After Ukraine controversy, Pope again condemns ‘madness of war’

After Ukraine controversy, Pope again condemns ‘madness of war’
After Ukraine controversy, Pope again condemns ‘madness of war’

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Francis had told Swiss broadcaster RSI that Ukraine should 'show the courage of the white flag' and open talks with Russia. — Reuters pic

VATICAN CITY, March 13 — Pope Francis issued a fresh condemnation of all wars today, days after irking Kyiv and Western capitals for appearing to suggest that Ukraine should surrender and negotiate peace with its Russian invader.

Francis had told Swiss broadcaster RSI that Ukraine should “show the courage of the white flag” and open talks with Russia, but his deputy Cardinal Pietro Parolin clarified in an interview yesterday that Russia should first halt its aggression.

“Many young people, many young people go to die (in war). Let’s pray to the Lord to give us the grace to overcome this madness of war, which is always a defeat,” the pope said during his weekly audience in St Peter’s Square.

He did not specifically mention Ukraine or any other conflict zones, but said he had earlier received a set of rosary beads and a copy of the Gospels that had belonged to a man killed on an unspecified war front.

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Sister Lucia Caram, an Argentine nun who met the pope before the audience, wrote on social media that the man was a 23-year-old Ukrainian soldier who died in Avdiivka, an eastern city captured by the Russians last month.

The rosary beads had originally been blessed by the pope, and Sister Caram returned them to the pontiff, she said, adding that Francis had kissed them and appeared moved as “he loves Ukraine and suffers for the martyrdom of this people invaded and cruelly attacked”.

Francis, who is 87 and hampered by mobility and respiratory issues, limited his speaking at the audience for the third week in a row, leaving it to an aide to read most of his prepared texts.

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He told the faithful he still had “a bit of a cold”.

Wednesday also marked the 11th anniversary of his election to the papacy. — Reuters

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