Destroying grain is a “grave offense to God,” Pope Francis said, appealing to authorities in Russia as “my brothers” and urging them to resume cooperating with a United Nations’ initiative to guarantee the safe transport of grain out of Ukraine.
The young wife of the commander of the Ukrainian battalion still holed up in a steel plant in Mariupol had what she described as a “heart raising” encounter with Pope Francis.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis said he has reached out to Russian President Vladimir Putin about meeting him in Moscow, warned Russian Patriarch Kirill against becoming an “altar boy” for the Kremlin, and compared the ongoing war in Ukraine to Rwanda’s genocide.
Pope Francis on Wednesday said that international organizations, such as the United Nations, have proven to be useless in stopping violence and atrocities in the war in Ukraine.
Catholic leaders warn the exodus of Ukrainian women and children presents a prime opportunity for human trafficking, and they are taking steps to protect the refugees.
Pope Francis telephoned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before the president addressed the Italian parliament via video link March 22.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has thwarted efforts by Pope Francis to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian Archbishop Borys Gudziak said on March 15.
As Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine rages on, it’s become a staple of anti-Putin rhetoric to insist that the “whole world” is united in its outrage. U.S. President Joe Biden, for example, has said that the prayers “of the entire world” are with Ukraine, and vowed that “the world will hold Russia accountable.”
Appealing again for an end to the war in Ukraine, Pope Francis said those who invoke God to promote or justify violence “profane his name.”