After Ukraine controversy, Pope again condemns ‘madness of war’

By Thomson Reuters Mar 13, 2024 | 4:20 AM

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Wednesday issued a fresh condemnation of all wars, days after irking Kyiv and Western capitals for appearing to suggest that Ukraine should surrender and negotiate peace with its Russian invader.

Francis had told Swiss broadcaster RSI that Ukraine should “show the courage of the white flag” and open talks with Russia, but his deputy Cardinal Pietro Parolin clarified in a Tuesday interview that Russia should first halt its aggression.

“Many young people, many young people go to die (in war). Let’s pray the Lord to give us the grace to overcome this madness of war, which is always a defeat,” the pope said during his weekly audience in St Peter’s Square.

He did not specifically mention Ukraine or any other conflict zones, but said he had earlier received a rosary and a copy of the Gospels that belonged to a man killed on an unspecified war front.

Francis, who is 87 and hampered by mobility and respiratory issues, for the third week in a row limited his speaking at the weekly audience, leaving it to an aide to read most of his prepared texts.

He told the faithful he still had “a bit of a cold”.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini, Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)