Pope Francis: Arming Ukraine can be ‘morally acceptable’

ROME – After Russia invaded Ukraine, Pope Francis initially appeared to support the Vatican’s longstanding policy of taking no sides, before finally changing strategy and make it clear that Russia is the aggressor in war.

Now, Pope Francis has weighed in on a moral dilemma, saying on Thursday that it is acceptable for countries to supply Ukraine with weapons so the country can defend itself.

“Self-defense in the face of aggression” is not only legal, Francis said, but an expression of love for the country.

But he also stressed that channels of communication with Russia should remain open even if, according to him, dialogue with the aggressor “smelts”, because “otherwise, we will close the only reasonable door leading to it.” to peace”.

Pope Francis spoke to reporters on a plane returning from a three-day trip to Kazakhstan, where he participated in an interfaith conference attended by faith leaders from 60 countries. The meeting promoted interreligious dialogue as a means of healing the evils of the world, including war.

When asked if it was right for countries to supply Ukraine with weapons, Pope Francis said it was “a political decision, possibly rational – morally acceptable – if it is accepted.” comply with the conditions of morality”. It would be immoral, he said, “if it were done with the intention of inciting more war or selling weapons or getting rid of weapons that are no longer needed.”

The interfaith conference is said to be give Francis a chance to meet Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who justified the war in Ukraine. But last month, Kirill decided not to attend and the Russian delegation was led by Metropolitan Anthony, the church’s foreign relations officer.

The two religious leaders spoke by video in March, but Kirill spent a large part of that meeting reading remarks prepared to echo the arguments of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. Francis told an Italian newspaper he told Kirill that the men were not “clericals of the state” and said that the patriarch could not be “Putin’s altar boy.”

In August, Ukrainian officials were disappointed when Pope Francis mentioned Daria Duginaa 29-year-old Russian extremist who spoke out in support of the invasion of Ukraine, and was killed by a car bomb, as an “innocent” victim.

The Ukrainian foreign minister then summoned the Vatican’s ambassador to Ukraine to express “deeply disappointed“In the words of Pope Francis. After that meeting, the Pope explicitly blamed Russia for the conflict.

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