Cardinal Parolin: Kyiv and Moscow informed of Holy See's peace mission
On the sidelines of a book presentation, the Cardinal Secretary of State expresses “surprise” at the words of Russian and Ukrainian officials who said they were unaware of the Vatican peace initiative the Pope mentioned during his flight back from Budapest.
Reiterating Pope Francis’ tireless appeal to put an end to the conflict in Ukraine, Cardinal Pietro Parolin said it is a top priority to try to “Find points of agreement and put an end to this massacre that is strongly affecting Ukraine, but also has significant implications for Russia".
The Cardinal, who was answering questions put to him by journalists after the presentation of a book, responded to one reporter who recalled the Pope’s words during his flight back to the Vatican after his three-day apostolic visit to Hungary on Sunday evening.
“I am willing to do whatever needs to be done. Also, there is a mission going on now, but it is not public yet. Let's see how ... When it is public I will talk about it,” the Pope said.
Subsequently, officials of both the governments of Moscow and Kyiv governments responded saying they were not aware of this Vatican initiative, nor had they had any specific communication.
Surprised by the reaction
"The Pope said that there will be a mission that will be announced when it is public, and I repeat this,” Cardinal Parolin said, adding that he would not give further details.
He also expressed “surprise” at the reaction of Russia and Ukraine since, he said, "to my knowledge, they were and are aware" on both sides.
"As far as I know, they know, the Vatican Secretary of State continued, noting that “amidst the maze of bureaucracy it may be that communications do not get where they are supposed to.”
Personal interpretations aside, he repeated: “I know that both parties have been informed”.
Cardinal Parolin also answered a question regarding the presence of the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan at the General Audience on Wednesday and he defined it as unrelated.
He said the fact that Metropolitan Anthony Volokslamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate was greeted by the Pope after the Audience, "has nothing to do" with this mission.
The meeting "falls within the normal communications that there are" also with the heads of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the Cardinal explained.
Commenting on continued fighting and a recent drone attack on the Kremlin, which has generated mutual accusations between Russia and Ukraine of terrorism, the Cardinal said "All acts of war, especially if they serve to create a more hostile climate, certainly do not bring peace any closer."
"I don't know if there are the conditions today for a ceasefire. Let's hope... I believe that this initiative - if there will be one - by the Vatican should also go in that direction,” and he explained the hope is that a cessation of fighting might take place and then the start of a peace process.