Pope Francis stated that, in his opinion, “World War III has been declared” and that the war in Ukraine after the invasion of Russia “perhaps, in some way, was provoked or not prevented”, according to the transcript of the conversation. that he held a few days ago with the directors of the European cultural magazines of the Society of Jesus.
“A few years ago it occurred to me to say that we were living through a Third World War in pieces. Now, for me, the Third World War has been declared. And this is an aspect that should make us reflect. What is happening to humanity? that has had three world wars in a century? Francis said according to the transcript of this conversation published today by the newspaper “La Stampa”.
Responding to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and how it can contribute to peace, Francis said “we have to move away from the normal pattern that Little Red Riding Hood was good and the wolf was bad. Something global is emerging, with very intertwined elements.” .
And he cited the opinion of a Head of State that he met before the start of the war and who expressed his concern “about how NATO was moving.”
“I asked him why and he replied: ‘They are barking at the doors of Russia. And they don’t understand that the Russians are imperial and they don’t allow any foreign power to come near them’ and concluded by saying that ‘ the situation could lead to war. That head of state knew how to read the signs of what was happening,” Francis said.
For Francis, there is a danger of focusing only on “the brutality and ferocity with which this war is waged by the troops, generally mercenaries, used by the Russians, who prefer to send Chechens, Syrians and mercenaries” and that “it is something monster.”
But, he added, “not also seeing all the drama that’s going on behind this war, which maybe somehow was provoked or not prevented. And I register an interest in testing and selling weapons. It’s very sad, but basically this is what is at stake.”
The pontiff said that some believe that with this thought he is in favor of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “No, I am not. It is simplistic and wrong to say such a thing. But I am simply against reducing complexity to the distinction between good and evil, without thinking about roots and interests, which are very complex,” he said. .
Francis wanted to reiterate his admiration for “the heroism of the Ukrainian people” and opined that “what we have before our eyes is a situation of world war, global interests, arms sales and geopolitical appropriation, which is martyring a heroic people”.
The Argentine pontiff also stressed the danger that the attention on what is happening in Ukraine will diminish over time and asked: What will happen when the enthusiasm to help diminishes? Because things are getting cold, who is going to take care of these women? We have to look beyond the concrete action of the moment, and see how we are going to support them so that they do not fall into trafficking, so that they do not exploit them, because the vultures are already circulating”.
Jorge Bergoglio recounted that during the 40-minute conversation he had with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Cirilo, the latter read him “a statement in which he gave the reasons to justify the war” and that he replied: “Brother , we are not clerics of the State, we are pastors of the people.”
He explained that it was decided by mutual agreement to postpone the meeting that had been scheduled for June 14 in Jerusalem “so that the dialogue would not be misunderstood” and announced that he hopes to meet with the Russian patriarch in Kazakhstan in September when he attends the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, to be held in Nur-Sultan.