Pope: ‘War of aggression against Ukraine is inhuman and sacrilegious’
By Devin Watkins
As Russia intensifies its invasion of Ukraine now in its 4th week, Pope Francis on Sunday renewed his heartfelt appeal for an end to the atrocities being committed.
The Pope’s appeal came at the Sunday Angelus address with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
He lamented the shelling of innocent civilians, including the elderly, children, and pregnant mothers.
Pope Francis also recalled his Saturday afternoon visit to the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital, where he greeted several Ukrainian children who have fled the war and are receiving treatment.
“One was missing an arm; one had a head injury...innocent children,” lamented the Pope.
Many families have been separated by the war, he said, and many children and fragile people are left to “die under the bombs without being able to receive help and find safety even in the air raid shelters.”
Long-term welcome of refugees
As millions flee Ukraine into other nations, the Pope urged Europeans to “be close to these martyred people” and welcome them wholeheartedly and generously.
He also extended that appeal, saying Ukrainian refugees must continue to be welcomed and assisted even in the weeks and months to come.
The Pope urged people to remember that those who have fled are mostly women and children now separated from their husbands and are without work.
And he called for them to be protected from “the vultures of society” who will seek to prey on them. “Please, let us protect them.”
Nearness of Catholic ministers
Pope Francis went on to thank the many Catholic Bishops and priests who have remained in Ukraine, some of whom he said he has spoken to in recent days.
He especially thanked Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, for bringing the Pope’s closeness to “the martyred Ukrainian people.”
Consecration of Russia and Ukraine
The Pope wrapped up his appeal with a reminder and an invitation for all Christians to join him on Friday, 25 March, in making “a solemn Act of Consecration of humanity, especially of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”.
“May she, the Queen of Peace, help us obtain peace,” he prayed.