On Ukraine war, Pope wants to move away from ‘Little Red Riding Hood pattern’
Pope Francis said Ukraine war is not a good versus evil battle
Earlier, the Pope had asked Russian Orthodox Church head to not be Putin’s ‘altar boy’
The Pope said the war in Ukraine was somehow provoked
Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic church, said the Russia-Ukraine war cannot be seen as a simplistic battle between good and evil and that the invasion of Ukraine was “perhaps somehow provoked”. The 87-year-old pontiff has largely maintained a neutral position on the Ukraine conflict, speaking out about it in terms of the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in eastern Europe. In an earlier statement, the Pope had called upon the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to not become Putin’s “altar boy”.
But now, the Pope has taken a nuanced view of the context of the crisis and decided that taking a side in this war is not as easy as it seems. “We need to move away from the usual Little Red Riding Hood pattern, in that Little Red Riding Hood was good and the wolf was the bad one,” Pope Francis told La Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit magazine. “Something global is emerging and the elements are very much entwined,” he said.
Also Read | Pope says traditionalist Catholics "gag" church reforms
The interview with La Civilta Cattolica happened last month and was published on Tuesday. Francis said that he met a head of state nearly two months before the war, who he did not name, but described as “a wise man who speaks very little, a very wise man indeed.” The Pope said the “wise man” told him that he was worried how NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was moving.
“I asked him why, and he replied: ‘They are barking at the gates of Russia. They don’t understand that the Russians are imperial and cannot have any foreign power getting close to them.’”. “We do not see the whole drama unfolding behind this war, which was perhaps, somehow either provoked or not prevented.”
The Pope’s message is an indictment of the West’s narrativization of the Ukraine war which seeks to cast Russia as the soul aggressor. Pope Francis said he was not “pro-Putin” and that “it would be simplistic and wrong to say such a thing.”
The head of the Roman Catholic church further said Russia had miscalculated its move to invade Ukraine. “It’s also true that the Russians thought it will all be over in a week. They encountered a brave people, a people who are struggling to survive and who have a history of struggle.”
On Tuesday morning, Pope Francis said the invasion of Ukraine is a violation of the country’s right of self-determination. “The war in Ukraine has now been added to the regional wars that for years have taken a heavy toll of death and destruction,” the Pope said, in his message for the Roman Catholic church’s World Day of the Poor.