PFor the first time, Pope Francis has publicly announced arms deliveries to the Ukraine considered morally justifiable under certain conditions. It is not only permissible to use armed force to defend one's homeland against an attack from outside, this is also morally imperative as an "expression of love for the fatherland", he told journalists traveling with him on Thursday evening during the return flight from Kazakhstan to Rome. The decision to support a victim of aggression in self-defense is therefore also morally justified in view of the Church's teaching on just war.
On the other hand, the decision could weapons shipments but also "being immoral," the Pope continued, provided "the intention behind it is to foment the war or to sell or give away weapons that one can no longer use oneself". It is therefore the motivation of those who deliver the weapons that "largely determines the moral character of this action".
Francis: "We are in a world war"
Pope Francis had not previously commented so clearly on arms deliveries and Ukraine's right to self-defense. In early May, in an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, when asked whether it was right to deliver arms to Ukraine, he replied: "I can't say that, I'm too far away for that". Only Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Vatican Foreign Minister Paul Gallagher had expressly affirmed Ukraine's right to self-defense. Previously, accusations had grown louder that the Vatican did not side with Ukraine clearly enough and did not explicitly name Putin as an aggressor.
Pope Francis attended a two-day meeting of religious leaders in Nur-Sultan, calling for greater commitment to world peace. "Everyone always talks about peace," the Pope repeated at the traditional press conference on the plane, a thought he had repeatedly expressed in speeches in Kazakhstan: "The United Nations has been talking about peace for 70 years. But how many wars are raging again today?” The Pope also repeated the assessment that “we are in a world war” in front of the journalists traveling with him on the plane.
Francis reiterated the conviction that the thread of dialogue should never be broken, even in war situations. Of course, it is "always difficult" to talk to countries that have started a war. “But we must not declare it hopeless, we must open up the possibility of a dialogue with everyone – with everyone! - keep open. Because in dialogue there is always the possibility that things will change, that other views will also be put forward. I don't rule out dialogue with any power - whether she is at war or whether she is the aggressor. Such a dialogue is necessary: it may stink, so to speak, but it is necessary.”
A meeting between the Pope and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill I that had been planned for the religious congress in Nur-Sultan did not take place because Moscow canceled at short notice. Instead, Francis exchanged views with the head of the Russian delegation, Metropolitan Antony. After the conversation, he explained that the Russian Orthodox Church still considers a meeting between the two church leaders to be important and worth striving for.
Regarding the exchange with China, Francis said it was difficult and required a lot of patience. “It takes a century to understand China. But we are not living a century,” said Francis. The Chinese rhythm of life, culture and history is different, much slower. But for mutual understanding, the path of dialogue must be taken. "It is not easy to understand the Chinese mentality," said the Pope. Currently, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has the most knowledge about China at the Holy See.
Of the Vatican appears to be on the verge of extending the secret and tentative agreement with Beijing on the September 2018 consensual appointment of bishops by two more years.