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Pope Francis’s Secret Mission to End the Ukraine War

Posted on Thursday, August 31, 2023
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by AMAC Newsline
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AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis

Pope Francis

New details revealed exclusively to this author suggest that Pope Francis may be looking to history as a guide in his “secret” plan to help bring about an end to the Russia-Ukraine war. But comments from the Pope last week appearing to glorify 18th century Russian imperialism may undermine this effort.

More than 18 months after the start of the war, U.S. President Joe Biden looks increasingly unable to make any progress in bringing the bloody conflict to a close. He has failed even to form anything approaching a consensus among the American public on how the United States should approach the war, and has long since lost the confidence of America’s allies abroad.

Now, with the fighting having already resulted in at least 500,000 casualties, other world leaders are looking to play more of a role in reaching a ceasefire.

One of those leaders is Pope Francis, who has been unusually outspoken on geopolitical issues since being elected in 2013. In April, while returning from his Hungarian pilgrimage, Francis revealed that the Vatican was involved in a secret peace mission to resolve the conflict. “There is a mission in course now, but it is not yet public. When it is public, I will reveal it,” Francis told reporters.

There has been little news on Francis’s comments since then, but last Friday, Hungarian President Katalin Novak, who arrived directly from Kyiv to meet with Francis, said that the two parties involved were “closer to carrying out a project,” that she called a peace mission. Novak said that in Kyiv she had a long, direct talk with Ukrainian President Zelensky but stopped short of providing any details.

“I really hope that the moment when [Pope Francis] can act will come soon in which he will play a key role in the peace negotiations,” Novak added, also pointing to recent visits by Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, whom Francis tapped to head the Church’s Ukraine peace mission, to Kyiv, Moscow, and Washington.

Zuppi is also expected to visit China soon, suggesting that the Vatican may believe Beijing could serve as a mediator in ending the war. “We talked about it with [Francis] but I cannot reveal more,” Novak concluded.

Although the Vatican peace plan is not public, some recently revealed information has provided a rough idea of what it entails.

According to former diplomats and sources close to the discussions, who spoke with this author on the condition of anonymity, Pope Francis at the beginning of this year asked his aides for files on Cardinal Antonio Samore. In the late 1970s, Samore was appointed by Pope John Paul II to mediate a border dispute between Argentina – Francis’s homeland – and Chile, which was threatening to break out into open war.

The dispute, known as the Beagle Conflict, was over possession of lands and waters on the southern tip of South America. Of particular concern was the Beagle Channel – one of just three waterways between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean in the Southern Hemisphere. On December 22, 1978, Argentina began a military operation to occupy several islands in the disputed territory by force, a move that could have escalated the dispute into open war.

However, at the last minute, Samore was able to stave off a military engagement, and the two sides celebrated Christmas in peace.

However, Samore knew it would still be a long road to find a lasting resolution. He famously told the two sides that they would need a “bottle of wisdom, a barrel of prudence, and an ocean of patience” to reach a win-win result.

Shortly after the New Year, Samore orchestrated the signing of the Act of Montevideo, in which the two sides pledged to find a peaceful solution. Finally, five years later, on November 29, 1984, both countries signed an agreement whereby Chile would have sovereignty over the islands in dispute while Argentina’s offshore rights at the Atlantic mouth of the Beagle Channel were preserved.

Pope Francis – then still Father Bergoglio – witnessed the peaceful resolution during his first term as a Jesuit provincial superior in Argentina. It is very likely, then, not an accident that Samore’s file and documentation on the Vatican’s Beagle Channel miracle are now in Pope Francis’s studio at Domus Sanctae Marthae, his residence in Vatican City. A new encyclical, which will be promulgated in October, is also expected to lay out Pope Francis’s vision of Christian peace.

But the road to peace in Ukraine may still be mired with land mines. Last Friday, Francis, appearing to go off script in a televised address to Russian Catholic youth, praised “the great Russia of the saints, of kings, the great Russia of Peter the Great, of Catherine II, the great Russian empire, cultured, so much culture, so much humanity.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has notably compared himself to Peter the Great in the past. Empress Catherine also conquered large parts of Ukraine in the 18th century – including annexing Crimea.

The day after Francis’s comments, the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, said that the Russian tsars praised by the Pope were “the worst example of imperialism and extreme Russian nationalism.”

The Pope’s spokesman, Matteo Bruni, replied that Francis did not intend “to exalt imperialist logic.” But two diplomats familiar with the peace effort said his words would not suffice to calm Catholics in Ukraine and Central Europe shaken by his words.

Francis thus seems to have taken a step back in his quest for peace and reconciliation. But like Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Samore 45 years ago, by seeking understanding and reconciliation with a spirit of good will – as well as divine Providence – he may yet find a way to resolve a seemingly unresolvable problem.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.

