The sins of mankind represent the greatest threat to world peace, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has said.In a pastoral letter to coincide with the consecration by Pope Francis of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Rt Rev. Mark Davies said sin not only took away peace but also prevented concord and healing.He said the essential message imparted by the Blessed Virgin Mary to three children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution, was that disaster could be averted only by repentance from sin, by prayer and by spiritual sacrifices.The rejection of God in preference for the destruction of sin was the root cause of war and division among people, the Bishop said in his letter, which was read in all churches and chapels of the Diocese of Shrewsbury on the weekend of Sunday March 27.He called upon Catholics to use the penitential season of Lent to return to the “open heart” of Jesus Christ on the cross and to “open the way for the world to receive God’s gift of peace”. Bishop Davies encouraged them to go to Confession, to receive and adore Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, to unite themselves in prayer with the Virgin Mary by praying the Rosary in particular and by offering small spiritual sacrifices in atonement for sin.“The power of Redemption is greater than all the destructive power of sin and evil,” Bishop Davies said. “It is truly for a mother’s help that we call.”“We recognise that it is human sin which takes away the peace of the world, the peace of families and of whole societies. Sin takes away our own peace and when this rejection of God becomes definitive, it removes our hope of everlasting peace,” he said.“It is to Mary and for a mother’s help that we now turn at this troubled hour of history. We cannot forget that the peoples of the Ukraine and Russia have been united over the centuries in great love and veneration for the Holy Mother of God who is also our mother.He continued: “Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means returning to the open Heart of her Son on the Cross. It is an invitation for all our hearts to be open to Divine love and the grace of repentance.The bishop added: “In the face of the violence and agony of war we have witnessed a greatness of heart in the generous response of so many people, not least in our Shrewsbury Diocese. Before the daily scenes of anguish in the Ukraine, we have sought to support the victims of this conflict and have prayed for peace.“In seeking the intercession of the pure heart of Mary we are led to trust that the power of Redemption is greater than all the destructive power of sin and evil. The Immaculate Heart leads us unfailingly to the fountain of redemption and grace flowing from the sacrifice of the Cross and the Eucharist, which is Christ’s one sacrifice.“This is the profession of faith we make whenever we kneel to confess our sins; or to adore, receive and share in the offering of the Holy Eucharist.”Spirit

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