Archbishop Gallagher meets with Lviv's government authorities Archbishop Gallagher meets with Lviv's government authorities  (ANSA)

Archbishop Gallagher: Vatican committed to Ukraine's territorial integrity

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher expresses Pope Francis’ love for the people of Ukraine and his commitment to peace, while meeting with government officials in the western city of Lviv.

By Devin Watkins & Svitlana Dukhovych

On Thursday, the second day of his visit to Ukraine, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States met with the Mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, and Maksym Kozytsk, the Governor of Lviv Regional State Administration, in the Curia of Lviv Archdiocese.

He was joined by Metropolitan Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki of Lviv, Auxiliary Bishop Eduard Kava, and the Ukrainian Ambassador to the Holy See, Andriy Yurash.

Archbishop Mokrzycki thanked Archbishop Gallagher for his visit, and praised the close cooperation between the Church and local authorities, especially in efforts to assist people displaced from their homes.

The Archbishop noted that Ukrainians greatly appreciate Pope Francis’ words in support of ending the war in Ukraine.

Pope’s universal mission to seek good of all

Archbishop Gallagher then spoke to the civil authorities of Lviv about the purpose of his mission to Ukraine, and reaffirmed the Pope’s affection and commitment to the people of Ukraine.

“I think that my presence here is to reassure people of this,” he said. “The Pope has a universal mission. He has to take into consideration all peoples at all times and seek their good.”

“I can assure you that [the Pope’s] pronouncements about atrocities, about the suffering that he has been aware of in the country, is most sincere. He’s trying to be as forceful as he can to defend the Ukrainian people, to point out the fact that they have their freedom, that the integrity of this country has been transgressed.”

Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity

Archbishop Gallagher reaffirmed the Holy See’s desire to help bring peace to Ukraine, while respecting the “sovereign right of the Ukrainian people and its leaders” in deciding what negotiations or actions to bring about peace.

“In our contacts with others, we have always said the Holy See remains completely committed to the territorial integrity of Ukraine. That is our bottom line.”

First-hand witness to people’s suffering

The Archbishop said he has now personally witnessed the “suffering written on people’s faces”, as well as their fear and insecurity about the future.

"When you touch these wounds with your hands in one sense," he said, "then you understand really the degree of suffering of your people and how that deserves every support and solidarity on our part.”

20 May 2022, 07:36