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Eve
Eve
6 months ago

I am Evangelical and pray daily for peace and reconciliation in Europe.  It is time for peace founded on justice through negotiations.
Russia needs to free dozens of nations it imprisoned during the centuries. But it will not happen without their first realization that they failed these people and destroyed their cultures. The only one who understood it and even began to do something about it was Khrushchev. Kremlin removed him in its gangster style, and when he died, Pravda wrote, “Khrushchev, pensioner died.” During his funeral, the cemetery was closed under the guise of “cleaning day.” It is how much they hated him for his attempt to give even a little freedom to these nations.
Sadly, many Americans are ignorant, and propagandists, also on our side benefit from it, promoting emotionally appealing but intellectually detrimental claims. Unfortunately, until ignorance is praised, no positive change can be expected.
Pope Francis has a challenging task. I remember that John Paul II’s intervention brought peace to South America. Indeed, it was a miracle. Thanks for this article, Amac.

Natalie Swan
Natalie Swan
6 months ago

In my every prayer, I ask God for peace, especially in Europe. I will add Pope to my plea. I also remember Pope John Paul’s peace mission in the South. It was a glorious moment when these nations signed a friendship treaty. This time will be difficult, but I share this author’s conviction that peacemaking must always be pursued in the spirit of truth. God bless America. Amac. Thank you.

Margareth Lieven
Margareth Lieven
6 months ago

I am glad it is a positive news. To discuss peace in such complex circumstances requires moral courage. My prayers are with the Pope, every diplomat, and others involved. I appreciate Amac’s article, which touches on something fundamental beyond daily politics. That is the value system with a focus on peace.
I share Eve’s sentiment that Americans are ignorant about the history of that conflict. But the Author’s suggestion that Biden did next to nothing to build a consensus and improve understanding of that war is also correct. However, the pervasive anti-intellectualism of our culture saturated by emotions does not help either.
This conflict has a spiritual dimension where every believer or person morally concerned can help with a thought and prayer.

Julie S
Julie S
6 months ago

The Vatican may succeed in this mission. But pope Francis must be cautious in his statements that it would not divide these people anymore. Peace is needed, and the political class will not achieve it without help from outside. I pray that the Pope will succeed in it. Hopefully, his experienced diplomats can assist him.

Bill
Bill
6 months ago

The culture of life is critical for peace, as Ronald Reagan wrote in his famous article on abortion. The sensitivity to human suffering, let alone death, is a healthy conscience’s reaction. Is a conscience vanishing? It is a question about our values. The task of peacemaking among both sides of this conflict is tremendous.
Magic cutting of financing will not stop the war – it is already too late. Nearly 30 percent of weapons are made locally, and most importantly, Russia does not intend to withdraw from Ukraine. It still wants to take almost 20 percent of that country (if Crimea is counted).
Some people appear confident they can stop it overnight or during a week. It is unrealistic. At this moment, prayer, as someone said here, a good thought can help. 

Rik
Rik
6 months ago

The article states that Jack*ss Joe is UNABLE to bring fighting to an end! REALLY? . . . So far, what has Jack*ss Joe accomplished that was good? . . . Ehh, NOTHING!

Steve
Steve
6 months ago

It is a noble cause, and I join in prayer that God will help us. The world needs peace after the pandemic, financial turmoils, and this horrific war.

Keri
Keri
6 months ago

It would be nice if this Pope took action for the MILLIONS of unborn babies that have been killed, because of his Catholic political leaders, he still offers/gives Holy Communion too

SAW
SAW
6 months ago

The Biden boys can just send a couple million dollars to the Pope and nothing will happen…

T. G. G.
T. G. G.
6 months ago

Saudi Arabia recently made an agreement with Israel. Saudi Arabia will break that agreement and soon thereafter attack Israel. Israel will take a large chunk of Saudi territory.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
6 months ago

To end the war, all you gave to do is out-bid the billions Joe Briben sends them.

invictus
invictus
6 months ago

Pope-y should address the mega racism and nazi worship, viz, ZUkraine’s ‘azov battalion’ and other Ukraine race-hate groups festering in the place.

Ben Y.
Ben Y.
5 months ago

Pope Francis has a poor track record when dealing with international political matters. For one example, confer what Cardinal Zen has said about the outcome of Francis’ negotiation with the CCP regarding the persecution of Chinese Catholics. The persecution of Catholics in China only worsened yet Francis falsely claimed he had made things better.There are more examples I could cite that illustrate my point. I made this brief post as an orthodox Roman Catholic who is unhappy with Pope Francis.

BillBoyBaggins
BillBoyBaggins
6 months ago

The Catholic church needs to First clean up its own act.
For decades, Cardinal Law and others have covered up pedophile priest simply by transferring them to another Parish where they continued to pray on children.
It is turning into a cult from which the Antichrist will rise.

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