The horror of the war “falls into the gut” when it is told by refugees, says cardinal – Lose 20 pounds in a month diet plan

Cardinal Michael Czerny, interim president of the Department for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, and Jesuit Father SajgÛ Szabolcs of the Jesuit Refugee Service, speak with a refugee who fled Odessa, Ukraine, and arrived at Nyugati Station in Budapest, Hungary. March 2022. Cardinal Czerny, as a special envoy of Pope Francis, said that while reading about the war triggers anger, the meeting with the refugees unleashes compassion. (CNS / Vatican Media photo)

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Following the news of the war in Ukraine is important, said Cardinal Michael Czerny, but the meeting with the victims of that war – people forced to flee – has a different impact.

“The impact on your eyes when you see (through the media) the bombings and the destruction and the blood and all that” is outrageous, he told Catholic News Service. But “when you meet people running away and leaving everything behind, the impact is on the gut” and triggers compassion.

At the beginning of March, Pope Francis sent Cardinal Czerny, the interim president of the Department for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, to the Hungarian-Ukrainian border to show his closeness to the victims of the war and his appreciation for those who help them.

Speaking to CNS on the phone in Budapest, Hungary, on March 10, the cardinal said he met a woman from rural Ukraine who was forced to flee, leaving all her animals behind. “I do not say that she cried for her animals, but that was her life and the life of her family for generations. And now, all of a sudden, she was ripped out of it and she has absolutely nothing. “

The look in her eyes and the sadness in her voice “fit in the intestines in a physical way,” the cardinal said.

After spending several hours in Barabás, a border town where the Hungarian government, Caritas Hungary and other charities welcome refugees, Cardinal Czerny was taken across the border to Beregove, Ukraine, to meet with local Eastern Catholic bishops and Latin.

What he found in return was the bishops along with representatives of the local Protestant and Jewish communities – all working together to help the ancestors.

“It was a happy surprise,” he said. “It seemed like the most natural, normal, and necessary thing to do.”

But another evil lurks in the darkness of war, the cardinal said: the danger of human trafficking.

Even if they want to, men of combat age are not allowed to leave Ukraine, so refugees are mostly women fleeing with their children.

“This is exactly when the traffic is speeding up, because they have such a large and vulnerable population of young women, young children,” he said. “A stranger comes to you when you need him most and says, ‘Do you want help?’ and you innocently say yes “, and the consequences can be devastating.

One thing the cardinal said he tried to do on his journey is to educate local church representatives and volunteers about the danger and how to help.

More than 2.3 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the war on February 24, according to figures compiled on March 9 by the UN Refugee Agency. More than 200,000 refugees – Ukrainians, as well as foreign students and workers from Africa and Asia – have crossed the border into Hungary.

The rapid organization of the assistance, he said, is due to the Hungarian government, working with Caritas Hungary and other organizations and hundreds of volunteers.

“People in the church can not only distribute sandwiches and cups of tea, but also direct people to any support or services they need,” he said. For example, the government has provided transport permits so that refugees can travel for free by bus and train, including through Hungary, to another border crossing point where their relatives may be waiting for them.

Cardinal Czerny also met on March 9 with Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén and encouraged the Hungarian government to continue to expand its assistance to refugees.

“For this to be a true grace,” the cardinal told CNS, “it must be extended in time and applied universally. There is no such thing as a person who is justified in closing the door and saying, “You don’t deserve help.”

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