The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Pope after controversial Ukraine statement: War is madness

Following fierce criticism of his statement on raising the "white flag" in the Ukraine war, Pope Francis has not commented on the controversy. At the traditional general audience on Wednesday, the head of the Catholic Church called for general prayer against war.

"Let us pray to the Lord to give us the grace to overcome this madness of war, which is always a defeat," said the 87-year-old pontiff in front of numerous faithful in St. Peter's Square in Rome.

Statements made by the Pope in a recent interview on Swiss television sparked massive opposition worldwide. There he said: "When you see that you are defeated, that things are not going well, you have to have the courage to negotiate." When asked about calls for "the courage to surrender, the white flag", he replied: "It's a question of perspective. But I think that those who recognize the situation, who think of the people, who have the courage of the white flag to negotiate, are stronger."

It was eagerly awaited whether Francis would clarify or explain his words in the general audience. Following international criticism, the Holy See has attempted to correct the Pope's statements in recent days. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni, for example, refuted reports that the Pope had called on Ukraine to capitulate.

On Wednesday, Francis said that he had been given the rosary of a young soldier who had died on the front. "Many young people, many young people die," he said, visibly moved, and then called for prayer against war.

Once again, Francis had his speech read out by a member of staff due to his ongoing respiratory illness. He only took the floor at the end, but had to take short breaks due to a cough.


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