Catholic archbishops denounce ‘immoral aggression’ of Russia in Ukraine

Situation an ‘abuse of power’ motivated by ‘the desire to control and dominate’

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is based on "an abuse of power, and by the desire to control and dominate", the Catholic Primate of all Ireland, Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin has said.

“Our Lenten journey this year begins as we watch the distressing and frightening scenes from Ukraine. Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Ukraine. We can never take peace for granted. We must always work for peace, pray for peace and make sacrifices for peace,” he declared.

The current situation in Ukraine appeared "to be motivated, at least in part, by abuse of power and by the desire to control and dominate. It is alarming to think that despite the lessons learned last century in Europe about the horrors of war, that our continent could so easily be plunged back into chaos and uncertainty," he said.

Throughout Lent he urged people “to pray for peace, work for peace and make sacrifices for peace.”

Meanwhile, the Russian invasion has been condemned as "unwarranted, dehumanising, and immoral aggression" by the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell.

“The images on our screens during the week bring home once again the horror and injustice of war, and evoke compassion and solidarity with the people of Ukraine, as well as with the many Ukrainians who have made Ireland their home,” he said.

Expressing “shock and dismay” at events unfolding in Ukraine, Archbishop Farrell said: “My heart is with the people whose lives and land are being torn apart.”

He continued: “This aggression and violence cannot be accepted: there must be an outright and radical rejection of such a way of being present and asserting oneself in the world. As we know from our own history on this island, the way of peace has to be one of dialogue, dignity, and respect.”

What was happening in Ukraine was “not just a terrible war in a country far away.” It changed “the way we perceive and relate with other countries in Europe, by limiting the possibilities of trade and commerce, and — most importantly — by recognizing all affected by this war as our sisters and brothers.”

The rule of law "and the need a for a stable international system must command the support of all right-thinking people,", he went on. Quoting the American moral and social philosopher, Eric Hoffer, he said that change and transformation "cannot happen by breeding discontent… or coercing people into a new way of life".

Instead, he said such changes “are the gift of those who know how to kindle and fan generous hope that is founded on making a reality the sharing of our common home,” he said.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times