Croatian Catholic bishops deplore Russian aggression against Ukraine

ZAGREB, April 20, 2022 – The Iustitia et Pax (Justice and Peace) Commission of the Croatian Catholic Episcopal Conference on Wednesday condemned the Russian aggression against Ukraine and against European values ​​in general, expressing Christian solidarity with Ukraine.

The all-out attacks by the Russian Federation against Ukraine constitute a crime of aggression against an independent, sovereign and democratic state, against fundamental European values ​​and a country’s democratic right to self-determination and against Christian values fundamental principles of justice and peace, reads the statement of the Commission.

Presenting the document, Commission Secretary Vladimir Dugalić and Member Stjepan Baloban said that the courageous resistance of Ukrainian defenders has become the struggle for freedom and democracy in Europe.

The two priests expressed the hope that “the ordeal of the Ukrainian nation will lead to the resurrection of peace and freedom”.

They expressed their Christian closeness and solidarity with the Ukrainian people and ethnic Ukrainians in Croatia.

The Commission supports the efforts of the democratic world to offer assistance in the form of shipments of military equipment and weapons to Ukrainian defenders in their just cause.

Assistance must remain within the framework of proportionality and international humanitarian law in order to keep the conflict under control and prevent it from escalating into world war, the two priests said.

The Commission asserts that a difficult task awaits politicians to find a balance between solidarity and the necessary military self-restraint in the context of threats of the use of nuclear weapons which can be disastrous for all humanity.

The priests warned that the diplomatic efforts had not achieved their goals, warning that the consequences of the war would certainly be felt in the long term.

Dugalić and Balaban said Russian aggression cannot be justified by “higher metaphysical” goals, adding that it is encouraging to see more and more Russian citizens expressing their disapproval of current policies, despite the repression of mass.

It would be wrong to blame all the Russian people for the current situation when the responsibility lies with the political regime and a group of citizens and some Russian Orthodox dignitaries who support the regime, the priests said.

They called on other religious communities to join the Catholic Church in condemning war destruction and massacres and to accept Ukrainian refugees.

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