Nuncio to Ukraine: Pope’s call for Easter truce is a time to stop and turn to Christ


Pope Francis’ call on Palm Sunday for an Easter truce for war-torn Ukraine calls on all men and women to unite in prayer, and political leaders to back down and scale back targets military and political. Bishop Kulbokas, Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, reflects on the fact that nothing is impossible for the Lord.

By Linda Bordoni

In a powerful new call for peace in Ukraine, Pope Francis said: “Let the guns be silenced. Let the Easter truce begin.

“Nothing”, said the Pope on Palm Sunday, “is impossible with God: He can even put an end to a war whose end is not in sight, a war which brings massacres before our eyes every day heinous and atrocious cruelties committed against defenseless civilians. .“

Expressing his gratitude for the Pope’s repeated closeness, prayers and appeals to the country in which he serves as Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, told Vatican Radio that the Easter truce is a time for all of us to unite in the prayer, but also for leaders to reflect on their actions and reduce their military and political objectives in the name of peace and humanity for which Jesus died.

Listen to Bishop Visvaldas Kulbokas

Q: What was your reaction to Pope Francis’ call for an Easter truce?

We are in the month of April, and already on April 2, our Muslim friends began the period of Ramadan, a time of fasting, prayer for peace and almsgiving. All these testimonies are very similar to those of Christians, [during the season of Lent]. Now, on April 17, we will celebrate Easter according to our Western tradition, and on April 24, we will celebrate Easter according to the Eastern tradition.

It is very striking to see that this terrible war in Ukraine continues. When we observe who dies, we see that there are more civilian victims than military victims: this is completely unacceptable. All wars are unacceptable in themselves – wars in Yugoslavia, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya or here in Ukraine – war is always unacceptable.

Another thing that I observe, especially listening to the media – in Russia, in Ukraine, in some European countries, in countries of the world – I see that the hatred against each other is not decreasing, but it is still increasing! This is one of the consequences of war – that we get into a bad situation where war causes even more hatred.

A Time to Focus on Christ

This is why Pope Francis said, “Why do we focus only on the human goals of our lives? especially if we are Christians – but not only Christians – we must focus on our God, and if we are Christians we must allow our Christ to gain something in our lives. And Christ never brings war into our hearts or into our countries.

That’s why Pope Francis invoked an Easter truce, adding that “weapons should be laid down” and “those politicians should be willing to make sacrifices for the good of the people.”

Now for the situation: we know very well who started the war. If this war is taking place in Ukraine, it is not Ukraine that started the war. So, when we apply these words of the Holy Father, it is above all the Russian side that started this terrible war, which should consider what kind of sacrifices to its goals should it introduce because the war itself is not admissible, and from a Christian point of view, we should consider human lives and the rights of people above all else – above our political opinions, our military opinions.

A time to reflect on one’s actions

This is why Pope Francis calls for more negotiations and more reflection. The Easter truce should therefore allow us to have more time, especially in the hearts of politicians, to think “What am I doing here in this world? What am I doing against others? What am I causing with my actions? »

I also want to add that here in Ukraine, all the churches and all the religious organizations are in solidarity; united to give their best to the Ukrainian government. Because when we consider who owns the earth, who owns our homes, it’s not just international law, it’s the ancient tradition of mankind that says “if this is my home, if this is my country, me and my people should decide how we want to live and what we want to choose for our country, for our lives.

So already from this point of view of our property, which is a very natural law of human life, all religious organizations and churches in Ukraine are united in condemning this war.

Q: You were pointing out that this is an Easter truce in which Pope Francis asks that “this is not a truce to provide more weapons and resume the fight”. Do you hope that’s what could happen?

This is what we are forced to do because there is no other solution. Because if we continue with this mentality of our political and military goals, the war will continue to increase in intensity. Everyone should understand that there is no military and political solution to this war. We should allow ourselves to put the spiritual and human dimensions into our reflections. And when Pope Francis insists that “God should win this war” [it is] not with our political or military growth.

Q: You are the Pope’s representative in Ukraine. Do you have a call you would like to broadcast on our channels?

My wish and call is that all who believe in God will unite in condemning this war and every kind of war. We must be united in condemning all forms of aggression, now and in all situations, and that will give us and humanity a better future. This is my call.

Q: Thank you. Let’s hope that Easter, a time of rebirth, is truly a time of rebirth for all of humanity…

Yes. We entrust this prayer to our Lord Jesus, to his suffering and resurrection. Amen.


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