Pope to 'La Nacion': I am ready to do everything to stop the war
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
Pope Francis says he is ready to do everything to stop the war in Ukraine, and insists that the Vatican is working tirelessly diplomatically to achieve peace.
The Holy Father gave this assurance in an interview with the Argentinian daily newspaper La Nacion published 21 April, telling journalist Joaquin Morales Solá, that even if he is not planning to go to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv or meet Patriarch Kirill in the near future, "there are always" efforts to arrive at peace in Ukraine.
Attempts will never stop
"The Vatican never rests," he insists, noting, "I cannot tell you the details because they would cease to be diplomatic efforts. But the attempts will never stop."
As the war wages on in Ukraine and the massacres continue, Pope Francis has made countless appeals and has sent numerous envoys to the nation to bring humanitarian assistance and meet with refugees. On Palm Sunday, the Holy Father called for a truce in the war-ravaged nation this Easter, exclaiming, "Let the weapons be put down! Let the Easter truce begin."
While Catholics of the Latin Rite already celebrated Easter Sunday, the Orthodox and some Oriental Catholic Churches celebrate Easter this weekend.
So there wouldn't be one more death in Ukraine
In the interview, the Pope was asked about his visit to the Russian Embassy to the Holy See, alone, on Via della Conciliazione, on the morning of 25 February.
"I went alone. I didn’t want anyone to accompany me. It was a personal responsibility of mine. It was a decision I made in a sleepless night thinking about Ukraine. It is clear to those who want to see things as they are that I was signaling to the government that it could put an end the war immediately. To be honest, I wanted to do something so that there would not be one more death in Ukraine. Not one more. I am willing to do everything."
Regarding the possibility of a visit to Ukraine, in light of multiple invitations, the Holy Father said, "I cannot do anything that puts higher objectives at risk, which are the end of the war, a truce or, at least, a humanitarian corridor. What good would it do for the Pope to go to Kyiv if the war continued the next day?"
On the motivations which led to the outbreak of the war, the Pope reflects: "All war is anachronistic in this world and at this level of civilization."
"That is why I also publicly kissed the Ukrainian flag," he explains. "It was a gesture of solidarity with their deceasad, with their families, and with those who suffer emigration."
Could lead to confusion
The Pope was also asked why he does not name Putin or Russia when speaking about the war.
"A Pope," he says, "never names a Head of State, much less a country, which is superior to its Head of State."
The Holy Father was also asked about his relationship with Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow. The two had a historic meeting in Havana, Cuba, during a stopover on the way to Pope Francis' 2016 Apostolic Visit to Mexico.
While describing the relationship as "very good," the Pope continues, noting: "I am sorry that the Vatican has had to cancel a second encounter with Patriarch Kirill, which we had scheduled for June in Jerusalem. But our diplomacy maintained that a meeting between us in this moment could lead to much confusion." The Pope says he always promoted interreligious dialogue.
"When I was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, I brought together Christians, Jews and Muslims in a fruitful dialogue ," he said, "It was one of the initiatives that I am most proud of. It is the same policy that I promote in the Vatican. As you have heard from me many times, for me, agreement is superior to conflict."