The United States Ambassador to the Vatican, Joe Donnelly, confirmed that he has encouraged Pope Francis to visit Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.
“It would be an extraordinary moment see the Holy Father in kyiv praying with families who have lost loved oneswho have lost sons and daughters on the battlefield, for the Holy Father to visit bushingwhere the Russians tortured and murdered people. That’s the kind of moral leadership that would have an incredible impact around the world.and I think it would also be an extraordinarily powerful moment for the papacy,” the diplomat said on the Inside the Vatican podcast, according to the site. americamagazine.org.
The representative of the Government of Joe Biden said that the same message has been transmitted to the officials of the Holy See with whom he has contact.
“I have also encouraged them not to tie themselves down. What I mean by that, the discussions you hear here say, ‘Well, the Pope can’t go to Ukraine unless he goes to Russia too.’ What you do is you offer to go, you offer to go to Russia. Russia has clearly said that they do not want (the pope) to go. (The pope) has already made his offer. If (Russia) says that he doesn’t want you to go, then you shouldn’t just say, “Well, now I can’t go to Ukraine, because [Rusia] He doesn’t want me to go,” he explained.
Donnelly noted that the people of Ukraine have great faith in the Bishop of Rome.
“I think it is one of the strongest moral statements that the world can see about what is right and what is wrong here, “he said.
During the interview with Colleen DulleDonnelly, who handed in his diplomatic credentials just in April, recalled a candid dialogue he had with the pope at the time about the decisions of Vladimir Putin and the actions that could be taken to end the bloodshed: “I said, ‘Look, Putin started this war. Putin and Russia invaded Ukraine. They have massacred the Ukrainian people. They have been tortured, raped and murdered. Russia is fighting to take Ukraine. Ukraine is struggling to survive’. What I’ve always tried to do is tell the truth, and that’s the situation we’re in.”
The diplomat acknowledged that there are situations that have already changed since the beginning of the Russian attacks on his neighbor.
”The Ukrainian army is pushing back and is succeeding in pushing the Russians back into their own country almost on a daily basis. So we are in a different situation than I was when I first spoke to the Pope, where it was a question: ‘Can they hold on and survive?’ Right now, the question is: ‘How far can the Ukrainians go? Can you bring this back to the Russian border?’” he said.
The ambassador ruled out that there is any kind of tension between the Vatican and the United States Government due to the positions on what is happening in Ukraine.
“Russia attacked. Russia invaded. Ukraine is fighting for its life. What I hope the Vatican seems to be understanding and will continue to understand is that there is no moral equivalence here. There just isn’t. And although we all want peace, It is not peace if the agreement that is reached takes away your family’s house, it takes away your town. That is not peace, that is postponing the war for another day,” he explained.
During the interview, the official highlighted the close relationship between President Biden and Pope Francis.
“I think they have a great relationship. They get along extraordinarily well, they talk to each other. You’ll laugh at this: When I was with the president (Biden) before I left for Rome, he gave me an envelope and said, ‘This is for the Holy Father.’ I said, ‘Okay, I’ll put it in my bag and hope I don’t forget it.’ And when I met with the Holy Father, he laughed. He said, ‘Oh, you didn’t open it!’” he recounted.