It is Ash Wednesday, and Pope Francis has called for a global day of fasting for peace in Ukraine. Over the last few days, several theological ethicists — Catholics and other Christians — composed the following statement on the crisis. The statement was initially circulated on February 28th amongst “Ethicists Without Borders,” which is not a formal organization but simply a Facebook group I created several years ago consisting of hundreds of theological, religious, and philosophical ethicists. Many other ethicists have signed, too. If you wish to add your name, please do so via the link at the end of the statement. – Tobias Winright

AS ETHICISTS, scholars and religious leaders, we condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s brutal, wholly unprovoked and unjustified full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

There can be no credible ethical justification in defence of this attack. Attempts by Russian spokespeople to appropriate ethical language for rhetorical effect and to fabricate a pretext for invasion were transparently disingenuous. We call on religious, moral and political leaders, if they have not yet done so, to join us in unreserved denunciation of this unconscionable act of aggression.[1]

This long-planned military assault against a democratic, independent, European sovereign state is a flagrant violation of international law, and undermines the founding principles of the UN Charter. It challenges the very basis of peace and security across Europe, which includes every nation’s right to choose their own economic and security arrangements, free from subjugation, coercion or unwarranted interference in their affairs.

We deplore and lament the tragic loss of life, enormous suffering and destruction of infrastructure and cultural heritage inflicted on the innocent people of Ukraine. We especially decry the indiscriminate and illegal attacks on civilian areas, hospitals and schools, the use of internationally banned cluster munitions, and other war crimes documented by human rights organisations.[2]

We stand in solidarity with the democratically elected president, parliament and government of Ukraine, and with the Ukrainian people courageously defending their homeland, their independence and the values of the free world. We call on people of faith and good will everywhere to mobilise spiritual and practical resources to support humanitarian relief efforts[3] and to advocate on behalf of refugees.

Russian anti-war protester. – The Guardian

We applaud the courage and compassion of the many Russian citizens protesting against this attack on their Ukrainian neighbours, relatives and friends, knowing they themselves face risks of arrest and oppression. It is our profound hope that members of the Russian military will lay down their weapons in conscientious protest against this illegal and immoral invasion, and refuse to comply with orders to participate in war crimes.

We call on people of faith and goodwill everywhere to support the growing international protests and peace vigils demanding an end to the violence and an immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine. Let us work together towards establishing a just and lasting peace in Ukraine.

Signed (To add your signature, please complete the following form):

