Pope Francis made yet another appeal for peace in Ukraine after the midday Angelus of March 20. The Holy Father mentioned his visit the day before to the Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital, to see the victims of the war – “One was missing an arm; one had a head injury … innocent children.”
He reiterated his call to the international community to “truly commit to ending this abhorrent war.” And he urged the faithful “not to get used to war and violence” and also not to let up in assisting those who need help. He invited everyone to join in the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart this Friday.
He also thanked the pastors and religious workers, and in particular, his own representative in Ukraine, for staying close to the people.
Here is what he said:
Unfortunately, the violent aggression against Ukraine does not stop, a senseless massacre where every day there is a repetition of slaughter and atrocities. There is no justification for this! I plead with all those involved in the international community to truly commit to ending this abhorrent war.
This week again missiles and bombs have fallen on civilians, the elderly, children, and pregnant mothers. I went to see the wounded children who are here in Rome. One was missing an arm; one had a head injury … innocent children.
I think of the millions of Ukrainian refugees who must flee leaving everything behind, and I feel a great pain for those who do not even have the possibility to escape. So many grandparents, sick and poor people separated from their own families, so many children and fragile people are left to die under the bombs without being able to receive help and find safety even in the air raid shelters.
All this is inhuman! Indeed, it is also sacrilegious because it goes against the sacredness of human life, especially against defenseless human life, which must be respected and protected, not eliminated, and this comes before any strategy! Let us not forget it is inhuman and sacrilegious cruelty! Let us pray in silence for those who are suffering.
It comforts me to know that the people left under the bombs do not lack the closeness of their pastors, who in these tragic days are living the Gospel of charity and fraternity. I have spoken with some of them on the phone during these days; they are close to the people of God. Thank you, dear brothers and sisters, for this witness and for the concrete support you are offering courageously to so many desperate people!
I also think of the apostolic nuncio, who was just made a nuncio, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, who since the beginning of the war has stayed in Kyiv together with his collaborators and who with his presence brings me close every day to the martyred Ukrainian people. Let us be close to this people, let us embrace them with affection, with concrete commitment and prayer.
And please, let us not get used to war and violence! Let us not tire of welcoming them with generosity as we are doing now not only during the emergency, but also in the weeks and months to come. As you know at first, we do all we can to welcome everyone, but then we can get used to it, and our hearts cool a bit, and we forget about it. Let us think of these women and children who in time, without work, separated from their husbands, will be sought out by the ‘vultures’ of society. Please, let us protect them.
I invite every community and all the faithful to unite with me on Friday 25 March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, for the Solemn Act of Consecration of humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that she, the Queen of Peace, may help us obtain peace.