Pope Francis Must Offer Greater Clarity on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

Christopher White writes:

Ukraine’s foreign minister on Dec. 9 said that the Holy See cannot call on both Russia and Ukraine to bring about peace and that if the Vatican wants to play a role in an eventual peace negotiation, it must be willing to “call a spade a spade” and put the responsibility squarely on Russia to end the nine-month long war.

“Do not try to use the following argument: ‘I am trying to fix this issue, therefore, I cannot call a spade a spade, I have to be neutral in my public comments, otherwise, it will scare off the Russians,’ ” said said Dmytro Kuleba, who has served as the minister of foreign affairs under Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky since 2020.

“This is what we don’t accept,” he said….

“When you say, ‘I call on President Putin to stop the war,’ that makes perfect sense because President Putin started the war, and this is what you’re telling him to do,” said Kuleba.

But by calling on Zelensky to be open to serious peace negotiations, the pope gives the impression that the Ukrainian president is “not open to peace proposals and that he needs to be called upon to become open to it, which is simply not true,” the foreign minister said….

Kuleba did not mince words about Kirill or the Moscow Patriarch’s role in the war.

“The Russian Orthodox Church betrayed God,” he said. “Everything they do is against God’s will. I don’t think it’s neither morally nor politically acceptable to be affiliated with this institution.”…

As for what a “serious proposal for peace” might look like, as requested by Francis, Kuleba’s position is based on one fundamental principle: “the territorial integrity of Ukraine must be restored in full. Then, we can talk about everything else.”