Pope Francis urges both help and prayers for "the martyred people of Ukraine"
Pope Francis has made countless appeals on behalf of the Ukrainian people. At the end of the general audience of June 15, he made yet another, urging people not to get used to the war as if it were a “distant thing.”
“And please, let us not forget the martyred people of Ukraine at war. Let us not get used to living as if the war were a distant thing,” he said.
“May our remembrance, our affection, our prayers and our help always be close to this people who are suffering so much and who are carrying out a true martyrdom.”
In an interview with editors of Jesuit journals published in Europe, the Pope acknowledged the complexities that lead to war. But he especially emphasized the heroism of the Ukrainian people.
Ukraine is an expert in suffering slavery and war. It is a rich country that has always been cut up, torn apart by the will of those who want to take it over and exploit it. It is as if history has predisposed Ukraine to be a heroic country. Seeing this heroism touches our hearts. A heroism that combines with tenderness! In fact when the first young Russian soldiers arrived – later they sent mercenaries – sent to carry out a “military operation,” as they said, without knowing they were going to war, it was the Ukrainian women who took care of them when they surrendered. Great humanity, great tenderness. Brave women. Brave people. A people not afraid to fight. A people hardworking and at the same time proud of their land. We keep in mind the Ukrainian identity at this time. This is what moves us: to see such heroism. I would really like to emphasize this point, the heroism of the Ukrainian people. What is before our eyes is a situation of world war, global interests, arms sales and geopolitical appropriation, which is martyring a heroic people.