"Speak out forcefully" against "abominable actions" in Ukraine: Pope Francis to Pilgrims

null. Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Pope Francis on Tuesday sent a message to participants in an interreligious pilgrimage of solidarity with Ukraine.

The event, organized by the Elijah Interfaith Institute, took place in the town of Chernivtsi, which is in southwest Ukraine, around 25 miles from the border with Romania. 

“I thank you for the initiative of this moment of prayer and fraternity between followers of the different religions, which contributes to strengthening the sense of responsibility of believers before a war that contradicts all those efforts made in past decades to build a world with fewer weapons and greater peace,” Pope Francis said.

He said “the present moment leaves us deeply troubled, because it is marked by the forces of evil.”

“The suffering inflicted on so many frail and defenseless persons,” he continued, “the many civilians massacred and the innocent victims among the young; the desperate plight of women and children ... All this troubles our consciences and obliges us not to keep silent, not to remain indifferent before the violence of Cain and the cry of Abel, but instead to speak out forcefully in order to demand, in the name of God, the end of these abominable actions.”


Quoting from his encyclical Fratelli tutti, he said, “the atrocious and grievous events that we have witnessed now for all too many days confirm that ‘war is a failure of politics and of humanity, a shameful capitulation, a stinging defeat before the forces of evil.’”

Pope Francis also conveyed his spiritual closeness to pilgrimage participants, and said he is grateful to those people who have been “true neighbors” to Ukrainians, by welcoming those who have been forced to abandon their homes and families.

“May the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of life always be the firm principles that guide and direct our commitment to fraternity,” he said.

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.