Towards the end of last year, I made the decision to travel to Ukraine to spend over a week in the city of Lviv to help with the Ukrainian war effort, writes Anthony Rodrigues. Source: Catholic Herald.
Inspired by the Catholic Just War doctrine, I felt compelled to actively help Ukraine rather than simply donating from back home in the United Kingdom. Being a relatively fit 24-year-old Catholic man, I felt I was in a position to take this opportunity, and that I might regret it if I did otherwise.
I originally learned about Just War Theory in school. I believe Ukraine is fighting a just war as they have a just cause, of independence and self-determination, and that Russia is fighting an unjust war since they are not fighting with proportionality and are committing war crimes in Ukraine.
I started volunteering at the Lviv Volunteer Kitchen. The kitchen has been in operation ever since Russian troops invaded the Crimea region in 2014, the job of its volunteers to make good quality meals to deliver to Ukrainian soldiers on the frontline.
My time in the kitchen involved tiring yet rewarding work. My main role involved peeling and chopping up fruits and vegetables. I also had to help unload large batches of vegetables from delivery vans each day.
There was a friendly and welcoming atmosphere among the volunteers from across the globe, and a huge sense of camaraderie.
Despite being at war, the city was still thriving but the daunting air raid sirens that repeatedly went off during my stay were an unfortunate reminder of the ongoing war.
Applying the Just War Theory and ending up peeling vegetables might seem a slightly ridiculous outcome for such lofty aims.
But if this is what trying to live one’s faith means – or what trying to embrace your values looks like – then I am not complaining. Being able to live my Catholic-inspired values and directly contribute to the Ukraine cause made this journey an unforgettable – and un-regretful – experience.
Peeling vegetables in Ukraine under the auspices of Just War Theory: a young Catholic volunteer reflects (By Anthony Rodrigues, Catholic Herald)