European Churches’ Christmas message: War is a wound to humanity
By Lisa Zengarini
The Churches of Europe have focused this year’s joint Christmas Message on the “immense suffering” of the people of Ukraine, and on those forced to flee their homes by the military invasion waged by Russia nearly ten months ago.
Christmas brings a promise of hope despite war
“The on-going bloodshed in Ukraine is an open wound to humanity,” says the message signed by Rev. Christian Krieger and by Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, respectively presidents of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE).
Despite the “dark shadows of war” we are facing today, the two Church leaders remark that Christmas still brings us “a promise of hope”.
Pray for Ukraine
As the Christmas celebrations approach, the message, therefore, invites the faithful to pray in a special way for peace in Ukraine and for all those tormented “by cold, hunger and fear”, and for the aggressors to stop the hostilities “so that all parties, with the help of the international community, may open themselves up to dialogue and negotiation.”
Closing their message, the European Churches propose the following prayer and express hope that Christmas may inspire everyone “to seek reconciliation and peace, so that instead of walls of division and indifference, seeds of mutual respect, solidarity and human fraternity be planted and nourished in our hearts”:
The WCC' Christmas Message
War, and in particular the threat of nuclear war, is also one of the focuses of the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Christmas Message, signed by the WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca.
In the face of growing fears of nuclear disaster, climate change and hunger, which in our age of social networks, are also leading “to increasing hate speech, to a proliferation of conspiracy theories, violations of human rights, and threats to democracy”, the message invites Christians to confide “in the divine promise of peace on earth and God’s goodwill towards humanity.”
“As we welcome this promise, God’s Spirit makes us people of good will” that is “agents of reconciliation, and peacemakers, living out Christ’s love for the world”, Rev. Sauca remarks, noting that people of good will are also people of other faiths, or people with no religion “who share today this compassionate love for their neighbours and especially for the most vulnerable, and live out in their daily lives the values of the kingdom.”
“With all good wishes for a blessed Christmas season, we invite you to welcome in faith and love the angels’ promise of peace on earth, and to live as a pilgrim on the path to justice, reconciliation, and unity”. the WCC Christmas Message concludes.
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