WelCom April 2022
Pope Francis has denounced the ‘perverse abuse of power’ on display in Russia’s war in Ukraine and called for aid to Ukrainians. He said Ukrainians had been attacked in their ‘identity, history and tradition’ and were ‘defending their land’.
Francis’ comments to a gathering of European Catholic representatives were some of his strongest yet in asserting Ukraine’s right to exist as a sovereign state and to defend itself against Russia’s invasion.
The pontiff did not mention Russia by name – the Vatican traditionally does not identify aggressors – but he strongly backed Ukraine.
‘The heart-breaking scream for help from our Ukrainian brothers pushes us as a community of believers not just to serious reflection but to cry with them and work for them; to share the anguish of a people wounded in its identity, history and tradition,’ Francis told the meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia.
‘The blood and tears of the children, the suffering of women and men who are defending their land or fleeing from the bombs shake our conscience. Once again humanity is threatened by a perverse abuse of power and partisan interests, which condemns defenceless people to suffer all forms of brutal violence.
On 25 March, the pope celebrated a Mass during which he consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Virgin Mary. According to tradition, one of the secrets of Fatima concerns the consecration of Russia to ‘the Immaculate Heart of Mary’, prophesising that peace will follow if the consecration is done.
The Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by a reigning pope was allegedly requested by Our Lady of Fatima in July 1917.
Pope Francis invited all the world’s bishops and religious superiors to join him in prayer during the consecration ritual. On the same day, one of Francis’ top aides, the Polish cardinal Konrad Krajewski, celebrated a consecration Mass at the Marian shrine in Fatima, Portugal, the site of the early 20th-century Marian apparitions that formed the basis of the ‘secrets of Fatima’.
Sources: The Guardian, Vatican News