CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Pope Francis is encouraging Catholics and people around the world to not just pray on Ash Wednesday next week, but also offer their 'fasting' to the people of Russia and Ukraine. Fasting means limiting consumption of things people usually take pleasure in. The Catholic Church believes it is a form of honoring God.
Bishop Micheal Mulvey of the Diocese of Corpus Christi said the Catholic Church never advocates for war. He said the Catholic Church believes fasting is a form of prayer that takes away from humans while they offer themselves to God.
“We fast, we deprive ourselves of extra food or pleasures or whatever in order to remind ourselves that God is central to our life and central to our world,” Bishop Mulvey said.
He said instead of war, the Catholic Church encourages people to reach out to their neighbor in need as opposed to being against each other.
“Christians are to be in relationship with God and with one another. Love God and love your neighbor,” he said.
Pastor of Travis Baptist Church on Weber Road in Corpus Christi, David Beirne, said people can volunteer with a disaster organization or donate to organizations benefiting Ukrainian citizens to honor them. He said while Baptists believe God does not encourage war, it can be necessary.
“It’s not that God is a war monger, but because people naturally tend to disobey him, there is sin in the world, there is evil in the world. There is evil out there that you can’t stop any other way except violently,” Pastor Beirne said.
Fernando Ramirez, the pastor of Casa de Dios Church on Ayers Street, said the Christian religion believes God doesn’t favor war because no one should be oppressed. He said in these times of crisis, people should look to the Bible for guidance.
“The Bible says that in the end days, there will be wars and rumors of war and that is the beginning of pains,” Pastor Ramirez said.
Ramirez said the Christian religion believes God wants to bring peace, and he and his congregation are praying for God to help bring peace and a resolution to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
“We pray that God watches over them and that they may not lose the hope and the faith,” he said.