I imagine every Western politician woke up this morning wondering what to do about Russia and the Crimea. Last month it may have been Syria or North Korea. Before that, Egypt. We tend to deal with difficulties and problems sequentially, dropping one when another looms into view. It is not that Iraq and Afghanistan have been ‘dealt with’, but we are collectively great believers in ‘moving on’. We have other countries in our sights now. The trail of death and destruction is one we prefer to ignore because ultimately it is traceable back to those who gave the order to mobilise the troops or clamoured for something to be done. That qualification is important because it reminds us that in a democracy we all bear a measure of responsibility, whether active or passive. We can’t distance ourselves from it simply by saying ‘not in my name’.

I mentioned a few days ago that I had been thinking about the Crimean War of the nineteenth century. I have also been thinking about the symbolic importance of Ukraine to the Russian people, about gas pipes and oil lines, and the way in which Western politicians tend very easily to assume that an uprising or protest movement will usher in something better than before. If it doesn’t, it can be forgotten, or at least allowed to slip from the headlines, e.g. Libya. Unlike many political commentators, I have no suggestions to make regarding the dilemma we face. I have only one constructive tool to offer: prayer. To some, that will seem laughable; to others, an admission of failure; but I think myself it is the most powerful thing those of us who are not movers and shakers in the accepted sense can do. Indeed, prayer has a way of upsetting the usual order of things. It can bring hope and peace out of the darkest situation. Let us pray that it does so now.


5 thoughts on “Dilemmas”

  1. I join my prayers to yours. I often attended Mass at The Cathedral of the Holy Family, Ukraine in Exile. The warmth and friendship extended was a powerful force in uniting in Faith and harmony those of us who were not Ukrainian.

  2. I don’t ever recall hearing prayer described as a ‘constructive tool’ before. But I agree that it is an appropriate description.
    Praying is a very practical thing to do, and sometimes it is the only thing we can do.
    One very small aspect of prayer, I believe, is that it serves to shape ones own attitudes and in turn the attitudes of others with whom we come in contact. In turn through such things as twitter those attitudes might just reach the ‘movers and shakers’, who sometimes need to be moved and shaken themselves. On other occasions the movers and shakers should settle down and be at peace. Prayer can have a calming influence and just create the atmosphere that we breathe.
    I do hope peace breaks out.

  3. I wonder if the Holy Father might again nominate a day of special fasting and prayer. When he did so over Syria it truly helped to work a miracle.

Comments are closed.