Pope Francis chastised for pro-Russian stance

Pope Francis criticised

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, has publicly criticised Pope Francis for his pro-Russian stance.

Ukraine’s Eastern Rite Catholic bishops echoed Podolyak’s comments.

Podolyak firmly rejected any notion of the Vatican mediating in the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine and hinted at possible Russian influence within the Vatican bank.

Podolyak’s criticism stems from Pope Francis’ remarks during a video conference with Russian Catholic youth in St Petersburg, where the Pope praised the legacy of “Great Mother Russia.”

Despite the Pope’s subsequent clarification that he was referring to culture rather than imperialism, Podolyak remained unconvinced.

He argued that the Pope’s position in effect supports Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which are causing harm to Ukrainian citizens.

Furthermore, Podolyak suggested that financial considerations may be influencing the Pope’s stance, hinting at potential Russian investments in the Vatican bank.

However, no specific evidence was provided to support this claim.

Disappointment and pain

While Pope Francis has expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people throughout the conflict, he has refrained from directly condemning Russia or President Vladimir Putin.

This approach has not only drawn criticism from Ukrainian officials but also disappointed members of his Catholic flock in Ukraine.

The bishops of Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church, the largest of the Eastern churches in communion with Rome, have voiced concerns about the Pope’s statements. They expressed disappointment and pain over the Pope’s remarks.

The bishops believe the comments are being exploited by Russian propaganda to justify its actions in Ukraine.

The bishops’ statement said they told the pope that certain statements and gestures of “the Holy See and Your Holiness are painful and difficult for the Ukrainian people, who are currently bleeding in the struggle for their dignity and independence.”

The statement quoted the pope as telling the bishops: “The fact that you doubted whom the pope is with was particularly painful for the Ukrainian people. I want to assure you of my solidarity with you and constant prayerful closeness. I am with the Ukrainian people.”


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