  1. Nicholas Adams, Professor of Philosophical Theology, University of Birmingham
  2. Kevin Ahern, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Manhattan College
  3. Mark J Allman, Professor of Religious & Theological Studies, Merrimack College
  4. Dr. Nikolaos Asproulis, Deputy Director, Volos Academy for Theological Studies, Volos, Greece
  5. Christina Astorga, Professor of Christian Ethics, University of Portland
  6. James P. Bailey, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology, Duquesne University
  7. William Barbieri, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, The Catholic University of America
  8. Justin Barringer, Visiting Instructor, Ashland University Corrections Education Program
  9. Jana Bennett, Professor, University of Dayton
  10. Allan R. Bevere, Professional Fellow in Theology, Ashland Theological Seminary
  11. Jeffrey P. Bishop, M.D., Ph.D., Tenet Endowed Chair in Bioethics and Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University
  12. Dr. Dean G. Blevins, Professor of Practical Theology, Nazarene Theological Seminary
  13. Dr. Robert J. Brown, Jr., Dean Emeritus, School of Mathematics and Science, East Georgia State College
  14. Rev. Dr. Bruce P. Bouchard, St. Jacob’s (Stone) UCC
  15. Elizabeth M. Bounds, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  16. Mary C. Boys, SNJM, Skinner and McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology, Union Theological Seminary
  17. Rev. Stephen E. Braddock, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer (Ret), Florida Keys Outreach Coalition
  18. Harold Braswell, Associate Professor of Health Care Ethics, Saint Louis University
  19. Revd. Dr. Mark Bratton, University of Warwick and Diocese of Coventry
  20. James T. Brezke, SJ, S.T.D., Professor of Theology, John Carroll University
  21. Julia Brumbaugh, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Regis University (Denver)
  22. Revd. Dr. Deirdre Brower Latz, Principal, Nazarene Theological College
  23. Harold W. Burrell, Chaplain, United States Navy (Ret)
  24. Victor Carmona, Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego
  25. Kevin Carnahan, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Central Methodist University
  26. Joseph Carson, PE, President, Affiliation of Christian Engineers
  27. Dr. Jonathan Chaplin, Member, Cambridge University Divinity Faculty
  28. F.X. Charet, Retired, Former Chair, Goddard Graduate Institute, Goddard College
  29. Carolyn Chau, Associate Professor of Theology, King’s University College at Western University
  30. Ki Joo Choi, Seton Hall University
  31. Drew Christiansen, S.J., Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Human Development, Georgetown University
  32. Dolores L. Christie, Ph.D., retired, Former Executive Director of the CTSA
  33. Meghan J. Clark, Associate Professor, St. John’s University
  34. Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom, Dean of Faculty & Professor of Theology & Ethics, North Park Theological Seminary
  35. David Clough, Chair in Theology and Applied Sciences, University of Aberdeen
  36. Dr. Holly Taylor Coolman, Providence College
  37. Professor M. Shawn Copeland, Boston College
  38. Dan Cosacchi, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Marywood University
  39. Philippe Crabbé, Professor Emeritus, University Of Ottawa, Canada
  40. Dr. Richard D. Crane, Professor of Theology, Messiah University
  41. Daniel J. Daly, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry
  42. Maria Teresa (MT) Davila, Visiting Associate Professor of Practice (RTS), Merrimack College
  43. Dr Richard A. Davis, Director of the Centre for Faith in Public Life​, Wesley House, Cambridge, England
  44. Stacy Davis, Professor and Chair of Religious Studies and Theology, Saint Mary’s College
  45. Neomi De Anda, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Religious Studies University of Dayton
  46. David DeCosse, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University
  47. Nadia Delicata, Associate Professor, Faculty of Theology, University of Malta
  48. Christopher Denny, Associate Professor, St. John’s University (NY)
  49. Miguel H. Díaz, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Professor of Theology, Loyola University Chicago
  50. Mary Doak, Professor, University of San Diego
  51. Kathleen Dorsey Bellow, IBCS Director and Professor, Xavier University of Louisiana
  52. Kathy Dunn, Founder of Creation Care Church, and author at Shepherding All God’s Creatures
  53. Dr. Ron Dziwenka, Salisbury University
  54. Jason T. Eberl, Ph.D., Professor of Health Care Ethics and Philosophy, Saint Louis University
  55. Howard Ebert, Professor, St. Norbert College
  56. Dr. Opal Easter-Smith Holy Name of Mary Church
  57. Dr. Joseph J. Fahey Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice
  58. George Faithful, Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Dominican University of California
  59. Anna Floerke Scheid, Ph.D. Duquesne University
  60. Craig A. Ford, Jr., Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, St. Norbert College
  61. Curtis W. Freeman, Research Professor of Theology and Baptist Studies, Duke Divinity School
  62. Ben Fulford, Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology, University of Chester
  63. Mathew Garcia Scruggs, Ph.D., Independent Scholar
  64. William George, Emeritus Professor of Theology, Dominican University
  65. Annette M. Glaw, Visiting Lecturer of Christian Ethics, London School of Theology/Middlesex University
  66. Roberto S. Goizueta, Professor Emeritus, Boston College
  67. David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University
  68. Rev. Jeremy Hall, Associate Pastor, Towne View Baptist Church
  69. Patrick Hannon, Emeritus Professor of Moral Theology, Pontifical University, Maynooth, Ireland
  70. Rev. Christopher B. Harbin, Wingate United Methodist Church, North Carolina
  71. Kevin Hargaden, Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Dublin, Ireland
  72. Steven R. Harmon, Professor of Historical Theology, Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity
  73. Barry Harvey, Professor, Baylor University
  74. Timothy Harvie, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, St. Mary’s University, Calgary
