Pope - War “perhaps somehow either provoked nor prevented”

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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 64
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15 Jun 2022, 8:56 am

CBS News

Pope Francis has told a group of European Jesuit news editors that the war in Ukraine was "perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented," and he cautioned against oversimplifying the conflict.

In an interview published Tuesday in the Jesuit publication "La Civilta' Cattolica," the pope said that in Russia's war on Ukraine, "there are no metaphysical good guys and bad guys, in an abstract sense."

He said that months before the war, a head of state warned him that NATO was "barking at the gates of Russia," and that Russia would not tolerate it, which could lead to war.

The leader, who Francis did not identify, "was able to read the signs of what was taking place," the pontiff said.

In his conversation with the Jesuits, Francis condemned the "brutality and ferocity of the Russian troops" invading Ukraine and pummelling it with artillery. He called the use of mercenaries, in particular, "monstrous."

But the pope cautioned that focusing solely on Russia's violence could prevent people from understanding "the whole drama unfolding behind this war, which was perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented. And note the interest in testing and selling weapons."

His motivation to try to walk such a fine line is likely rooted in the Vatican's historical stance of maintaining an open dialogue with all sides in global conflicts, so it can help mediate for peace.

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