Is love between Russia and the Ukraine not possible? Between Putin and Zelensky? Between brothers? Between the Russians and Ukrainians?
From a Christian perspective we always believe a change of heart is possible, even the most hardened hearts. This is what conversion is, turning around, looking at your “enemy” differently. Seeing in the other a child of God, whether he speaks Russian or Ukrainian. The other is another “me”: a human being created in God’s image and likeness. The culture may be different, the religion, the language, and yet we are united by a common bond of being children of God.
We have the same desires, don’t we? To be happy. To live in peace. To seek what is good for ourselves and others. To build community based on justice, namely, mutual respect, what is fundamental in human nature.
Where do humans go wrong? We should ask ourselves this because it happens all the time. Since we know what we desire as individuals, can we not build our communities on such desires? Ultimately, truth, goodness, and happiness? Is this asking for too much. Where do we break down?
When something goes wrong, we want immediate answers. A rupture in relations, whether personal, communal, transnational, “Whose fault is it?” We hear a story and repeat it. Or we kick off our shoes lie back on our lazy-chair and allow the news to feed us. And as we nibble and bite and swallow the news, daily habits of being informed, we realise who is at fault, who needs to be punished. We realise who the enemy is. We understand. Right? It’s repeated daily as I sit back and drink beer or wine or coffee and get the updates. We have the answers and explanations. That’s intellectual laziness.
And we convince ourselves, yes, the enemy needs to be punished, blown up to smithereens if possible. That’s what they deserve, him/her, them, “those” people, “that” country. Let them have it!
Certainly, if we look hard and honestly, we will discover how many of “those” countries in the world have a history of horrific crimes of genocide, of massacres, dropping Atomic bombs, blowing up abbeys, responsible for regime changes leading to exodus of refugees or migrants. Exporting/imposing the option of baby-killing, unnatural sexual unions, trans rights -- forms of neo-colonialism: telling others what is good for them, or what they must to do belong to a community, even if it violates God’s laws and nature.
Moral differences are reflected in cultural differences shaped by religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and so on. If we go back to our earlier premise that communities are built on mutual respect, then we need to be aware that imposing the Western agenda of bankrupt morality would be the cause of resistance by many nations. Even in the European Union Poland and Hungary have been sidelined and punished by Brussels because these two nations continue to defend and preserve traditional Christian values.
Fr. David Bellusci, O.P.
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