  75. Dr. Diana L. Hayes Emerita Professor, Georgetown University
  76. Aimee Allison Hein, Ph.D., Boston College
  77. Kristin Heyer, Professor of Theology, Boston College
  78. Dr. Mary E. Hines, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Emmanuel College, Boston
  79. MaryAnn Hinsdale, IHM, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College
  80. David Hollenbach, S.J. , Pedro Arrupe Distinguished Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  81. Revd. Dr. Stephen Mark Holmes, FRHistS, Scottish Episcopal Institute
  82. Michael W. Hovey, Adjunct Instructor of Religious Studies, University of Detroit Mercy
  83. Rev. James E. Hug, S.J.
  84. Janna Hunter-Bowman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Peace Studies and Christian Social Ethics; Peace Studies Director, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
  85. Timothy P. Jackson, Bishop Mack B. and Rose Stokes Professor of Theological Ethics, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  86. Michael P. Jaycox, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Seattle University
  87. Laurie Johnston, Associate Professor of Theology, Emmanuel College
  88. Peter L. Jones, PhD, Interim Dean, Clinical Associate Professor, Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago
  89. Grace Kao, Professor of Ethics, Claremont School of Theology
  90. Rev. John Keegan, M.M., Professor Emeritus, Maryknoll School of Theology
  91. James F. Keenan, S.J., Canisius Professor, Boston College
  92. Conor Kelly, Associate Professor of Theology, Marquette University
  93. Maria Kenney, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics, Asbury Theological Seminary
  94. Donald J. Kirby, S.J., Professor, Religious Studies Department, Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY
  95. Dr. David Kirchhoffer, Australian Catholic University
  96. Rev. Joseph J. Kotva Jr., Ph.D., IU School of Medicine – South Bend
  97. Kelly Rae Kraemer, Professor of Peace Studies, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University
  98. Rev. Dr. Jonathan D. Lawrence, Canisius College
  99. Anjeanette LeBoeuf, Assistant Professor, Saint Louis University
  100. Philip LeMasters, Professor of Religion, McMurry University
  101. Amy Levad, University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
  102. Paul Lewis, Professor of Religion, Mercer University
  103. D. Stephen Long, Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
  104. Professor Gerard Loughlin, Durham University, UK
  105. Ramon Luzarraga, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology, Saint Martin’s University
  106. Patrick Lynch, S.J., Professor Emeritus, Canisius College
  107. M. Therese Lysaught, PhD, Loyola University Chicago, Pontifical Academy for Life
  108. The Rev. Dr. Robert MacSwain, University of the South (USA)
  109. Dr. Danut Manastireanu, retired Romanian Anglican theologian, Glasgow
  110. Dorie Mansen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of the Practice (RTS), Merrimack College
  111. Jules Martinez-Olivieri, Milton B. Engebretson Chair in Evangelism and Justice, North Park Theological Seminary
  112. Bryan N. Massingale, Buckman Professor of Theological and Social Ethics, Fordham University
  113. David M. May, Landreneau Guillory Chair of Biblical Studies, Central Baptist Theological Seminary
  114. Rev. Sally May, Malletts Bay UCC, Colchester, VT USA
  115. Donna M. McKenzie, Ph.D., Catholic Chaplain, Babson College
  116. Dr. Michael T. McLaughlin, Old Dominion University
  117. Mark S. Medley, Professor of Theology, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
  118. Marcus Mescher, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Xavier University
  119. Neil Messer, Professor of Theology, University of Winchester
  120. Dr. Alan G. Misenheimer, U.S. Department of State (ret.)
  121. The Rev. P. Susan Mitchell, Episcopal Diocese of Alaska
  122. David Moe, Ph.D. Candidate, Asbury Theological Seminary
  123. Xavier M. Montecel, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Ethics, Fairfield University
  124. Caesar A. Montevecchio, Assistant Director, Catholic Peacebuilding Network
  125. Dr. Jon Morgan, University of Exeter
  126. Chaitanya Motupalli, Director of Student Life, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA
  127. Rachel Muers, Professor of Theology, University of Leeds
  128. Debra Dean Murphy, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, West Virginia Wesleyan College
  129. William F. Murphy, Jr., Professor of Moral Theology, Pontifical College Josephinum
  130. Dr. Christina Nellist, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, Eastern Orthodox Theologian
  131. Dr. Cynthia R. Nielsen, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Dallas
  132. Dawn M. Nothwehr, OSF, Ph.D., The Erica & Harry John Family Endowed Chair in Catholic Theological Ethics, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago
  133. Chris Nunez, UCSC Newman Center, Diocese Of Monterey
  134. Timothy O’Donoghue, Sociologist (Retired) Donegal, Ireland
  135. Rev. David J. Ogilvie, Burlington Baptist Church, Ontario, Canada
  136. Fr. David O’Leary, STL, DPhil, Pastor Good Shepherd, Wayland, MA
  137. Melissa Pagán, Ph.D., Associate Professor Religious Studies, Mount St. Mary’s University
  138. Dr. Ron Pagnucco, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University
  139. Claudine Pannell-Goodlett, Owner, Folayan Consulting
  140. Aristotle Papanikolaou, Professor of Theology, Fordham University
  141. Karen E. Park, Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, St. Norbert College
  142. Karen Peterson-Iyer, Assistant Professor, Santa Clara University
  143. William L. Portier, Professor Emeritus, Former Mary Ann Spearin Chair of Catholic Theology, University of Dayton
  144. Christopher Pramuk, Associate Professor of Theology, Regis University
  145. Elena Procario-Foley, Driscoll Professor of Jewish-Catholic Studies, Iona College
  146. Ethna Regan, Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics, Dublin City University
  147. Emily Reimer-Barry, Associate Professor, University of San Diego
  148. Lisa R. Reiter, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago
