(RightWing.org) – The Russian war against Ukraine has evoked calls for peace from Pope Francis since it started. The Pope has at times been stern and clear about his feelings regarding the war and his support for Ukraine’s right to defend itself from a “perverse abuse of power” by Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, in a new interview, the pontiff offered a new revelation about his thoughts on the war.
Pope Francis discussed his view with the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera that NATO might be partly to blame for Russia’s bad behavior. Despite the new revelation, the pontiff said he was doing what he could to cool heads and prevent the war from escalating further. Francis added that he sought a peace deal that both sides could agree upon before things got worse for everyone. He did admit that peace could be challenging to obtain if Putin refused his overtures.
The Pope Infers Blame on NATO
On March 18, Pope Francis made it clear that he believed Russia had attacked Ukraine’s identity, history, and tradition. He added that as a sovereign country, Ukraine had a right to defend itself from Russia’s aggression, though he avoided calling Russia an aggressor. Just a day before, the head of the Catholic church took Russia’s head of the Orthodox church to task for justifying the war and acting as a puppet of the Russian government instead of a leader for peace as a representative of Christ’s church.
On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis said Russia dragged Ukraine into a cruel and senseless war, but did not refer to Russia specifically in his address. Throughout the conflict, the pope has refused to refer to Russia’s actions as an invasion or Putin as an aggressor.
On Tuesday, May 3, the pontiff developed his line of thinking to suggest that NATO barked at Russia’s doors. Still, the Pope said he couldn’t say if NATO provoked Putin’s anger but said it certainly facilitated it, insinuating that NATO gave Putin the excuse he needed to use military force in Ukraine to stop NATO’s expansion.
What Can the Pope Do to Bring About Peace?
Seemingly comparing Russia’s invasion to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, Pope Francis asked how one could stop the brutality in Ukraine. He said one option might be to meet Putin face-to-face in Moscow. Yet, Putin has ignored the Vatican’s overtures for a meeting. Suggesting there wasn’t much he could do at this point, Pope Francis said he was resigned to the fact that he’s just a priest and would do what was possible.
Pope Francis isn’t the only one to suggest NATO might have lit the spark that facilitated Putin’s aggressive moves. Recently, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) asserted that NATO provoked Moscow by entertaining Ukraine’s potential membership in the Western military alliance. Paul might have been on solid ground. Since the 1990s, numerous US diplomats and senators believed any expansion of NATO eastward could incite Russia.
Stay tuned. This is an evolving story.
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