Pope Francis blesses a Ukrainian girl wounded in the war Pope Francis blesses a Ukrainian girl wounded in the war 

Pope: ‘War of aggression against Ukraine is inhuman and sacrilegious’

Pope Francis calls the war in Ukraine an act of violent aggression and a sacrilege without justification, and appeals for an end to the violence and long-term welcome of Ukrainian refugees.

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.

“[ Unfortunately, the violent aggression against Ukraine does not stop, a senseless massacre where every day there is a repetition of slaughter and atrocities. There is no justification for this! I plead with all those involved in the international community to truly commit to ending this abhorrent war. ]”

The Pope’s appeal came at the Sunday Angelus address with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.

Innocents killed

He lamented the shelling of innocent civilians, including the elderly, children, and pregnant mothers.

“[ All this is inhuman! Indeed, it is also sacrilegious because it goes against the sacredness of human life, especially against defenseless human life, which must be respected and protected, not eliminated, and this comes before any strategy! Let us not forget it is inhuman and sacrilegious cruelty! ]”

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.”

Pope Francis gazes at a Ukrainian baby who fled the war
Pope Francis gazes at a Ukrainian baby who fled the war

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.

“[ As you know at first, we do all we can to welcome everyone, but then we can get used to it, and our hearts cool a bit, and we forget about it. ]”

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.

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20 March 2022, 12:39