Archbishop Gallagher: We must think the unthinkable for peace in Ukraine

The Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations reiterates the importance of not resigning over the long-running conflict. At the conference organized by the network of UNESCO presidents in Rome, he calls for reforms in international organizations. Vatican diplomacy has the added value of compassion, he explains, and must “get its hands dirty” for the good of man.

Michel Raviart – The Vatican

“We cannot give up the long-lasting war in Ukraine, and although there is no basis for negotiations at the moment, we must keep alive the ideal of peace and the idea that this war will end. Even if it is not the end that Zelensky or Putin dreamed of. We want a just peace, but peace must come, and if necessary, we must start “thinking the unthinkable”. This was stated by Bishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary of State Relations, during the conference.“Weapons of Diplomacy”. Dialogue between the Holy See and Europe in the face of war», promoted by the Italian network of UNESCO Chairs ReCui and organized at Palazzo Altemps in Rome.

The added value of compassion

Professor Alberto Melloni, the holder of the UNESCO chair for religious pluralism and peace, reminded that the diplomacy of the Holy See has the advantage of being able to operate without any material considerations compared to other actors. Bishop Gallagher recalled that it has the added value of being the only mercy capable of breaking the chains of hatred and revenge. In this sense, the Holy See tries to eliminate differences and not to increase the gaps, it is always the person who is the ultimate beneficiary of everything. That is why the papal diplomacy “get your hands dirtyand to engage in all possible ways in favor of peace. A concrete peace, which is changing and in the making, is thus not a simple division of winners and losers, so that it binds a new virtuous process between the parties to the conflict.

Avoiding conflicts, not chasing events

At this point in history, the state relations secretary continues, diplomacy is chasing events and has lost its essence, namely the ability to prevent conflict. Ending conflicts through armed cease-fires is not appropriate, but should be an instrument of preventive unification. A process that should involve not only leaders and diplomats, but also as many actors as possible. Religions among them. A good example of this is Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, where he will be accompanied by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

The crisis of the United Nations

Above all, the Ukrainian war revealed a deep crisis in the multilateral system and in the main international organizations, especially the United Nations. After the deaths, Archbishop Gallagher noted that the biggest scandal of this war was the bombing of Kiev by a permanent member of the Security Council during the visit of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. It would be desirable to reform the activities of the organization in a more representative sense, taking into account the needs of all peoples. This requires the support of the entire international community and recovery, as Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolini has often pointed out. “Spirit of Helsinki”. The impotence of the UN, which was unthinkable a few years ago, was immediately recognized, Romano Prodi, the former president of the European Commission, who took part in the debate, reiterated, and in his opinion, peace can only be achieved with an agreement between the United States. and China.

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