Pope Francis leads calls for an end to violence in Ukraine

(Catholic Herald) After a night of violent confrontations between protesters and police and the deaths of more than two dozen people, Pope Francis and Ukrainian church leaders spoke out on Wednesday, calling for an end to all violence and a serious commitment to dialogue for the good of Ukraine.

At the end of his weekly general audience, Pope Francis said: “With a troubled heart I am following what is happening in Kiev.

“I assure the Ukrainian people of my closeness and I pray for the victims of the violence, for their families and for the injured,” he said.

“I call on all sides to stop every violent action and seek agreement and peace,” he added.

In Kiev, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, stressed “that those holding power bear full responsibility for what is happening in our country.”

“In the name of God, we condemn violence, ruthlessness and the ignoring of human rights and the will of the nation,” he said on Wednesday as the United Nations and Western governments demanded an urgent resumption of government-opposition talks.

“I state with great sorrow that calls by the churches to stop the shedding of blood and seek a peaceful settlement of this conflict have not been heard,” the archbishop said, adding that he had asked Catholics to fast and pray for peace and asked Catholic churches to ring their bells in rejection of “fratricidal evil.”

Some churches near the protests were being used as makeshift hospitals. [More]


Catholic Herald