On the occasion of the 3rd European Catholic Social Days, the President of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), Rev. Christian Krieger, deeply regrets the war in Ukraine, saying, “This time of the year, dedicated for inner questioning, has been disrupted by the return of tragedy of war, traumas and devastating effects to European soil that we thought belonged to the past.”
He said the proximity of this war has shaken many political positions in Europe. Political doctrines, which remained unshakeable for decades, are reconsidered in a few hours and abandoned in favour of the contrary. Even church circles are not being spared this deep questioning and uncertainty. “The Gospel calls us to be agents of reconciliation and peacemakers,” he stressed in his sermon, delivered at St. Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava with the Community of Sant’Egidio on 18 March.
Remembering all people and communities whose lives have been shattered by the tragedy of war, he prayed, “May the Gospel of peace bring comfort to wounded and grieving hearts, may it encourage those who are seized by mistrust and suspicion to meet one another, may it pacify our actions and our encounters, and may it strengthen our hope.”
He reflected on the fragility of peace and the dire need for continuous efforts toward reconciliation to work on healing the wounded memories, while stressing that there is no peace without justice.
The CEC President said that “peace is given to us” as Christians. “The Gospel reminds us from its very first pages that peace is given to us in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. So, where human hatred and violence undermine peace, let us build on the Gospel message of peace that invites us to trust in God and build on our ability to mobilise for justice and peace,” he added.
He also expressed gratitude for the invitation to participate in the European Catholic Social Days and contribute a sermon as part of an ecumenical prayer for peace.
The 3rd European Catholic Social Days were organised by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) and Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE), CEC’s close ecumenical Catholic partners, among other bodies. The event, held from 17-20 March, was an opportunity for the churches to reflect on their mission in contemporary society.