Why Pope Francis wants to go to Moscow but not Kiev

Pope Francis said on Tuesday that he wants to go to Moscow to talk to President Vladimir Putin about Russia’s war on Ukrainian territory, but has ruled out a trip to Ukraine at this point. He, however, did not receive a response from the Russian government.

Francis wants to “make a clear gesture for the whole world to see” and speak directly to Putin to try to convince him to stop the “brutality”, although he is “pessimistic”. According to him, “there is not enough will for peace”, but “war is terrible and we must scream and make every possible gesture to stop it.”

“I’m not going to Kiev now [capital ucraniana]”, he said, in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, published today. “I feel like I don’t have to go. First I have to go to Moscow, first I have to find Putin. I do what I can, if Putin will even open a door.”

The Ukrainian government asked him to go to Kiev, but the pope sent a representative.

“I said: ‘please stop’. I asked Cardinal Parolin [secretário de Estado do Vaticano]after twenty days of war, to send Putin the message that I was willing to go to Moscow,” he said.

The request, for now, has been ignored. “Of course, it was necessary for the Kremlin leader to allow some windows,” the pope said. “We continue to insist, even though I fear that Putin cannot and does not want to have this meeting now.”

Francis recalled that, in March, he spoke with Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, by video call, and criticized his colleague’s stance. He “cannot become Putin’s altar boy,” he said.

“I talked to Kirill for 40 minutes. The first twenty, with a card in his hand, he read me all the justifications for the war,” he recalled. “I listened and said to him: I don’t understand any of this. Brother, we are not state clerics, we cannot use the language of politics, but that of Jesus. We are pastors of the same holy people of God. peace, to put an end to gunfire”.

The pope has made it clear that he considers Russia to have attacked Ukraine, disrespecting a free state. “In Ukraine, it was others who created the conflict,” he declared.

kirill - Mar 16, 2022 - Vatican Media/AFP - Mar 16, 2022 - Vatican Media/AFP

In March, Pope Francis spoke via video call with Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church

Image: March 16, 2022 – Vatican Media/AFP

Health problems

Pope Francis also said, in the interview, that he will have a knee infiltration to combat the severe pain he has been feeling in recent months.

“Excuse me if I can’t get up to greet you, the doctors told me that I have to stay seated because of my knee,” he said when he received journalists from Corriere. “I have a torn ligament, I’m going to do an intervention with infiltrations. I’ve been like this for a while, I can’t walk. Before, the popes walked with gestatorial thirst [trono portátil usado antigamente por pontífices]. It takes a little pain, a little humiliation…” she said.

In April, after using a platform for the first time to board the papal plane, he showed signs that his health is not 100%, which can make it difficult for him to travel. He suffers from sciatic neuralgia, a condition that causes severe pain in his legs.

When the Ukrainian government asked him to visit Kiev, he declared that his health “has been a little erratic, but he declared that the war makes his heart ache to the point where he sometimes forgets the pain in his knees.

“Some powerful, sadly trapped in the anachronistic pretensions of nationalist interests, provokes and foments conflicts”, he said, in an unmistakable allusion to Russian President Vladimir Putin, although without naming any name.

He also denounced the “seductions of autocracy and the new imperialisms”, which pose the risk of an “extended Cold War, which can suffocate the lives of entire peoples and generations”.

In the coming months, however, the Catholic leader is expected to have a full travel schedule, with visits scheduled to Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Canada between June and July. (With international agencies)

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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