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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Archbishop Gallagher: The Pope’s priority at this point is to go to Ukraine

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Pope Francis wants to go to Kiev, even without being invited to Moscow, assured the head of Vatican diplomacy Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, quoted on Tuesday by the daily “L’Osservatore Romano”. He added that the Pope’s priority was to travel to Ukraine.

In one of the interviews in early July, Francis said that he would like to go to Russiato “contribute to the cause of peace.”

– Now it’s possible that when I come back from Canadamaybe I can go to Ukraine the Pope then explained, referring to his impending journey across the ocean from 24 to 30 July. “The first thing is to go to Russia to help somehow, but I would like to go to both capitals,” he added.

The Pope “feels obliged to go to Ukraine”

Referring to these words, Archbishop Gallagher – Secretary for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See – declared that the Pope “wants and feels obliged to go to Ukraine”, although he did not receive an invitation to Moscow.

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“The two are not related,” he pointed out.

A British clergyman said that “the Pope’s first priority at this point is to go to Ukraine, meet the authorities, the people and the Catholic Church.”

He reiterated that the issue of a possible trip to Ukraine would be “seriously” considered in August.

Pope Francis wants to go to KievPAP / ANSA

“There was no invitation to mediation”

Archbishop Gallagher emphasized that “without disregarding violence and conflict,” it is the role of the Holy See to encourage negotiation and the restoration of peace. He also made the reservation that on the part of Russia “there was no explicit invitation for the Holy See to mediation”.

As he explained, “to some extent” contacts with the Russian side are maintained through the apostolic nuncio in Moscow.

“The position of the Holy See has been appreciated, but nothing more than that,” he said.

Main photo source: PAP / ANSA

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