Peace in Europe and Ukraine were key topics today when Pope Francis received in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, His Excellency Mr. Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
The cordial discussions, held in the Secretariat of State, were devoted to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and to security and peace in Europe.
In this context, the parties focused primarily on the situation of Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons, and their humanitarian assistance.
Poland and the Catholic Church in Poland have played a key role in providing a safe haven for refugees from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to the United Nations, Poland has received more than two million refugees from the war.
The Holy Father received the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. A key point was how to aid Ukrainian refugees who have fled the Russian invasion, with Poland being the primary destination. They also discussed those who illegally try to cross the Polish border from the side of Belarus.
During the meeting with the Holy Father, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki also touched upon the subject of the so-called “German synodal road”, to which, as the Pope himself noted, he has a great distance, seeing in it a turn towards Protestantization of the Church, which is often opposed by Protestants themselves.
While visiting the Vatican Radio, the Metropolitan of Poznań assured of Francis ‘great appreciation for Poles’ openness to accepting refugees from Ukraine, but also drew attention to the need for assistance in the long term, when their stay would be prolonged and become a certain nuisance. Archbishop Gądecki also noted that churches in Poland remain open to the celebration of the Eastern rite.
Andrzej Sebastian Duda, born May 16, 1972, is a Polish lawyer and politician who has served as President of Poland since 2015. Prior to assuming the presidency, he was elected to the Sejm from 2011 to 2014 and European Parliament from 2014 until 2015.
Duda was the presidential candidate for the Law and Justice (PiS) party during the 2015 presidential election in May 2015. In the first round of voting, Duda received 5,179,092 votes—34.76% of valid votes. In the second round of voting, he officially received 51.55% of the vote, defeating the incumbent president Bronisław Komorowski, who received 48.45% of the vote. On 26 May 2015, Duda resigned his party membership and the European Parliament as the president-elect.
On 24 October 2019, he received official support from PiS ahead of his re-election campaign in 2020. He finished first in the first round and then went on to defeat Rafał Trzaskowski in the runoff with 10,440,648 votes, or 51.03% of the vote.