“Never again war, because war destroys the lives of innocent people. Throws into upheaval the lives of those who do the killing, and always leaves behind a trail of hatred and resentment that make it all the more difficult to resolve the very problems that provoke the war.” – Blessed Pope John Paul II
With Russian troops occupying the Crimea, could it be time for another papal intervention?
As I wrote last September, I believe that Pope Francis’ vigil for Syria played a role in preventing the civil war there from escalating into a regional conflict. There is something about the whole world praying at once that can have a powerful effect on the course of events.
The situation in Ukraine is worrisome. The Russian parliament has given president Vladimir Putin authorization to send troops, on the vague pretext of protecting the interests of ethnic Russians in the country. Ukraine’s military is on alert, expecting an invasion at any moment.
There are many nations with an interest in this situation, particularly Ukraine’s neighbors, Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and, of course, Russia. Concerns that have been raised—some of which have already been proved justified—include conflict spilling out of Ukraine, a flow of refugees, trade disruptions, border closings, Russian attempts to regain former Soviet territory and even nuclear disaster (keep in mind that Chernobyl is in Ukraine). With so many variables in a part of the world that is a major crossroads and source of resources, the possibility for a major conflict is very real.
If you have not been praying for the situation in Ukraine to improve, it is time to start. And I pray that Pope Francis will get the world together again as he did with Syria.