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ACI Prensa Staff, Feb 27, 2023 / 13:15 pm (CNA).

Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Father Kirill Gorbunov, who is also vicar general of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of the Mother of God at Moscow, said that “the majority of the people are suffering” and that “after a year of war [with Ukraine], there is no foreseeable solution.”

“It seems that the only proposed solution is to make the conflict even worse,” he lamented.

According to the priest, those who come to him “in search of spiritual guidance speak of fear of an uncertain future, disillusionment and anger towards those they believe to be responsible for the current situation; sometimes also towards God and the Church.”

In addition, he said that there is “suffering because of conflicts between colleagues, friends, and relatives due to different political points of view.”

Gorbunov noted that “there are very many Russian-Ukrainian mixed families, even more so in the Catholic Church, and in many of them people have found themselves on opposite sides of the front.”

“This causes a lot of suffering,” he stressed.

The priest also explained that the generation of Russians who grew up when the Soviet Union, which was dismantled in the 1990s, still existed “in general tends to feel absolutely powerless in the face of the State and doesn’t believe that any type of social action can contribute to a peaceful solution.”

Fasting and prayer for peace

Gorbunov stressed that the bishops “have invited our faithful to pray and fast for peace.”

“We continue to include petitions for an end to the violence and the restoration of peace in the prayers of the faithful. Some prayer groups are also doing special prayers for this intention,” he noted.

The spokesman for the Russian Roman Catholic archdiocese also recognized the importance of Pope Francis’ consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 2022.

“We are very grateful to the Holy Father for the consecration. This act has sent a very powerful message that in the eyes of God and Mary we are equally their children.”

“Pope Francis’ insistence that the conflict can only be resolved through dialogue and not military power gives us great hope,” he added.

Gorbunov explained that “Catholics are a small minority in Russia, less than 1%,” which limits the Church’s ability to respond to the drama of war.

However, “our parishes, especially in southern Russia, are trying to find a way to help everyone who comes to us and asks for help.”

The spokesman for the Russian Roman Catholic bishops also expressed his “deep gratitude to people around the world, especially Catholics, of course, who feel the need to pray for the people of Russia, understanding that lasting peace can only be achieved through the conversion of hearts and not by force.”

“It seems very disheartening that 2,000 years after the birth and resurrection of Christ, people who profess to be Christians can find no other way to resolve political tensions than by killing each other,” he said.

“Pope Francis reminds us that, as Catholics, we are called to be ‘peacemakers,’ people who strive to master the ability to unite people and help them resolve conflicts through the conversion of hearts,” the priest noted.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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