Bavaria: Christmas message of peace from the churches against the war

The war in Ukraine and its effects determined the Christmas messages in many places.

Bavaria: Christmas message of peace from the churches against the war

The war in Ukraine and its effects determined the Christmas messages in many places. Representatives of the Christian churches called for dialogue and recalled the message of peace on Christmas Eve. The churches were packed like never before.

Munich (dpa / lby) - Representatives of the two Christian churches in Bavaria called for peace and dialogue on Christmas Eve. They condemned war and violence, but also referred to Ukraine's right to defend itself against Russian attacks. After two years of Corona, the faithful flocked to the places of worship as before the pandemic, and in many places the churches were full.

The Evangelical regional bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm warned on Sunday in the almost fully occupied Munich Matthäus-Kirche that military logic should not determine everything. "We all lament the suffering that the illegal and reprehensible invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army is bringing to the people there. And we condemn the terror associated with the bombing of Ukrainian infrastructure for the population there," said Bedford-Strohm . "But that shouldn't mean a complete break-up of the relationship. It can't be that military logic determines everything."

Overall, he called for more dialogue - in social debates and in world politics. "How else but through communication, through conversations, through encounters should love, respect, insight, repentance have a chance at all?"

The Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Reinhard Marx, said, according to the manuscript of the speech on Christmas Eve in Munich's Liebfrauendom, that there was a justified defense, like now in the Ukraine, even with weapons. But the war must not have the last word. "Any war rhetoric that relativizes the victims on all sides contradicts the Christmas message." He sees how the spiral of violence continues, the cardinal said.

The Bishop of Würzburg, Franz Jung, described Christmas as a message of hope, especially in times of war and crisis. "After experiencing the pandemic, we are once again aware that there are no longer any regional conflicts in the global world," said Jung, according to the speech manuscript at Christmas mass. "A war anywhere in the world, no matter how far away it may seem, touches us directly." The consequences reached all of humanity, with missing wheat supplies to Africa, energy shortages in Europe and the disruption of supply chains worldwide. "The distant war is closer to us than we would like."

Bamberg's auxiliary bishop, Herwig Gössl, said on Christmas Day that peace was the great longing these days. However, peace does not come automatically simply from outlawing war, from silencing weapons or from a peace agreement. "Peace rather grows from people's inner satisfaction, from an attitude of gratitude, frugality and humility. Anyone who always wants to have and be more than the others will never become a peaceful person," said Gössl, according to the text of the speech in the fully occupied Bamberg Cathedral. After the resignation of the long-serving archbishop Ludwig Schick, the administration of the archbishopric lies with Gössl.

The war in Ukraine also determined the sermons outside of the Free State. The Council President of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Annette Kurschus, said the Christmas message of peace has seldom been more necessary than now. "No weapon will create peace," she said on Christmas Eve in "Morgenecho" on WDR 5. Conversational channels should not be filled up. Supporting Ukraine with weapons against the Russian attack is correct. "Thou shalt not kill" also means that one should not look on while innocent and defenseless people are being killed in the middle of Europe.

The chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Georg Bätzing, called for peace initiatives in the Ukraine war. "Even if the support of the country, which was invaded in violation of international law, must continue with all the necessary goods, peace initiatives are already needed now," said Bätzing after the text of the speech that had been distributed in advance on Sunday in Limburg Cathedral. "Because how else is it supposed to go on if hopefully soon the guns will finally be silent?" The war and the brutal violations of human rights sow hatred that is likely to provoke violence for generations. Therefore one must ask oneself how the seeds of peace can be sown. Bätzing had previously called for people to share their own wealth with refugees and other people in need.

In Munich, representatives of the Catholic and Protestant churches called for solidarity with the homeless and refugees at an ecumenical service in the station mission. "Let's shake hands with each other everywhere this Christmas 2022," said the evangelical regional bishop Christian Kopp. "So that there will be peace on earth. In our homes and families. In our cities. And preferably all over the world."

The Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Wolfgang Bischof said that many had to experience a turning point this year, often not only because of the military conflicts between Russia and Ukraine. But on Christmas Eve, a "turning point par excellence" should be commemorated: the birth of Jesus. "Today, Maria and Joseph might also have such gray plastic travel bags with them and might be traveling by train. Back then, the little luggage on the donkey."

Kopp said that the train station in particular had again become an important place for people without a home this year, who were deprived of their homes by the war in Ukraine. "They stood here on the platforms with their belongings. With big bags. And many Munich residents have opened their hearts and their homes. Thank God."