The ongoing war is “blind, absurd, sacrilegious,” Shevchuk said, adding that “it is precisely in the face of the use of blind violence that the world proves impotent.”
The question of weapons also needs to be addressed, he said.
Referring to the moral principle of proportionate defense, Shevchuk emphasized that Ukraine’s ability to defend itself “is not yet proportionate to Russia’s ability to attack us.” For this reason, he argued, “the shipping of arms to improve the quality of defense is considered morally acceptable.”
Having avoided an even worse human tragedy thanks to an outpouring of food shipments and other forms of international humanitarian aid, the pastoral plan of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is now focused on “treating wounds,” Shevchuk said, because “we have all been wounded, and those who are under bombardment at least once in their life experience a wound that remains for a long time.”
Regarding peace plans, “they say that a compromise must be made, but when I hear talk about territories, I shiver with pain,” Shevchuk said.
“For us, it is not a question of territories, but of people. We must free not the territories but the people, our faithful,” he said. “In the occupied territories, there is sometimes not even a Catholic priest. I want to remember the Redemptorist Fathers of Bergyansk, Father Ivan and Father Bohdan, who were subjected to daily torture for a hundred days. No negotiation, no diplomacy, no instrument of dialogue has been able to ease their pains.”
Despite the hardships and the war, people try to return to their homes. “During the encirclement of Kyiv,” the major archbishop said, “800,000 out of 4 million inhabitants remained there. Today the capital has about one and a half million inhabitants. Some say that around 5 million Ukrainians who have left the country have returned, but the figures cannot be defined. It is a continuous flow.”
People return for economic reasons and psychological reasons because “if you move from your city, you are afraid that something will happen to your home,” he said.
War also has catastrophic consequences for children, Shevchuk emphasized. On a positive note, he spoke about the opening of a kindergarten for 120 children in the parish of Ivano Frantivsk. “While the Russians destroy, we were able to build,” he said.
Finally, he made an appeal. “Do not leave us alone, do not abandon us. At the beginning of the war, everyone abandoned us, and all the diplomatic representations fled from Kyiv, except for the Holy See and Poland,” he said.
“But now everyone is back. And truly, now we feel that we are not forgotten,” he added. “We want to build a free country and a democratic country.”
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