Don't 'Play Games' With Ukraine, Pope Tells Western Nations

    Don't 'Play Games' With Ukraine, Pope Tells Western Nations
    Last updated Sep 24, 2023
    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


    • On Saturday, Pope Francis urged the West and its allies to stop playing with the "martyrdom" of the Ukrainian people in the nation's conflict with Russia, by initially deciding to provide Kyiv with weapons and subsequently considering withdrawing their support.
    • In an apparent reference to Poland, which recently announced it would stop sending weapons to Ukraine, Francis said: "I see now that some countries are moving backward... A process is starting in which the martyr certainly will be the Ukrainian people, and that is an ugly thing."
    • During a flight back to Rome following a two-day trip to Marseille, the pontiff also criticized arms dealers for exploiting the Russia-Ukraine war, stating: "The interests in this war are not just those related to the Ukrainian-Russian problem but to the sale of weapons, the commerce of weapons."
    • The Vatican later issued a clarification, arguing that the pope wasn't taking a stand on whether countries should or shouldn't send weapons to Ukraine but that his words were "a reflection on the consequences of the arms industry."
    • Francis' remarks come after Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to US lawmakers for continued military support, amid doubts from some Republicans over whether Congress should supply more weapons to Kyiv. Ukraine's leader said: "If we don't get the aid, we will lose the war."
    • Last September, the pope contributed to a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine involving nearly 300 people, while the Vatican claims it's also currently engaged in a secret peace mission to end the months-long war.


    Pro-establishment narrative

    After suggesting the war in Ukraine was a consequence of NATO "barking at Russia's gate" and subsequently offending Ukraine by invoking the enlightened Russian empire, the pope is now denigrating the weapons industry as a key driver of the "martyrdom" of Ukraine's people. Francis should take greater care before sharing his political opinion as, in his own words, the Catholic Church is "not a political organization."

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Pope Francis has condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, made countless appeals to end the war, and repeatedly offered to mediate a peace process throughout the conflict. It's disappointing that the pontiff, who rightly calls out those producing weapons of war as merchants of death, is under fire for stating the truth — that the Ukrainians are paying the price for the greed of western nations and the actions of the arms industry.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 36% chance that the next Russian leader will disapprove of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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