In a conversation with editors of Jesuit journals published by the Italian periodical, La Civiltà Cattolica, Pope Francis lamented the outbreak of what he calls a 'Third World War' and criticized NATO's role in the conflict.
The Pope says that, months before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he had spoken with a head of state who was concerned about NATO's movements. According to Pope Francis, this anonymous leader believed 'NATO was barking at Russia's doorstep.'
Yet the Pope denied that he is backing Putin, and denounced the 'brutality' and 'ferocity' of the Chechen and Syrian mercenaries recruited by the Kremlin.
He asks how it is possible that people have lived through “three world wars” in less than a century, a “calamity,” he says, that only benefits arms merchants.
The Pope then pondered what will happen to people like the wives of the two Ukrainian soldiers he met after one of his General Audiences once society's enthusiasm to help them runs dry.
As he mentioned on his return flight from Malta, Pope Francis recalled the sorrow he feels each November 2 when he visits cemeteries of fallen World War II soliders, as he did in Redipuglia in 2014, in Anzio in 2017 and at the French military cemetery in Rome in 2021.