Fr. Robert P. Maloney, CM, 23rd Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission from 1992 to 2004 and a firm supporter of the worldwide Vincentian Family, has written this letter in solidarity with all the Ukrainian people, who are suffering from devastation and unjust invasion, encouraging the Vincentian Family in the area to make every effort to alleviate the pain of those who are suffering.
To my brothers and sisters
members of the Vincentian family in the Ukraine
and to the many people in surrounding countries
who are assisting you
I write today to express my solidarity with you at this terribly painful time.
Years ago, when I served as Superior General, I visited you in the Ukraine on two occasions. I was deeply impressed by your courage and your missionary spirit. Today, I am all the more profoundly moved as I witness your unity in responding to the crying needs of your suffering people.
I am outraged at the invasion of the Ukraine ordered by Russia’s President Putin. History will judge it an abomination. Years from now, people will wonder how this folly could possibly have happened.
Your pain is very much my pain too, as St. Vincent stated (CCD:I:138). When the leaders of his time were waging a war that was devastating the lives of the poor, he went to the Prime Minister, at considerable risk to himself, and pleaded: “Let us have peace! Have pity on us! Give our country peace!” In a similar vein, I also recall today the eloquent words of Pope St. Paul VI, “No more war! War never again!”
In my dreams, I wish that I could speak those words directly to President Putin. I know, of course, that that is impossible. But be sure that those words are my sentiment and that my heart is with you. I am confident that the future will reverse these terrible events, but tragically, it is already clear that “justice will roll down like a river” (Amos 5:24) only after great suffering and loss of life has occurred.
I offer you my love in these days as you join the crucified Lord. You are now one of his “crucified peoples.”
I think today of the words William Blake, an 18th-century English poet and painter:
TO Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
All pray in their distress,
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.
For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is God our Father dear;
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is Man, his child and care.
For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity, a human face;
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.
Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine: Love,
Mercy, Pity, Peace.
My daily prayer and support accompany you as you undergo this excruciating trial.
Your brother in St. Vincent,
Robert P. Maloney C.M.
May God, as he did in the past, hear your cry and the cry of those who are suffering and oppressed.
And thank you for the comfort you provide and for not being silent in the face of evident evils.
Eloquent as always and so rooted in St Vincent. May God instill such wisdom in all those entrusted with leadership
Thank you Father Maloney for your ongoing good will. Regretfully, Mr. Putin does not see it that way and it hurts to watch so much destruction and the loss of lives. We pray, yes, but the stark reality is that this man must be removed, for his plans for the encroachment of other parts of Europe are simply dangerous.
Indeed, we are all praying for the best, but each day seems to get worse and worse. And this week we shall pray with the Pope and all for the Immaculate Heart of Mary to somehow get to the Russian people and Ukraine.