International Highlight. Friday 6 March 2015. Person Responsible: Javier González

“Assaulted by Moscow and Abandoned by Rome”, Ukrainians resist

In Latin America, an expression of perplexity similar to that shown by Ukrainians in relation to some of Pope Francis’ diplomatic moves has been shown by Cubans both on and off the island, and also among many freedom-loving Latin Americans.

1. On 4 February, at the end of a general interview, Pope Francis referred to a “horrible fratricide war” raging  in Ukraine. However, no reference was made, not even an allusion, to what Ukrainians consider to be the root cause of the problem, for so many reasons: the military aggression directed by Putin’s Russia against Ukraine. Pope Francis thus put aggressors and victims on a par.

2. The uneasiness, the sadness and the feeling of being orphaned are now well felt in Ukraine and also in Ukrainian communities throughout the world.

3. In Italy, well-known Vaticanists mention this general ill-feeling in press articles. Italian Vaticanist Sandro Magister sums up, in the title of an article published in Italian weekly “L’Espresso”, what many Ukrainian Catholic faithful have felt, and continue to feel, about the apparent omission by the Pontiff: “Assaulted by Moscow and Abandoned by Rome.” Mr Magister also explains that “in a Ukraine occupied by the Russians, once again the Catholics are facing persecution; but for them, Pope Francis has had no words of consolation: only of reprimand.”

4. With this statement, Pope Francis has shown “special consideration for Russia, something that has already been seen when war broke out in Syria: he called a day of prayer and fasting to avoid the armed intervention of the United States and France against the regime in Damascus, and Vladimir Putin had publicly praised him”, says Mr Magister, who added that: “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, together with armed occupation of the Eastern territory and the annexation of the Crimea had left the Pope somewhat indifferent, and this has been unbearable for the feelings of all Catholic Ukrainians, especially bearing in mind that these words uttered by Pope Francis I have brought applause from Moscow: this time not from Putin but rather from the Orthodox patriarch Kirill, who also has jurisdiction over the Orthodox people in Ukraine.”

5. Mr Magister completes his statement by saying “the persecution of the Soviet regime, that has afflicted Ukrainian Catholics, is by no means recent: after the Second World War, the Church was quite literally wiped out, with many martyrs having been assassinated in the cruellest possible ways: crucified, buried alive, or drowned in boiling water”.

6. The full article by Sandro Magister, translated into Spanish, can be seen in the link: At the end of the article by this Vaticanist, there are some links to the statement made by Pope Francis I and also several critical analyses about an issue of such importance, yet which is largely unknown to the American public.

7. In Latin America, there is a similar situation of perplexity of Ukrainians in relation to certain moves of Pope Francis’ diplomacy, which is shown among Cubans both on and off the island, and also among many freedom-loving Latin Americans. Former Cuban political prisoner Armando Valladares, in an article by the title of “The Obama-Francis Axis: Cuba, Sleights-of-Hand and Confusion”, he says: “It is extremely painful to say it, but the boot with which Castro continues to crush Cubans on the island now has a high-ranking endorsement. Unfortunately, the statements, deeds and gestures of Francis favor the oppression of the Cuban people and a leftward shift in Latin America. In this regard we might be faced with a pontificate marked by confusion and even chaos, with disturbing consequences for the political, social and Christian future of the Americas.”

8. Armando Valladares’ full article “The Obama-Francis Axis: Cuba, Sleights-of-Hand an Confusion” can be accessed through the link:

9. We also recommend that you read the International Highlight editorial: “Obama–Francis: rescuing the Cuban people or their dictatorship?” in which a key question is raised: “The question we now ask is if this mediation by the Pope, and this pipe of peace that is being smoked by Obama and the Castro brothers –a sui generis mixture of Vatican incense with Obamaesque humus with a touch of true Castrism – would be a way to rescue the Cuban people or the Cuban Communist tyrants.”

The full editorial “Obama–Francis: rescuing the Cuban people or their dictatorship?” can be read through the link:


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