Pope Francis to Ukrainian Bishops: The Holy See Is By Your Side

Says ‘Seeing the Wounds, Misunderstandings Between Brother Bishops Hurts Him’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

“The Holy See is at your side, even in international forums, to understand your rights, your concerns and the righteous Gospel values ​​that motivate you,” Pope Francis reminded Ukrainian bishops today in the Vatican. “It is looking for further ways in which to meet the pastoral needs of those ecclesiastical structures.»

The Holy Father encouraged the bishops in Rome for the ad limina visit to «renew, with the grace of God, your zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel in Ukrainian society” and to «support one another with effective collaboration.”

“Never tire of making present to your fellow citizens considerations that faith and pastoral responsibility you suggest,» he said. «The sense of justice and truth, before the political, moral is, and this task is also entrusted to your responsibility as Pastors.”

The Pope said he learned, reflected, and tried to respond to their problems, “which are not few,” and reminded them to entrust their difficulties to our Mother Mary who watches over us with tender love.

As a country experiencing serious ongoing conflict and violence, the Pope said he has kept all the nation’s people in his prayers, calling upon the Lord to grant them peace.

To the issues facing Ukraine’s people, the Pope told the bishops, they are called to give direct answers. He also noted that there are also socio-cultural and human tragedies that await their direct and positive contributions.

What is important in such circumstances, the Pope said, is to listen carefully to the voices coming from the territory, where people live entrusted to your pastoral care. This involves, Francis said, listening to the people through collaboration and trying to search for the peace that is possible together.

“The more you will be free ministers of the Church of Christ, the more, even in your poverty, you are defenders of the families, the poor, the unemployed, the weak, the sick, the elderly pensioners, invalids, displaced persons.»

«Unite your forces and support one another, making the historical events a pattern of sharing and unity,» he urged. «Rooted in the Catholic communion, you can carry on with faith and patience even ecumenical commitment, so that they may increase the unity and cooperation among all Christians.»

The Unity of the Episcopate

The Pontiff delivered a further reflection about the relationship “between the brothers» in the episcopate: “To me personally, it hurts to hear that there are misunderstandings and wounds.”

“There needs to be a doctor,» he said, «and that is Jesus Christ, who both served generously and wholeheartedly.”

“You are a single body,” he said, reminding them that Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have told them this too.

Given this, he urged them to find among them a way to welcome one another and support each other generously in their apostolic labors.

“The unity of the episcopate, as well as giving good testimony to the People of God, makes an invaluable service to the nation, both cultural and social, and, above all, on the spiritual level.»

In the fundamental values, you are united, he told the bishops. “You have in common the most precious treasures: faith and God’s people.”

I know, the Pope pointed out, that at the local level, “you have the specific arrangements and practices among you, heirs of two legitimate spiritual traditions – the Eastern and Latin – as well as with other Christians present among you.”

“This, in addition to being a duty,” Francis said, “is also an honor that must be recognized.”

At the national level, you are full citizens of your country, and therefore have the right to think about your destiny.

“Not in the sense of promoting a concrete political action,” are you called, the Pope said, “but in the indication and reaffirmation of the values ​​that make up the coagulating element of Ukrainian society, persevering in tireless pursuit of harmony and the common good, even in the face of serious and complex problems.”

The Pontiff expressed his certainty that the bishops’ decisions, in accordance with the Successor of Peter, will take charge of the expectations of all your people, and invited them all to govern the communities entrusted to them “as much as possible” by ensuring their presence and closeness to priests and faithful.

“I urge you to be careful and considerate towards the poor: they are your wealth. You are pastors of a flock entrusted by Christ; may you become more aware, even in your internal organs of self-government.”

The Blessed Virgin Mary’s protection, the Pope stressed, reassures you on your way to encounter Christ who comes, strengthening your resolutions of communion and collaboration.

While asking the Ukrainian bishops to pray for him, Pope Francis imparted his Apostolic Blessing on them, their communities, and to the beloved people of Ukraine.


On ZENIT’s Web page:

To read the Holy Father’s address, go to: 


To read ZENIT’s interview with Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, go to:  http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/archbishop-sviatoslav-shevchuk-ukrainian-christians-still-clinging-to-hope

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation