Holy Week 2022 comes in a historic time of fear.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has raised an alarm about the potential for a nuclear catastrophe. The Russians’ reckless assault of nuclear power plants in Ukraine shows a suicidal and nihilistic disregard for life. Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons is a searing indictment against his character.

The United Nations has warned that Ukraine’s war-ravaged fields portend a global food crisis. Food prices have surged to record highs because of Putin’s rash and ego-driven invasion of Russia’s neighbor.

Pope Francis, on Palm Sunday, had to ask, “What kind of victory will it be to plant a flag on a pile of rubble?”

Shockingly, his counterpart in Moscow, Patriarch Kirill, on that same day called upon Russians to rally around Putin.

Earlier this month Kirill gave a chilling sermon in which he denied Ukraine’s right to exist as a sovereign nation — and denied there is such a people as “Ukrainians.”

This echoed an influential Russian analyst’s call on April 3 that “there must be total cleansing” in Ukraine with brutal punishment for its people.

This came as mass graves in Bucha and other Kyiv suburbs were being unearthed, with dozens of other corpses found on the streets. Many had been bound and executed.

Pope Francis has called for an Easter truce. But even if such a truce comes, Easter arrives amidst staggering loss and mourning in Ukraine.

We can only hope in the ubiquitous and ongoing truth of the paschal mystery, in which God turns suffering into renewal and advancement.