The Pope in Kyiv? With Francesco everything is possible
We will see Pope in Kyiv or Lviv? The new Ukrainian ambassador to the Vatican, Andriy Yurashhe passionately invited him to “put his feet on Ukrainian soil”. With Francesco everything is possible. If it happened, however, there is no doubt that the pontiff would reserve a particular gesture also to the Russian people.
Next Friday the Pope will consecrate Ukraine and Russia to the “Immaculate Heart of Mary”. Bergoglio uses the popular tradition of the controversial prophecies of Fatima as a priest who pulls out an ancient vestment from the sacristy cupboard. What he cares about is delivering a timely and urgent message: Russians and Ukrainians must not fall into the spiral of hatred and endless conflict.
Therefore the only shared goal is to build peace. With effort, with tenacity, with the awareness of all the issues at stake, with the rational acceptance that there are interests to be reconciled. In this sense, Francis intercepts the aspirations and reflections also of secular environments for which it should not be forgotten that the outcome of the ongoing clash must be the overcoming of the war and not the “Annihilation of the enemy”.
Even yesterday the Pope denounced the “violent aggression against Ukraine, a senseless massacre where havoc and atrocities are repeated every day”. The cardinals he sent to Ukraine in recent weeks have given him first-hand information. “There is no justification for that!” He exclaimed. Concluding with what remains his nagging: “I beg all the actors of the international community to commit themselves to put an end to this repulsive war”.
In any case, Bergoglio strives to maintain the connection with all the protagonists of the match. Last week, speaking on a video call with the Russian patriarch Kirillinvolved him in the “desire to indicate as shepherds a path to peace … to stop the fire“. A statement specifies that “both underlined the exceptional importance of the ongoing negotiation process”.
The interview also served the pontiff to convey to his interlocutor the concept that “wars are always unfair. Because the one who pays is the people of God ”. An intervention to psychologically interact with a patriarch, who had just donated the image of the Madonna “Theotokos” to the Russian National Guard as a pledge of protection and victory.
In the Vatican the concern for the war in Ukraine is very high. “The situation is much more serious than one might imagine,” says an archbishop who knows Bergoglio very well. He worries about the verbal escalation of the leaders against whom the Cardinal Secretary of State has already warned, Pietro Parolin. The concern is the expressed unwillingness to admit that they are their “Legitimate interests” that are important to both sides in the conflict.
Concerns about the emergence of opinions that some of the no-fly zones can be organized, regardless of the risk of a direct confrontation between aviation Nato and Russian aviation. Concern is the possessed style that makes its way in institutional statements or in the mass media. The aesthetics of war, against which Avvenire warns. The blindness of not understanding that we must get out of “trap” war.
Much of the Catholic world, totally rejecting Putin’s aggression, shudders when hearing the US general Wesley Clark, the protagonist of the bombings on Serbia in 1999, affirm that “we have a moral duty to show the Russians US superiority”. The same thinking group of the Catholic world refuses to close their eyes to the fact that the ever closer relationship between NATO and Ukraine established in the last eight years, even with joint military exercises, has fueled the feeling of being pushed into a corner.
But above all in part of the Catholic world and the Vatican diplomatic spheres, the awareness is acute that the planetary order can no longer be unipolar. The American political scientist Fareed Zakaria described it like this: “The Pax Americana is over. The US is no longer the only global power while remaining the dominant one ”. How can one think then that Washington can delude itself into asking “either with me or against me” from China, Pakistan, India, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, the Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia? The weaves are much more complex.
India is an example. It is part of the “Quad” group with the United States, Japan, and Australia to counterbalance China on the peaceful chessboard, but it participates in the “Shanghai Cooperation” with China, Russia, and Kazakhstan. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It is also a member of “Brics”, an economic-commercial group that unites Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa.
Is it conceivable that only one part of the world could believe that it is putting the other states in line? This is the reason why the reflection in the Vatican is widespread that the Ukrainian crisis is a prodrome of the need for new world order. Cardinal Zuppi of Bologna calls it the “architecture of dialogue between countries and nations”. Interviewed by Futurethe strategic analyst Arduino Paniccia of the Venice School of Economic Competition underlines that the case of Ukraine “must be inserted into a larger scenario”. At the right moment, it will be necessary to go to “high-level negotiations concerning the great powers”.
Tomorrow Ukrainian president Zelensky will address the Italian Parliament, which has practically voted unanimously the support also with military material against the invasion. The staff who collaborate in his speeches will have to know the pulse of our public opinion well. Italians are rhetorical in bars or on talk shows, but extremely realistic in fundamental situations. They do not believe that it takes place between Moscow and Kyiv a metaphysical struggle they become wary of repeated rhetoric in official headquarters.
Siding with conviction on the side of the Ukrainians, however, they do not want to hear about a third world war already begun and least of all of “closed skies” or no-fly zone, which behind the apparent neutrality of the term means concretely risking a nuclear war. President Biden wisely said no, NATO said no, and the Italians say no.