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Christianity and Pacifism 2022 – Yuriy Shchurko & Fred van Iersel

The Russian invasion of Ukraine unleashed a fierce debate on the question of the appropriate policy of Christians, especially Catholics, regarding the war in Ukraine. The hesitation of Pope Francis to explicitly condemn the Russian President Putin for invading Ukraine, while calling it a ‘cruel and senseless war in which Ukraine was dragged’, was criticized among others by the Ukrainian Catholic Church. In the background we can discern differing theological and moral views among Christians about the justification of war. Today this is not an academic discussion, but has practical implications of how to take sides and show solidarity in the war in Ukraine.

Tonight we discuss this important question with professor Yuriy Shchurko and professor Fred van Iersel. Yuriy Shchurko is Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy of the Ukrainian Catholic University. He is also priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and biblical studies scholar. Fred van Iersel was, until his emiritate, honorary professor of spiritual care in the armed forces at the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology and is former general secretary of Pax Christi Nederland. He was in charge of the Department of Defense, Ethics and Armed Forces Office. Professor Van Iersel published The Future of the Just War Theory (2019) and on Christianity and non-violence.

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