Munich Security Conference 2023 Munich Security Conference 2023  (ANSA)

Archbishop Gallagher stresses need to end war in Ukraine

In an extensive interview with journalist Gerard O’Connell of America Magazine, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, underscores the urgent need to halt the fighting in Ukraine and work for a just peace. He also echoes concerns over the increasing threats to global peace and nuclear disarmament.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Acknowledging the grim reality of war in Ukraine with no end in sight, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, expressed his concerns and hopes about the reality there and the future of global peace in a feature interview with journalist Gerard O’Connell of America Magazine.

In his interview given on the eve of the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine, the Archbishop admitted that despite global wishes for an end to the conflict, “the reality of the war will continue, and the war continues to provoke death and destruction.” And as Pope Francis has frequently said, “we have to make every effort to try and find a way to end this war.”

Archbishop Gallagher participated in the recent Munich Security Conference, focusing primarily on Ukraine and support for the country. The gathering did not have the presence of Russia there, an occasion that could have offered an “exchange of ideas and positions and challenges which might have been useful in the circumstances,” he observed. What came out of that meeting for him was the sense of “underlying anxiety” regarding the Ukraine situation and what will be required to continue offering this special solidarity where there is increasing concern among public opinion reflective of a wider “anxiety and preoccupation” over what to do, how far to go, and where it could lead.

Regarding Russia’s suspension in participating in the New START Treaty on nuclear arms, Archbishop Gallagher in the interview said this is “very bad news,” and part of the “tremendous erosion of the nuclear conventions and treaties in recent years,” that requires renewed efforts “to try and resurrect the structure, the architecture of nuclear nonproliferation.” This is also signifying we live in a more dangerous world, he pointed out, while the Holy See always remains committed to promoting “a vision of a non-nuclear armed world.”

While the bleak outlook for peace characterized the atmosphere at the Munich Conference, Archbishop Gallagher said the Holy See’s role is ever more important in trying “to keep alive the hope, the dream of peace,” despite the emphasis of nations focusing on military victory first, and peace discussions later. Regarding the phrase of US President Joe Biden of guaranteeing support to Ukraine 'as long as it takes,' he interprets that less as a risk to a possible escalation and more as “a political and a material commitment to supporting the Ukrainians.” Archbishop Gallagher notes that the Holy See supports “the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” while also it also recognizes “the liberty and the freedom of the Ukrainian people to their self-determination.”

Contacts between the Holy See, Ukraine and Russia are continuing, Archbishop Gallagher underscores in the interview, and he describes how Pope Francis wishes “to go to both parties to this conflict,” both Kyiv and Moscow, which would be the “ideal scenario” even if that possibility is not on the horizon at this time. Ukraine has repeated its invitation, while Moscow has not yet extended one. He notes that the time and circumstances must be right for this to happen.

In conclusion, Archbishop Gallagher says it is very important to work for a just peace and an end to the hostilities.

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

25 February 2023, 16:44