story

Pope: Vatican Involved in Russia-Ukraine Peace Mission

    Pope: Vatican Involved in Russia-Ukraine Peace Mission
    Last updated May 01, 2023
    Image credit: AP Photos [via NBC News]

    Facts

    • On Sunday, Pope Francis said the Vatican was engaged in a secret peace mission in an attempt to bring an end to the Russia-Ukraine war.[1]
    • "I am willing to do everything that has to be done," the pope said aboard the Papal Plane following a three-day visit to Hungary. "I think that peace is always made by opening channels. You can never achieve peace through closure."[2]
    • The pope added he would do "all that is humanly possible" to reunite families amid allegations Russia has illegally deported Ukrainian children from Ukraine. "All human gestures help. Gestures of cruelty don't help," Francis said.[3]
    • This comes after Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met the pope at the Vatican on Thursday seeking "help in getting back children taken by force by Russia" and finding ways to restore peace, including a proposed plan put forward by Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy.[4]
    • In September, the pope — who has repeatedly criticized Russia throughout the war — was involved in a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine involving nearly 300 people, including 215 Ukrainians and 55 Russians, and pro-Moscow Ukrainians.[5]
    • Pope Francis has often appealed for dialogue between Russia and Ukraine since the conflict started. However, he allegedly refers to Ukrainians as "people who are martyred" and once previously labeled the Chechens and Buryats — Russian ethnic minority groups — the "cruelest" fighters operating in Ukraine.[6]

    Spin

    Narrative A

    Pope Francis has explicitly condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and made countless appeals to end the war. Since the pope has previously engaged in a number of prisoner swaps and negotiations, his latest attempt to reconcile Russia and Ukraine is significant. It could bring positive results in ending an absurd and cruel war.

    Narrative B

    The pope has repeatedly offered to mediate a peace process throughout the conflict to no avail. So what's different to make us believe his efforts would succeed this time? Moreover, when he describes the war as Russian expansionism and imperialism and he holds the Ukrainian flag, it's clear which side of the conflict he sides with.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 50% chance the Catholic Church will elect a new pope by April 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our newsletter!