Pope: War in Ukraine would be ‘madness’

Pope Francis on Wednesday said that war in Ukraine would be “madness,” adding that he hopes that tensions lessen with Russia through “serious dialogue.”

“Let us continue to beg the God of peace so that the tensions and threats of war can be overcome through a serious dialogue and that the Normandy Format talks can contribute to this aim,” Francis said, according to Reuters, referring to negotiations involving the two countries, facilitated by Germany and France.

“And let’s not forget. War is madness,” he added.

The pontiff made the comments while speaking to his general audience on Wednesday, also thanking those who took part in his Jan. 26 international day of prayer for peace in Ukraine, Reuters noted.

Russia has amassed military troops near Ukraine in recent months, but has repeatedly denied it will invade. However, Russia has demanded that the country not be let into NATO and asked Western countries to pull military operations out of Eastern Europe.

Most of Ukraine follows Orthodox Christianity, but it is also home to its own branch of the Catholic Church, according to Reuters. The branch, referred to as the Eastern-rite Catholics, practices an eastern rite similar to Orthodox worship while also proclaiming loyalty to the pope in Rome, the wire service reported.

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, of Ukraine’s Eastern-rite Catholics, invited Pope Francis on Tuesday, saying it would be a massive gesture amid tensions with Russia, according to Reuters.

“We have several times expressed the desire that the Holy Father visit Ukraine,” he said. “We have invited him and repeated it often. We are hopeful. Gestures are very important and visiting Ukraine would be a very strong gesture for all of humanity.”

Tags Pope Francis Pope Francis Russia troop buildup Ukraine
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