Pope comments on Ukraine and health on return flight

Pope Francis has not spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin since the start of the war.

“What I told authorities everywhere has been made public,” the pope said Sunday evening during the press conference on the return flight from his trip to Malta. The last time he addressed the Russian president was in December, on the occasion of his 85th birthday.

But there were two phone calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. And he went to see the Russian ambassador to the Holy See “to ask him questions and explain my point of view”. “These are the official contacts I have had,” Francis continued. Even if Vatican diplomacy cannot reveal everything, there is no “duplicity” with him.

He complained that a “war plan” continued to prevail in thought. The defense argument and the demand for weapons also fit into this pattern, Francis continues. All war is unjust. Even if questions about “just and unjust wars” keep coming back.

At the same time, the pope reported that he was in contact with people in Ukraine, including a Vatican journalist. And he remembered the journalists killed during the war. “Let’s not forget them. They were very brave,” the 85-year-old said.

The pope would like to visit Ukraine

Pope Francis would like to visit Ukraine. He confirmed this on Sunday evening during the press conference on the return flight from Malta. “The will is always there, there is no no. I am available,” said the 85-year-old. The question is whether such a trip would make sense. “Or do you have to do them?” asked the pope. He is ready to do everything possible and the Holy See is also doing everything possible.

“The Holy See cannot publish everything it does out of prudence and restraint,” Pope Francis said. Another possibility is a trip to Poland to meet Ukrainian refugees there. Francis spoke about it with Cardinal Konrad Krajewski after his trips to the Polish-Ukrainian border. And a meeting with the Orthodox Patriarch Cyril I is also in preparation, probably in the Middle East.

Pope: My health is a bit capricious

Pope Francis says his health is unstable. “My health is in his moods,” the 85-year-old said on the flight home from his trip to Malta on Sunday evening. “I have problems with my knee and it leads to problems walking. It’s tiring, but it’s getting better,” continued the pope, who was hoisted on the plane for the first time during this trip. two days.

“At least I can walk, two weeks ago it was not possible,” the pope said. But it’s a slow business. He hopes that things move forward and not go backwards. “But at my age, you don’t know how it’s going to end. Let’s hope it ends well.” Due to difficulty walking, the pope was unable to walk in and out with other bishops during Sunday Mass in Malta, but went straight to the altar stage.

With around 490,000 inhabitants and an area of ​​nearly 316 square kilometres, Malta is the smallest country in the EU, to which it has belonged since 2004. The southern European island state consists of three inhabited islands and four uninhabited islands. At around 85%, Malta has one of the highest proportions of Catholics in the European Union. There are also few Protestants, Orthodox, Jews and Muslims.

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