Pope Francis last week told editors of the European cultural magazines of the Society of Jesus that, in his opinion, World War III had been declared, it was reported Tuesday by La Civilta Cattolica.
Perhaps Russia's invasion of Ukraine was provoked or not prevented, the Argentine-born pontiff was also quoted as saying.
A few years ago it occurred to me to say that we were living a Third World War in pieces. Now, for me, the Third World War has been declared. And this is an aspect that should make us reflect. What is happening to humanity that has had three world wars in a century? Francis wondered.
We have to move away from the normal pattern that Little Red Riding Hood was good and the wolf was bad. Something global is emerging, with very intertwined elements, he added.
The Pope also said a head of state he had met before the start of the war had told him that someone was barking at Russia's doorstep, someone who did not understand that Russians are imperial and they don't allow any foreign power to come near them.
That head of state knew how to read the signs of what was happening, Francis explained.
For Francis, it is not wise to focus solely on the brutality and ferocity with which this war is being waged by troops, usually mercenaries sent by the Russians, which is something monstrous, when the world does not see the drama that unfolds behind this war, which perhaps in some way was provoked or not prevented.
The Catholic chief also condemned the fact that at some point the conflict seemed merely a question of testing and selling weapons, because basically this is what is at stake.
Regarding criticism that he was somehow siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Francis said it was simplistic and wrong to say such a thing; but I am simply against reducing complexity to the distinction between good and evil, without thinking about the roots and interests, which are very complex.
What we have before our eyes is a situation of world war, of global interests, of arms sales and geopolitical appropriation, which is martyring a heroic people, the Pope said about Ukrainians.
It is also true that the Russians thought it would all be over in a week. But they miscalculated. They encountered a courageous people, a people who are struggling to survive and who have a history of struggle, he added.
The Pope also underlined things were getting cold and that the world needed to focus beyond the concrete action of the moment, and see how we are going to support [the Ukrainian women] so that they do not fall into trafficking, so that they are not exploited, because the vultures are already circling around them.
The Pope also lamented that there were some Christians attached to money who end up getting bogged down in bad management of patrimony and goods and chained to an ephemeral and failed vision of life.
Francis insisted that the problem is not money itself, but rather people dazzled by the idol of wealth. When the only law is that of the calculation of profits at the end of the day, then there is no longer any stop to move on to the logic of exploitation” of people, he added.