«The Pope is not a naive pacifist.» Philadelphian Greek Catholic Bishop about Francis’ statements about the war

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The rhetoric of Pope Francis is becoming tougher, apparently, he is guided by evangelical truths and is growing in understanding.
photo: Tvoe Misto/Ivan Stanislavskyi

photo: Tvoe Misto/Ivan Stanislavskyi

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Borys Gudziak, Bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Philadelphia, believes that Pope Francis understands that Russia’s war against Ukraine is a sin, and his rhetoric about it is gradually getting tougher. Probably, residing in another part of the world complicates the understanding of what is happening in Ukraine today. Bishop Gudziak said this in an interview with «Tvoe Misto» media hub in frames of the program «Accents of Your City».

«The Pope is not a naive pacifist. From the other part of the globe, it’s difficult to see in detail and understand the problems of Eastern Europe and Russia. I think he is guided by evangelical truths and is growing in understanding, because his rhetoric becomes clearer in the condemnation of atrocities. I think the Pope understands that this is a sin,» – says the bishop.

The war is probably the greatest sin, because it violates almost all God’s laws, mutilates life and takes it away from thousands, and sometimes millions. Therefore, the paradox is that the Russian church leadership supports this sin, at least at the level of public statements and sermons, notes Borys Gudziak.

«How to get them to change this behaviour, to change this way of thinking, is difficult to imagine, but sooner or later it has to happen. For example, no one could imagine that the Germans would go the way they did in the 30s. The Germans themselves in 1940 could not imagine what awaited them in 1944 and 1945. In the end, Germany remains in a position of remorse and attempts to understand how this could happen in a civilization that has developed sciences, Nobel laureates, literature, art, and classical music. And here is such a terrible chauvinistic ideology, which will probably forever remain a stain on German historical memory and identity,» – the bishop believes.

Read also: Pope's last interview looks like a conversation with a person at a dead end

According to Borys Gudziak, there are almost 300 bishops in Russia, but none of them has spoken clearly against the war. Also, in the Russian Orthodox Church, there are about 25 thousand clerics – priests, deacons, of which only 293 signed a statement against the war, that is, about 1%.

In response to the question about why the Pope is going to Russia (it will be a precedent since no head of the Vatican has visited there before), and what will be the result, Borys Gudziak adds:

«Unfortunately, this society is sick, it has a pathological defect. How it will happen, whether the pope’s contacts with the Russians in Russia can affect it, it’s hard to say. But everyone who is interested in this problem should understand that we are dealing with a moral disease that cannot be cured just like that...» – the Bishop adds.

Translated by Vitalii Holich

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