“Rivers of blood and tears are flowing in Ukraine,” Pope Francis lamented today after praying the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. “It is not merely a military operation, but a war, which sows death, destruction, and misery.
“The number of victims is increasing, as are the people fleeing, especially mothers and children. The need for humanitarian assistance in that troubled country is growing dramatically by the hour. I make a heartfelt appeal for humanitarian corridors to be genuinely secured, and for aid to be guaranteed and access facilitated to the besieged areas, in order to offer vital relief to our brothers and sisters oppressed by bombs and fear.”
In addition to his appeal for the opening of routes of safe passage, the Pope said that two Cardinals went to Ukraine in recent days to assist in providing humanitarian and spiritual needs of the people. He pledged the Holy See to assist in every possible way and concluded his remarks by praying with the crowd.
“The Holy See is ready to do everything, to put itself at the service of this peace,” the Holy Father said. “In these days, two Cardinals went to Ukraine, to serve the people, to help. Cardinal Krajewski, the Almoner, to bring aid to the needy, and Cardinal Czerny, interim Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The presence of the two Cardinals there is the presence not only of the Pope but of all the Christian people who want to get closer and say: ‘War is madness! Stop, please! Look at this cruelty!’
“I thank all those who are taking in refugees. Above all, I implore that the armed attacks cease and that negotiation – and common sense – prevail. And that international law be respected once again!
“And I would also like to thank the journalists who put their lives at risk to provide information. Thank you, brothers and sisters, for this service! A service that allows us to be close to the tragedy of that population and enables us to assess the cruelty of a war. Thank you, brothers and sisters.
“Let us pray together for Ukraine: we have its flags in front of us. Let us pray together, as brothers and sisters, to Our Lady, Queen of Ukraine. Hail Mary…”