Vatican Decries ‘Tragic’ Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Cardinal Pietro Parolin said in a video statement on Feb. 24 that Pope Francis’ appeal for ‘peaceful coexistence’ in the region has ‘dramatic urgency’ amid the ‘horrors of war.’
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin lamented on Thursday the “tragic scenes” taking place in Ukraine after Russia’s attack and said wisdom is needed to save the world “from the folly and horrors of war.”
“The tragic scenes which everyone feared are unfortunately becoming reality,” Cardinal Parolin said in a video statement on Feb. 24, after Ukrainian officials reported that Russia had launched a full-scale invasion of their country.
Cardinal Parolin added that Pope Francis’ appeal on Wednesday for “peaceful coexistence” in the region “acquires a dramatic urgency after the beginning of Russian military operations in Ukrainian territory.”
Starting in the early morning on Feb. 24, Russian military breached the border of Ukraine at several points. Russian shelling and missile strikes on military headquarters and airfields were also reported.
Ukrainian officials said, as of almost 3:00pm local time, that Russia had carried out 203 attacks across the country since before dawn, according to Reuters.
In his statement, Cardinal Parolin said, despite the news coming out of Ukraine, there was still hope that, with the exercise of wisdom, peace could prevail.
“There is still time for goodwill; there is still room for negotiation. There is still room for the exercise of a wisdom that prevents the prevalence of partisan interests, protects the legitimate aspirations of each and spares the world from madness and saves the world from the folly and horrors of war,” he said.
“We believers do not lose hope for a glimmer of conscience from those who hold the destinies of the world in their hands,” the cardinal said. “And let us continue to pray and fast — we will do so next Ash Wednesday — for peace in Ukraine and throughout the whole world.”
During his public audience on Feb. 23, Pope Francis called for March 2, Ash Wednesday, to be a day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine.