father said after the General Audience on Wednesday, 23 February, as he appealed to all those who have political responsibilities to seriously examine their consciences before God. The Pope also called on everyone, including non-believers, to take part in a day of fasting for peace on 2 March, Ash Wednesday. The following is a translation of the Pope’s appeal.
I have great sorrow in my heart at the worsening situation in Ukraine. Despite the diplomatic efforts of the last few weeks, increasingly alarming scenarios are opening up. Like me, many people all over the world are feeling anguish and concern. Once again the peace of all is threatened by partisan interests. I would like to appeal to those with political responsibility to seriously examine their consciences before God, who is the God of peace and not of war; who is the Father of all, not just of some, who wants us to be brothers and not enemies. I pray that all the parties involved refrain from any action that would cause even more suffering to the people, destabilising coexistence between nations and bringing international law into disrepute.
And now I would like to appeal to everyone, believers and non-believers alike. Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God’s weapons; with prayer and fasting. I invite everyone to make next 2 March, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace. I especially encourage believers to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.