“Our world is once again threatened by the powers of darkness – lies, blood and the fire of destruction.”
A leading Catholic academic and priest has urged the world to “say no to the devil” in a sermon given in the centre of Old Prague. He said that the blood of Ukraine is “crying out” to the Lord of hosts.
Father Tomáš Halík, professor of sociology of religion at Charles University, Prague, who under the communist regime was secretly ordained as a priest in Erfurt and was active in the underground Church, is expected to warn: “Say no to the Devil.”
This references a song that the Czech Protestant minister and dissident Sváta Karásek sang following the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia.
“Our world is once again threatened by the powers of darkness. From the same place that sent us a great frost in 1968 – a frost that burned the yearning for freedom in our country for the next twenty years – are again coming lies, blood and the fire of destruction, tempting the world to give way to selfishness, aloofness, and the foolish belief that everything is fine, that we can avoid suffering. It is not true. Let us not lull ourselves into a false tranquillity. Let us be defiant: say no to the Devil.”
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Father Tomáš Halík was also a co-signatory of a letter addressed to religious leaders of Russia, calling on them to stand up for those who have been persecuted and killed during the Ukrainian crisis.
“We ask you to actively seek ways to restore peace and justice,” the letter reads.
Read the full message below:
Chief Authority of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill
Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar
Grand Mufti of Russia Rawil Gaynutdin
Leaders of Buddhism and Hinduism in Russia
Other representatives of faith communities in Russia
28 February 2022
We appeal to you as leaders of churches and religious communities of Russian people. Our shared religious conviction concerning the inalienable dignity of every person and sacred value of human life obliges us to resist violence and injustice.
We are called to stand up for those who are persecuted, driven from their homes, who are in life threatening situation or who are killed. True faith is a source of strength to help one’s fellow human being, to show practical mercy to those in need, to strive for peace and good neighbourly relations among people.
We are shaken by the tragic consequences of the aggressive invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops.
We therefore ask, plead and appeal to your conscience to use all your influence as representatives of churches and religious communities to effectively and promptly work for an immediate end of war and bloodshed in Ukraine.
We ask you to actively seek ways to restore peace and justice.
We pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. We ask you to invite members of your religious communities to pray together with all of us and to strive for peace. Invite them to make it clear to President Putin and other political leaders that they do not want war.
Your colleagues in the Czech Republic
President of the Czech Christian Academy Monsignor Prof. Tomáš Halík
Roman Catholic Bishop Václav Malý
Chief Rabbi of the Czech Republic Karol Sidon
Patriarch of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church Tomáš Butta
Chairman of the Muslim Community in Prague Vladimír Sáňka
Synod Senior of the Czech Brethren Evangelical Church Pavel Pokorný
First Vice-Chairman of the Council of the Church of the Brethren Bronislav Matulík
Bishop of the Unity of the Brethren Jan Klas
Superintendent of the Evangelical Methodist Church Ivana Procházková
Em. President of the Liberal Jewish Community Beit Simha Sylvie Wittmann
Chairman of the Czech-Slovak Union of the Adventist Church Mikuláš Pavlík
Secretary General of the Ecumenical Council of Churches Petr Jan Vinš
Representative of the Zen School Kwan Um Jakub Koldovský
Evangelical Pastor for Minorities Mikuláš Vymětal
Progressive Rabbi David Maxa
Professor of the Charles University in Prague Pavel Hošek
Pastor of the Church of the Brethren Pavel Černý
President of the Universal Peace Federation Juraj Lajda
Vicar General of the Apostolic Exarchate of the Greek Catholic Church in the Czech Republic Vasyl Slivocký
Special Envoy for the Holocaust, Interfaith Dialogue and Freedom of Religion Robert Řehák
With thanks to The Tablet, where this article originally appeared.