  149. John Renard, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Theological Studies, Saint Louis University
  150. Susan Reynolds, Assistant Professor of Catholic Studies, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  151. Prof. Dr. Catherine (Kate) Rigby, Humboldt Professor of Environmental Humanities, University of Cologne
  152. Giuseppe Rizza, Italian Evangelical Alliance (AEI)
  153. Ruben Rosario Rodriguez, Professor of Systematic Theology, Saint Louis University
  154. Prof. Susan A. Ross (Emerita), Loyola University Chicago
  155. Nancy M Rourke, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theology, Canisius College
  156. John V. Salvati, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
  157. Todd Salzman, Amelia and Emil Graff Chair of Catholic Theology, Creighton University
  158. Daniel Scheid, Associate Professor, Duquesne University
  159. Gerald W. Schlabach, emeritus professor of theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)
  160. William Schweiker, Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics, University of Chicago Divinity School
  161. Leroy Seat, Professor Emeritus, Seinan Gakuin University, Fukuoka, Japan
  162. Matthew Shadle, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Marymount University
  163. Rev. Dr. Michael Shortall, Dean of Postgraduate Studies, St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth, Ireland 
  164. J. Alexander Sider, Professor of Religion and Director of Peace and Conflict Studies, Bluffton University
  165. Peter Skerratt, member of St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, Ealing, London
  166. Paulette Skiba, BVM, Professor of Theology, Clarke University
  167. Rev. John J. Slovikovski, Ph.D., Mount Aloysius College
  168. Harmon L. Smith, Emeritus Professor of Moral Theology, Duke University
  169. Ronald A. Smith, Senior Professor Emeritus of Theology, Hardin-Simmons University
  170. Ted A. Smith, A.H. Shatford Professor of Divinity, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  171. Keith Soko, Professor of Religious Ethics, St. Ambrose University
  172. Dr. Hank Spaulding, Associate Campus Pastor and Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Mount Vernon Nazarene University
  173. Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, Baptist World Alliance Historian and Affiliate Professor of Church History, Northern Seminary
  174. Dr. Jacqui Stewart, Honorary Research Fellow, Dept of Theology and Religions, University of Exeter
  175. Brian Stiltner, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Sacred Heart University
  176. Laura Stivers, Professor of Ethics, Dominican University of California
  177. Philip E. Thompson, Professor of Systematic Theology, Sioux Falls Seminary
  178. Jacob W. Torbeck, Ph.D., Instructor of Theology, Loyola University Chicago
  179. David Turnbloom, Associate Professor, University of Portland
  180. William Tullius, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, The American University in Cairo
  181. Dr. Jacaranda Turvey Tait, Liverpool John Moores University
  182. Elisabeth T. Vasko, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology, Duquesne University
  183. Andrea Vicini, S.J., Michael P. Walsh Professor of Bioethics, Boston College
  184. Aana Marie Vigen, Ph.D., Professor, Loyola University Chicago
  185. Paul Wadell, Professor Emeritus of Theology and Religious Studies, St. Norbert College
  186. Andrew Walsh, Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Culver-Stockton College
  187. Kate Ward, Assistant Professor, Marquette University
  188. Myles Werntz, Associate Professor of Theology, Abilene Christian University
  189. Rev. Dr. James E. White, retired editor, The Religious Herald, Baptist General Association of Virginia
  190. Todd Whitmore, Associate Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
  191. Joseph Wiinikka-Lydon, Assistant Director of Teaching Excellence and Lecturer in Religion and Ethics, Guilford College
  192. Dr. George R. Wilkes, Project on Religion and Ethics in the Making of War and Peace
  193. Michael Wilkinson, Ph.D., Retired professor of Philosophy, St. John’s Seminary, Wonersh, England
  194. Reggie L. Williams, Professor of Christian Ethics, McCormick Theological Seminary
  195. Tobias Winright, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics and Health Care Ethics, Saint Louis University
  196. Paul J. Wojda, Associate Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)
  197. George Yancy, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy, Emory University

[1] List of statements condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from scholars and religious, moral and political leaders around the world.

Statement on Ukraine from the Methodist Presidency.

Attack on Ukraine ‘an act of great evil’—statement from Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

‘A repeat of Cain’s sin’: Orthodox leaders condemn Russian attack on Ukraine.

Ukraine: CEC together with global Christian organisations condemns assault.

European Evangelical Alliance: ‘Unjustified and unprovoked war.’

Catholics in Europe react to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Statement on the War in Ukraine by Scholars of Genocide, Nazism and World War II.

An open letter from Russian scientists and science journalists against the war with Ukraine.

Statement by the North Atlantic Council on Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

87 Countries condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the UN.

G7 Leaders’ Statement on the invasion of Ukraine by armed forces of the Russian Federation.

[2] Amnesty International: Ukraine: Russian military have carried out indiscriminate attacks.

Amnesty International: Ukraine: Cluster munitions kill a child and two other civilians taking shelter at a preschool.

For an ethical analysis of cluster munitions, see Tobias Winright, “Predictably Horrific: The Afterlife of Cluster Bombs,” Commonweal 138, no. 6 (March 25, 2011): 11-12

[3] UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency and ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross have capable local staff, good logistics and access to difficult territory beyond the reach of many other organisations.