The Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) has issued a heatfelt appeal for peace in Ukraine and in the whole of Europe.
Gathering for their plenary assembly 12-14 October, Bishop delegates from the member conferences expressed “deep sadness at the horrific human suffering inflicted on our brothers and sisters in Ukraine by the brutal military aggression initiated by the Russian authorities.”
The Bishops emphasised their closeness to “the millions of refugees, mostly women and children, who have been forced to leave their homes” and shared their concerns that recent actions risk escalating the war “with disastrous consequences for humanity”.
They also noted the impact of the war on the whole of Europe, recognising all those affected by the energy crisis, rising inflation, and the soaring cost of living.
Bishop Nicholas Hudson took part in the plenary meeting, on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, as an observer to COMECE. This arrangement has been in place since 2021, with a mutual commitment to maintaining fraternal relations and a recognition that “even though the UK will no longer be part of the EU, it will still continue being part of Europe.”
We, the Bishop Delegates of the EU Bishops’ Conferences, gathered for the Autumn Plenary Assembly, wish to express our deep sadness at the horrific human suffering inflicted on our brothers and sisters in Ukraine by the brutal military aggression initiated by the Russian authorities. We remember the victims in our prayers and wish to express our closeness to their families. We would wish to express our closeness also to the millions of refugees, mostly women and children, who have been forced to leave their homes, as well as to all who suffer in Ukraine and in the neighbouring countries because of this ‘madness of war’. We are deeply concerned that recent actions risk increasing further expansion of the continuing war, with disastrous consequences for humanity.
The war in Ukraine also affects us directly as citizens of the European Union. Our thoughts turn to all who find themselves in increasingly dramatic socio-economic hardship due to the energy crisis, rising inflation and the soaring cost of living. Such crises make us realise the deep value of the European Union and its founding vision. We are grateful for the tireless efforts of European decision-makers in showing solidarity with Ukraine and in mitigating the consequences of the war for European citizens, and we strongly encourage these leaders to maintain their unity and to remain committed to the European project.
In full communion with the numerous appeals made by Pope Francis and the Holy See, we too make a strong appeal to the aggressors, immediately to suspend the hostilities, and to all parties to open themselves up to negotiation of ‘serious proposals’ for a just peace, to work towards a solution to the conflict, which respects international law and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Asking the intercession of Mary, the Queen of Peace, we pray to the Lord “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace”.
H.Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich sj, Archbishop of Luxembourg, President
H.E. Msgr Mariano Crociata, Bishop of Latina (Italy), First Vice-President
H.E. Msgr Franz-Josef Overbeck, Bishop of Essen (Germany), Vice-President
H.E. Msgr Noël Treanor, Bishop of Down & Connor (Ireland), Vice-President
H.E. Msgr Jan Vokál, Bishop of Hradec Králové (Czech Republic), Vice-President
H.E. Msgr Lode Aerts, Bishop of Bruges (Belgium)
H.E. Msgr D. Nuno Brás da Silva Martins, Bishop of Funchal (Portugal)
H.E. Msgr Joseph Galea-Curmi, Auxiliary Bishop of Malta
H.E. Msgr Antoine Hérouard, Archbishop of Dijon (France)
H.E. Msgr T.C.M. Hoogenboom, Auxiliary Bishop of Utrecht (Netherlands)
H.E. Msgr Vjekoslav Huzjak, Bishop of Bjelovar-Križevci (Croatia)
H.E. Msgr Anton Jamnik, Auxiliary Bishop of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
H.E. Msgr Czeslaw Kozon, Bishop of Copenhagen (Scandinavia)
H.E. Msgr Andris Kravalis, Auxiliary Bishop of Riga (Latvia)
H.E. Msgr Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, Auxiliary Bishop of Madrid (Spain)
H.E. Msgr Gábor Mohos, Auxiliary Bishop of Esztergom-Budapest (Hungary)
H.E. Msgr Rimantas Norvila, Bishop of Vilkaviškis (Lithuania)
H.E. Msgr Selim Sfeir, Archbishop of Maronites in Cyprus
H.E. Msgr Janusz Bogusław Stepnowski, Bishop of Łomża (Poland)
H.E. Msgr Ägidius J. Zsifkovics, Bishop of Eisenstadt (Austria