Pope Francis condemns Vladimir Putin’s ‘childish and destructive aggressiveness’, without naming him

Pope Francis speaks during his visit to Malta, April 2, 2022.

On his way to Rome, about AD 60, the Apostle Paul had been shipwrecked off the Maltese coast and had been taken in by the natives, who had welcomed him and whom he had not failed to evangelize. On Saturday, April 2, Pope Francis, successor to Peter, arrived in Malta for a two-day visit to an archipelago where Catholic practice, while still widespread, is in decline as elsewhere in Europe, a movement accentuated by the Covid-19 crisis. pandemic. However, the crowd that gathered along the route, starting from the airport and then in front of the presidential palace, testified that the Catholic impression is still very strong.

The proclamation of the Gospel, placed by the Argentine Pope at the heart of the new Vatican Constitution, promulgated on March 19, would initially be one of the main themes of this journey to the Mediterranean. The war in Ukraine stole the show a bit. The head of the Catholic Church on Saturday morning devoted nearly half of the lengthy speech he delivered on his arrival, as on any trip abroad, to the conflict for the country’s political leaders.

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Since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Francis has increased his pleas for an end to… “this barbaric cruelty”“this violent aggression against Ukraine”“this disgusting war”† But he had so far refused to accuse Russia or Vladimir Putin by name, in keeping with the diplomatic tradition of the Holy See in Rome, alleging that he does not want to be engaged by the parties to the conflict. to talk to everyone. “The Pope is not a journalist or a politician. He is the Pope and he acts like a Pope”tweeted one of his relatives, Antonio Spadaro, director of the Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica

“The night of war has descended on mankind,” the Pope remarked

Saturday, referring to “Darkness of War” and “Tortured Ukraine”François did not deviate from this line of conduct. But he framed the profile of the warmonger he portrayed (plural in the French Vatican version, but singular in Italian and in the English translation) as “some powerful, unfortunately locked in his anachronistic pretensions of nationalist interests” who feeds “invasions from other countries, fierce urban battles and nuclear threats”† The silhouette of the Russian president emerges. “The night of war has fallen on mankind”, he wrote down. Asked on the plane that same morning about the invitation sent to him by the Mayor of Kiev, Vitali Klitschkoand supported by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensy to visit the besieged capital, he replied that the hypothesis was ” on the table “

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