Pope Francis Condemns Russia’s “Abuse of Power” in Ukraine
Francis’s remarks, in a message to a gathering of European Catholic representatives, identified Ukraine’s right to exist as a sovereign state and some of its strongholds to defend itself against Russian aggression.
Francis told Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, that the notion of “just war” was obsolete because war was never fair and the clergy must promote peace, not politics.
During a video call with Kirill on Wednesday, the comments were an indirect jab at the apparent defense of the warlord. Kirill, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, justified it by apparently describing it as part of the fight against sin and as part of the pressure on liberal foreigners to “parade gay”. He blamed the West and a fellow orthodox patriarch for fomenting animosity between Ukraine and Russia, and reiterated that Putin was “a man.”
In his remarks on Friday, Francis did not name Russia – proof of the Vatican’s tradition of not identifying the attackers and an attempt to keep a dialogue open with the Church of Kirill. But Francis strongly supported Ukraine.
“The heartfelt cry for help from our Ukrainian brothers is not only a serious reflection of our faith as a community, but also to cry with them and work for them; He said this.
“The blood and tears of children, the suffering of men and women who are defending their land or fleeing the bombings, shake our conscience. Humanity is once again threatened by the perverse abuse of power and biased interests, which condemns helpless people to be victims of all forms of brutal violence. “
On March 25, Francis will hold a mass celebration during which he will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Virgin Mary in a ceremony that has deep significance for Catholic believers. According to tradition, one of Fatima’s so-called mysteries, “Mary’s unadulterated heart”, expresses concern about the sanctification of Russia, predicting that peace will come when the sanctification is completed.
The Vatican confirmed on Friday that Francis had invited all the world’s bishops and religious dignitaries to join him in prayer during the consecration ceremony, adding a universal dimension to the law. Also, on the same day, one of Francis’ top associates, the Polish cardinal Conrad Krazevsky, will celebrate a holy mass in Fatima, Portugal, the site of the early 20th century Marian advents that formed the “foundation of Fatima’s privacy”. “