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How the Vatican is blessing the arms supply to Ukraine

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State
The Holy See’s Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, once again noted that “the oppressed has the right to arms” and rejected accusations levelled at Pope Francis. Tough luck for the ones who oppose weapons shipments to Kyiv under the pretence of “pacifism”

They won’t like this in Moscow. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, once again affirmed that the Ukrainian armed resistance is compatible with the Holy See’s worldview.

  • The Church remains pacifist, as he told Limes, in the sense it “works for peace, fights for peace, testifies for peace.” Still, its catechism “provides for legitimate defence,” within reasonable limits.
    • “It does not seem right to ask the attacked to give up their weapons and not to ask those who are attacking them first,” he argued.
  • The cardinal had expressed the same principles in May, when public discourse in Italy and elsewhere was rife with “pacifists” hiding behind the pretence of peace to counter the shipment of military aid toward Kyiv.

Mood swings. The Vatican’s official stance on the Russian war in Ukraine has undergone some turbulence. As the Corriere della Sera writes, Pope Francis’ possible visit to Kyiv has left the Ukrainians hot and cold at times.

  • “At first it looked as if the pope might [travel to Ukraine] straight away, his statements in Malta suggesting that Russian Patriarch Kirill should not be ‘Putin’s altar boy’ were applauded by Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.”
  • “Then, however, the Vatican’s attempt to reconcile with Moscow had cooled the mood, and the pope’s words on those in the Western front who had ‘provoked’ Putin had been the centrepiece of intense ‘clarifying talks’ between the Holy See and Ukrainian diplomacy.”

But the pope is far from being pro-Russian, stressed Cardinal Parolin. In fact, he “has unequivocally condemned the Russian aggression of Ukraine from day one, he has never put the aggressor and the oppressed on the same level, nor has he been or appeared equidistant.”

  • Pope Francis’ frequent calls to disarm and de-escalate must not be mistaken as a call for Ukrainians to give up. And some of the criticisms that’s been directed towards him are “ungenerous and even a little crass,” said the head of the Vatican’s diplomacy.
    • He noted that the pope does not play the part of “the West’s chaplain,” but rather, he speaks along the same lines as pope Paul VI, at the United Nations on October 4, 1965: “no more war!”

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