Archbishop: Vatican’s approach to Russia “naive and utopian”

Vatican's approach “naive and utopian.”

In an interview with the Polish Catholic news agency KAI, the president of Poland’s Catholic bishops’ conference has said that the Vatican’s approach to Russia is “naive and utopian”.

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, 72, was asked about his meeting with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, following a May 17-20 visit to Ukraine.

Gądecki (pictured) told KAI: “In my opinion, the Vatican’s approach to Russia should change to a more mature one, since the past and present approach seems very naive and utopian.

“Of course, the goal of establishing contacts and dialogue is noble, which is based on the fact that Russia is big and deserves respect. But this is not accompanied by sufficiently serious reflection on the Vatican’s part.”

He went on: “For Russia, the Vatican is an important entity, but at the same time, it should be humiliated, as Putin himself has shown several times by being intentionally late by several hours for a scheduled meeting with the pope.”

Gądecki was referring to meetings between the Russian president and the pope at the Vatican in 2013, 2015 and 2019. Putin was reportedly 50 minutes late for the papal audience in 2013, 70 minutes late in 2015 and nearly an hour late in 2019.

The archbishop added: “The Holy See should understand that in its relations with Russia it should be more cautious to say the least, because, from the experience of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, it seems that lying is second nature to Russian diplomacy.”

Gadecki acknowledged that the Vatican knew Christians were fighting on both sides of the war. However, he also noted that the Vatican normally does not point to an aggressor.

“Yet today, in a situation of war, it’s crucially important the Holy See supports Ukraine at all levels and isn’t guided by utopian thoughts,” said Archbishop Gadecki.

The archbishop told KAI the Polish delegation had seen buildings destroyed by Russian tank fire outside the massacre towns of Irpin and Bucha, near Kyiv. He said he had witnessed similar destruction during visits to Iraq and Syria. The mass graves reminded him of Russia’s 1940 massacre of interned Polish army officers at Katyn.

“When I prayed at places where dead people on the proscribed lists were buried and later exhumed, I had the sad thought that human civilisation isn’t really making any progress,” Archbishop Gadecki said.

“We’ve heard so many declarations and incantations over recent decades about such crimes no longer being possible given the present level of civilisation, but murdering people has turned out to be just as possible as before … As soon as a political leader appears with strength and determination to destroy his opponents, he’ll do so, and no one can stop him.”


Catholic News Agency

National Catholic Reporter


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