“Pope Francis carried out a diplomacy that today does not leave him completely calm,” says a Vatican specialist

Questioned this Sunday on franceinfo, the journalist, writer and deputy director of the publication “Christian Testimony” Christine Pedotti estimate that “Pope Francis carried out a diplomacy that today does not leave him completely calm”. Before some 50,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Rome this Sunday at noon, Pope Francis prayed for peace and an end to conflicts in the world, beginning with the war in Ukraine.

“We have seen too much blood, too much violence”, denounced the sovereign pontiff during his Easter blessing “Urbi et Orbi”. He then lamented a “Martyred Ukraine”. But Christine Pedotti points out that the Pope “Never say the name of Vladimir Putin”. EITHER, “We must dare to say that the aggressor is Russia”.

franceinfo: Pope Francis called for an Easter truce in Ukraine. He was not heard. Why is his voice not heard on the international stage today?

Cristina Pedotti: It is quite complicated. First of all, it should be noted that Ukraine is Orthodox Christian and Orthodoxy, which is also the majority religion in Russia, celebrates Easter next week. In fact, the Pope’s request for an Easter peace is a Roman peace. We can have hope for next week. Who knows ? So, his voice is also difficult to hear because, precisely, he belongs to Catholicism, which is not necessarily understood by orthodoxy. And then, perhaps also because it is an asymmetric war. It is a war in which Ukraine is the attacked and Russia the aggressor. And since the beginning of the war, Pope Francis, although he has called for peace, although he speaks of the martyred Ukraine, never mentions the name of Vladimir Putin. So it has something that, it seems to me, is not always very well raised by Pope Francis.

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The Way of the Cross on Good Friday took place in a context of controversy. At the thirteenth station, a Russian and a Ukrainian carried the crucifix together. This angered the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Was the Vatican wrong?

One of Francisco’s problems is that he is looking for an agreement. After all, he is legitimate with the Moscow Patriarchate in the person of Orthodox Patriarch Kirill whom he met in Cuba in 2016. Kirill, at the moment, shows all the signs of being in the service of Vladimir Putin. Basically, Pope Francis carried out a diplomacy that today does not reassure him at all. I mean demanding peace between Russia and Ukraine.

“Peace must be demanded from Russia. Peace must be demanded from the aggressor. Then we must dare to say that the aggressor is Russia.”

cristina pedotti

in franceinfo

The Pope is a head of state. He is not just a religious entity. But we can see for the Vatican, historically, it is always a bit difficult to know how to place oneself in this landscape. So he returned there during the “Orbi et Urbi” blessing on the subject of nuclear danger. He’s obviously in a position to do it. It is worth remembering, for example, that the intervention, 60 years ago, of Pope John XXIII had greatly contributed to avoiding a Third World War at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He had allowed the two great powers, the American and the Soviet, to find the path of reason and peace.

Pope Francis planned earlier this month to visit kyiv. We have more news. But in any case, would it be, one imagines, a strong signal for the Ukrainians?

Sure. It is true that the religious situation in Ukraine is complicated, to the credit of Pope Francis, since there are both Orthodox Christians in the Moscow obedience, Orthodox Christians in the Constantinople obedience and then Catholic Christians on the side of Rome. And then the Protestants. All this is very complex.

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