“Forgiveness does not mean submission to evil” — UGCC bishops in their Message on War and Just Peace

February 21, 2024, 21:27 123

We may forgive personal insults, but we have no right to remain silent when we see violence committed against other people. This was stated by the bishops of the UGCC in the Message of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC in Ukraine on war and just peace in the context of new ideologies: “Save the victim from the hand of the oppressor.”

“Forgiveness does not mean submission to evil” — UGCC bishops in their Message on War and Just Peace

Photo: AP Photo / Bernat Armangue

In the Message on War and Just Peace, the bishops emphasized the importance of adequately interpreting Jesus’ words about loving one’s enemies: “Forgiveness does not mean tacit approval of the offender’s actions and submission to evil, but rather their overcoming by the power of Christ. It only shows that a Christian entrusts God with restoring justice…”

When analyzing the matter of violence and non-violent resistance, the UGCC bishops stressed that war is a brutal violation of God’s commandments. In contrast, their observance is a prerequisite for a just society.

“Is it possible for the human community to let the genocide of Ukrainians, which was organized by the Russian army in Bucha, Borodyanka, Irpin, Mariupol, and many other occupied territories of Ukraine, go unpunished and unchallenged? Who will stand up for the victims and their families?” the bishops ask rhetorically.

“Today’s cry of Ukrainians to the international community for the renewal of justice has the full support of the Church, as it has always made and continues to choose defense of the offended,” the message reads.

At the end of the Message, the hierarchs of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC in Ukraine emphasized that the Lord desires His disciples to be the same as at the very beginning of Christianity — courageous in their loyalty to the truth, not to disregard terrible injustice.

“The life of Jesus — His teachings and deeds are an example and a gracious beacon for us on a way of being true people created in the image and likeness of God and carrying the peacemaking power of the Holy Spirit. They testify to His wise and just rule in the world.”

The UGCC Department for Information

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