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Are you fasting and doing penance to end the war? Pope’s questions for each of us

Prayer Vigil for Priests


Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 03/20/22

Pope Francis says that Christians must not look the other way, living carefree as if the war is distant ...

Echoing the requests of Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Francis is asking the faithful what we are personally doing about the war in Ukraine.

On March 18, the Holy Father received in audience participants in the international conference “Educating for democracy in a fragmented world,” promoted by the Pontifical Foundation Gravissimum Educationis. While his talk was about today’s twofold threat to democracy, he began his reflection considering the war.

“We are used to hearing news of wars, but far away. Syria, Yemen … the usual. Now the war has come closer, it is on our doorstep, practically. And this makes us think about the ‘savagery’ of human nature, how far we are capable of going,” he said.

Since he was addressing people involved in education, he noted especially the toll on youth.

We think of so many soldiers who are sent to the front, very young, Russian soldiers, poor things. Think of the many young Ukrainian soldiers; think of the inhabitants, the young people, the young girls, boys, girls… This is happening close to us.

Don’t look away

The Pope said the Gospel’s directive is simple: to not look the other way.

The Christian who looks the other way is a Christian with a pagan attitude, he said.

The Christian, when he gets used to looking the other way, slowly becomes a pagan disguised as a Christian. This is why I wanted to begin with this, with this reflection. The war is not far away: It is at our doorstep. What am I doing? Here in Rome, at the Bambino Gesù Hospital, there are children wounded by the bombings. At home, they take them home.

Do I pray? Do I fast? Do I do penance? Or do I live carefree, as we normally live through distant wars? A war is always – always! – the defeat of humanity, always. We, the educated, who work in education, are defeated by this war, because on another side we are responsible. There is no such thing as a just war: They do not exist!”

Consecration of RussiaPope FrancisUkraine
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