Catholic Church leaders in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei called for a stop “to the madness of violence and war” as they called for peace in Ukraine.
“We join the chorus of Christian churches and leaders across Asia, together with all people of Faith and Goodwill, in humbly appealing for peace and justice,” read the bishops’ statement released on March 2, Ash Wednesday.
The Church leaders said “wars do not benefit anyone” and appealed for “prayer and fasting for peace and justice.”
They expressed “deep concern” over the conflict in Ukraine and its impact on global peace and justice, “affecting the lives of peoples everywhere.”
“The history and causes of war may be complex, but wars in the long term do not benefit anyone, including us,” said the Church leaders.
“On the contrary, it only brings destruction and leaves a trail of immense suffering and displacements,” they added.
The bishops called on Russia, Ukraine, “and all interested parties” to “come to the table of peace and justice.”
“Mutual respect, acceptance of differences among all sides, and integrity of nations, are crucial to lasting peace and justice for mutual co-existence,” read the statement signed by Bishop Sebastian Francis, president of the bishops’ conference of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.
“Wherever there is conflict, the world urgently needs to put in place a recovery plan including now for the peoples of Ukraine; and strengthening every effort at peace and reconciliation,” added the statement.
The Church leaders from Southeast Asia were among the latest to join the call of Pope Francis to all Catholics and “people of Faith and Goodwill,” to dedicate the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, as “Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace and Justice in Ukraine.”
Media reports on Wednesday said Russian forces have intensified bombardment of Ukraine’s biggest cities, raining rockets on residential areas and killing at least 21 people in the eastern city of Kharkiv.