Vatican Laments “tragic scenes” Taking Place in Ukraine after Russia’s Attack

Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Daniel Ibanez/CNA

The Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin lamented on Thursday the “tragic scenes” taking place in Ukraine after Russia’s attack, and said wisdom is needed to save the world “from the folly and horrors of war.”

“The tragic scenes which everyone feared are unfortunately becoming reality,” Parolin said in a video statement on Feb. 24, after Ukrainian officials reported that Russia had launched a full-scale invasion of their country.

Parolin added that Pope Francis’ appeal on Wednesday for “peaceful coexistence” in the region “acquires a dramatic urgency after the beginning of Russian military operations in Ukrainian territory.”

Starting in the early morning on Feb. 24, Russian military breached the border of Ukraine at several points. Russian shelling and missile strikes on military headquarters and airfields were also reported.

Ukrainian officials said, as of almost 3:00 p.m. local time, that Russia had carried out 203 attacks across the country since before dawn, according to Reuters.


In his statement, Parolin said despite the news coming out of Ukraine, there was still hope that with the exercise of wisdom, peace could prevail.

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“There is still time for good will, there is still room for negotiation, there is still room for the exercise of a wisdom that prevents the prevalence of partisan interests, protects the legitimate aspirations of each and spares the world from madness and saves the world from the folly and horrors of war,” he said.

“As believers, we do not lose hope for a glimmer of conscience from those who hold in their hands the fortunes of the world,” the cardinal said. “And we continue to pray and fast — as we will do this coming Ash Wednesday — for peace in Ukraine and throughout the entire world.”

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During his public audience on Feb. 23, Pope Francis called for March 2, Ash Wednesday, to be a day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine.

Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.