pope francis

Pope Francis recently shared that The Vatican is involved in a peace mission to try and end the war between Ukraine and Russia. He told reporters during a trip home after a three-day visit to Hungary that he was willing to do anything that must be done.

Pope Francis told reporters, “I am willing to do everything that has to be done. There is a mission in course now, but it is not yet public. When it is public, I will reveal it.” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, confirmed the existence of the peace mission but expressed surprise that officials in Russia and Ukraine claimed ignorance of the Vatican initiative when asked about Francis’ comments.

Parolin said that both capitals had been informed, Vatican News reported. He was quoted as saying, “Based on my knowledge, they know, but you know how it is, in bureaucracies, it could be that communications that are supposed to arrive don’t arrive. These are just my interpretations, but I know that both parties were informed.”

During his three days in Budapest, Francis held private meetings with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has maintained relations with Moscow and the former foreign envoy of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has strongly supported the war. During the news conference, Francis was asked whether Orbán or Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church could help facilitate Vatican mediation to try to end the war. Francis replied, “You can imagine that in this meeting, we didn’t only talk about Little Red Riding Hood, right?”

The Vatican has a tradition of diplomatic neutrality and working behind the scenes to end conflicts. Francis has tried not to antagonize Moscow in his repeated expressions of solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Before Francis went to Hungary, Ukraine’s prime minister called on the pontiff and asked his help, particularly to help facilitate the return of Ukrainian children to Russia.

In February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine. Though Kyviv’s allies had warned of impending Russian aggression for months, his decision shocked many in Ukraine and worldwide. While speaking on Russian state television, Putin announced the launch of what he called a “special military operation” to “denazify” and “demilitarize” Ukraine. The first explosions were heard across Ukraine moments later.

The viciousness of Russia’s attack forced thousands of Ukrainian citizens from their homes to leave the country. The United Nations refugee agency said that at least 100,000 people fled their homes within 24 hours of the assault, primarily women, older adults and children since men stayed behind to fight.

Since Russia’s initial attack, there have been at least 62,295 deaths, close to 15,000 people are missing, and 14 million people have been displaced. Let’s continue to keep the Ukrainian people in our prayers and pray that Pope Francis can make some type of change with these peace discussions and finally bring this conflict to an end.

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