20 March 2022 | Angelus


Saint Peter's Square

After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, unfortunately, the violent aggression against Ukraine has
not stopped, a senseless massacre where slaughter and atrocities are repeated
every day. There is no justification for this! I plead with all those who are involved
in the international community to truly be committed to putting an end to this
abhorrent war.
Again this week, 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; another had a head injury… innocent children. I think of
the millions of Ukrainian refugees who have to flee, leaving everything behind, and
I feel a great pain for those who do not even have the opportunity to escape. Many
grandparents, sick and poor people separated from their own families. Many
children and fragile people are left to die under the bombs, without being able to
receive help and without finding 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 defenceless human life, which should be respected
and protected, not eliminated, and which 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 has remained in Kyiv since the beginning of the
war along 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
is being done, not only now during the emergency, but also in the weeks and
months to come. Because you know that at first, we all do everything we can to
welcome, but then the habit of it cools our hearts somewhat, and we forget. 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. […]