International News

English Bishops to Government: Help End the War, Help Ukrainian Refugees

By Catholic News Service

MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — Eight Catholic bishops in England — including a Ukrainian Catholic bishop — have asked the British government to work for a swift resolution of the war in Ukraine and to act to help refugees from the conflict.

British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Liz Truss makes a statement on Russian sanctions in the House of Commons in London Feb. 28, 2022, after Russia invaded Ukraine. (Photo: CNS /Jessica Taylor, UK Parliament via Reuters)

In an open letter to Liz Truss, secretary of state for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs, the bishops praised the government’s “resolute defense of Ukraine’s sovereignty and opposition to Russia’s invasion.”

[Related: Pope Francis Thanks Poland for Welcoming Ukrainian Refugees]

They said they joined the church across Europe “in calling for the international community to act together, and with determination, to put an immediate end to Russia’s war against Ukraine and to do everything possible to protect innocent men, women, and children.”

“Our country has a clear moral duty to support Ukraine’s people,” they said, adding that people in the former Soviet republic had “suffered from Russia’s illegal military actions since 2014 and now face a catastrophic escalation of violence.”

“As this crisis worsens, it is essential that we also provide humanitarian assistance and offer sanctuary to people who are forced to flee their homes,” they said in the letter, signed Feb. 25.

“We are deeply aware of the danger that, without a swift and peaceful resolution, violence will only spread further, becoming a threat to the wider continent, and compounding the suffering already being experienced by Ukraine’s people,” the bishops added.

The letter was signed by London-based Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Ken Nowakowski, a Canadian-born bishop who heads the Byzantine rite in the U.K. It was also signed by bishops representing the English and Welsh bishops’ departments dealing with international affairs, Europe, peacebuilding and migrants and refugees.