Sight Magazine – Pope recalls historic suffering in Ukraine during day of prayer; tell parents to support gay children
- Philippe Pullella
Pope Francis led a day of prayer for peace in Ukraine on Wednesday, calling for dialogue to prevail over partisan interests to resolve the West’s standoff with Russia.
Pope Francis attends the weekly general audience at the Vatican on January 26. PHOTO: Reuters/Remo Casilli.
Francis last Sunday called on people of all faiths to pray on Wednesday for an end to the crisis, saying the tensions threaten Europe’s security and risk wide repercussions.
“I ask you to pray for peace in Ukraine and to do so often during the day,” Francis said during his weekly general audience, adding that he hoped “wounds, fears and divisions” may be overcome.
As people prayed in Ukraine and elsewhere, Francis said he hoped “the supplications that rise to heaven today will touch the minds and hearts of world leaders, so that dialogue may prevail and the common good comes before partisan interests”.
Stepping out of the script, he recalled that more than five million people died in Ukraine during World War II and that people there also suffered from hunger and “so much cruelty”.
It was an apparent reference to the roughly three to four million Ukrainians who died in the early 1930s when Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin imposed the collectivization of agriculture and other policies aimed at crushing Ukrainian nationalism.
The tragedy, which a number of countries have recognized as a form of genocide, is called the Holodomor and is also known as the Terror-Famine or the Great Famine.
“It is a people who suffer,” the pope said of the Ukrainians.
Vatican Foreign Minister Bishop Paul Gallagher was due to lead a prayer service in Rome on Wednesday evening organized by the Sant’Egidio Community, a Rome-based international charity that promotes peace.
Western leaders have stepped up military preparations and drawn up plans to protect Europe from a possible energy shock if Russia invades Ukraine.
Senior US and Russian diplomats on Friday failed to make a major breakthrough in talks to resolve the crisis, although they agreed to continue talking.
Earlier, the pope said that parents of gay children should not condemn them but offer them support.
He spoke in unscripted comments during his weekly hearing in reference to the difficulties parents can face raising their offspring.
These issues included “parents seeing different sexual orientations in their children and how to deal with that, how to support their children and not hide behind a condemnatory attitude,” Francis said.
He has previously said that gay people have the right to be accepted by their families as children and siblings.
He also said that while the church cannot accept same-sex marriage, it can support civil union laws aimed at giving same-sex partners common rights in the areas of pensions, health care and issues. of inheritance.
Last year, the Vatican’s doctrinal office released a document saying Catholic priests cannot bless same-sex unions, a decision that has greatly disappointed gay Catholics.
In some countries, such as the United States and Germany, parishes and ministers had begun to bless same-sex unions instead of marriage, and there were calls for bishops to de facto institutionalize them.
Conservatives in the 1.3 billion-member church say the pope – who has sent notes of appreciation to priests and nuns who care for gay Catholics – is giving mixed signals about homosexuality, confusing some devotees.
Last month, a Vatican department apologized for “causing pain to the entire LGBTQ community” by removing a link to resources from a Catholic rights group from its website. homosexuals in preparation for a 2023 Vatican meeting on the future direction of the church.
The church teaches that homosexuals should be treated with respect and that while homosexual acts are sinful, homosexual tendencies are not.