Pope, Brazil’s president hold phone call about peace in Ukraine, fight against poverty

Pope Francis speaks by phone with Brazilian President Lula da Silva to discuss their hopes for peace in Ukraine and efforts to combat poverty, with the President inviting the Pope to make a second visit to Brazil.

By Salvatore Cernuzio

Working for peace in Ukraine was among the subjects discussed during the phone discussion between Pope Francis and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Wednesday morning.

The Holy See Press Office confirmed the conversation, which had already been made public in the afternoon by a brief communiqué published on the website of the Government of Brazil, in which the topics at the heart of the conversation between the Pope and the 77-year-old political leader were revealed.

President Lula—who recently reaffirmed his proposal for a group of nations, including Brazil, to arbitrate a peaceful conclusion to Russia’s war in Ukraine—thanked Pope Francis for encouraging peace in the "martyred" country.

According to the Brazilian government, he also briefed the Pope about his conversations with other leaders in the search for peace in Ukraine, expressing sorrow over the region's escalation of hostilities.

President Lula also expressed his gratitude for the Pope’s struggle against poverty and the dedication displayed by the Catholic Church in Brazil to the preservation of the Amazon Basin, which is under attack from forces seeking to exploit the world's "green lung."

This is a pressing problem in view of the recent violent demonstrations in the Latin American country by indigenous people who claim they have been robbed of their lands.

Invitation to visit Brazil again

In Wednesday’s phone conversation, President Lula also wished to thank the Pope for “his expressions of solidarity with Brazil in recent years,” according to the Brazilian government.

President Lula also discussed with Pope Francis the endeavor to renew the battle against poverty and hunger in Brazil.

He then asked the Pope to visit the nation, and according to institutional website reports, Pope Francis said he would take the request into consideration. Such a visit would be the Argentine Pope’s second journey to Brazil, after one in July 2013, a few months after being elected as Pope, on the occasion of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.

President Lula would also be expected for an audience in the Vatican sometime in June or July of this year, according to the message.

Again, this would not be Lula's first meeting. He visited the Vatican in March 2009, while Benedict XVI was Pope. He then returned on 13 February 2020 to meet with Pope Francis.

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31 May 2023, 19:39