Cardinal Zuppi heads to Ukraine, tasked by Pope Francis with “listening in depth to the Ukrainian authorities about possible ways to achieve a just peace.”
By Vatican News
Cardinal Matteo Zuppi begins a mission in Kyiv today, Monday 5th June, aimed at “easing tensions in the conflict in Ukraine”. The Cardinal, who is Archbishop of Bologna and president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, will remain in Kyiv until tomorrow, Tuesday 6th. He will be in the Ukrainian capital as “Envoy of the Holy Father Francis,” reads a communiqué from the Holy See.
The same note underlines that ”This is an initiative whose main purpose is to listen in depth to the Ukrainian authorities about possible ways to achieve a just peace and to support gestures of humanity that will help ease tensions”.
The news of Zuppi’s appointment was released by the Vatican Press Office on the 20th May. Previously, the Pope himself had spoken of a peace “mission” for the tormented Eastern European country. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, went on to explain that this is not a mission that has “mediation as its immediate aim”, but that it has the objective of “trying above all to favour the atmosphere, to favour an environment that can lead to paths of peace”. The ”interlocutors will be Moscow and Kyiv for the moment, then we will see”, Parolin added, pointing out that in this dialogue “we do not want to exclude anyone.”
Finally, Zuppi himself, during the concluding press conference of the Permanent Council of the Italian Episcopal Conference, had reiterated the objective of his mission, emphasising that the Pope has been involved in the year-and-a-half conflict in Ukraine “to the point of tears”.