Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has called for the military escalation between Russia, Ukraine, and the West to cease immediately, telling the Italian press that the Church is ready and willing to facilitate constructive dialogue between the two nations.
While speaking with several Italian media outlets—and when asked about the possibility of the Russia-Ukraine conflict expanding to other areas of the continent—Cardinal Parolin outlined the Holy See’s official position on the conflict, saying: “I don’t even dare to think. That would be a catastrophe of gigantic proportions… We must avoid any escalation, end the clashes and negotiate.”
“First of all, the military attack, the tragic consequences of which we have all already experienced, must be stopped immediately,” the Catholic prelate asserted. “I would like to remember the words of Pius XII of August 24, 1939, a few days before the outbreak of the Second World War: ‘People should come back to their senses.’”
“I take this opportunity to renew the urgent call made by the Holy Father during his visit to the Russian Embassy to the Holy See to stop fighting and return to negotiations,” Parolin said in the interview.
“First of all, the military attack, the tragic consequences of which we have all already experienced, must be stopped immediately,”
Cardinal Pietro Parolin noted that, for years now, the Vatican has “constantly, discreetly and closely followed events in Ukraine and has offered its willingness to facilitate dialogue with Russia,” adding that the Holy See is “always ready to help the parties to return to this path”.
“We must avoid any escalation, stop the war and negotiate,” Parolin declared. “The eventual return to a new cold war with two opposing blocs is also a disturbing scenario.”
The cardinal then expressed that he’s convinced there is still plenty of room for negotiations, adding: “It is never too late, because the only reasonable and constructive way to settle the differences is through dialogue.”
Refusing to apportion blame to either side, the Vatican Secretary of State concluded his statements with diplomatic words, calling for both actors to embrace policies of mutual understanding and cooperation.
Once again we see that mutual communication and listening are needed to fully know and understand the reasons of others. When we stop communicating and listening to each other sincerely, we look at each other with suspicion and we end up exchanging only mutual accusations.
The developments of the last few years and, in particular, of the last few months have done nothing but fuel mutual deafness leading to open conflict.
The aspirations of each country and their legitimacy must be the subject of a common reflection, in a wider context and, above all, taking into account the choices of the citizens themselves and in compliance with international law.”
The interviews—conducted by the widely read Italian newspapers Il Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, La Stampa, and Il Messaggero—took place last week, hours after Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine began.
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.