Why the Pope Wants Ukraine to Show the ‘White Flag’

Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter’s Square on June 7, 2023.
Grzegorz Galazka/Archivio Grzegorz Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Why the Pope Wants Ukraine to Show the ‘White Flag’

“The strongest one is the one who looks at the situation, thinks about the people, and has the courage of the white flag, and negotiates,” said Pope Francis, according to Swiss broadcaster rsi in an interview published on March 9. “When you see that you are defeated, that things are not going well, you have to have the courage to negotiate.”

Francis’s comments caused uproar around the world and were interpreted as a call for Ukraine to surrender. A Vatican spokesman later clarified that the pope did not call on Ukraine to cease fighting but rather to seek negotiation. But even that perplexed many.

A few months ago, Ukraine was in a better negotiating position. Recently it has suffered many setbacks, weakening its position. Why didn’t the pope call on Russia to surrender a few months ago? Why is he addressing Ukraine now?

On March 10, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on social media: “Our flag is a yellow and blue one. This is the flag by which we live, die and prevail. We shall never raise any other flags.”

Russia was pleased with the pope’s comments.

“It is quite understandable that [the pope] spoke in favor of negotiations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on March 11. “Unfortunately, both the statements of the pope and the repeated statements of other parties, including ours, have recently received absolutely harsh refusals.”

Unmoved by the criticism, Francis said on March 13 in St. Peter’s Square: “Many young people, many young people go to die [in war]. Let’s pray to the Lord to give us the grace to overcome this madness of war, which is always a defeat.”

History shows that appeasing Russia doesn’t lead to peace but to more and bigger wars. Pope Francis’s comments must be seen in a different context. In “Whose Side Is the Pope On?”, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote:

In 2013, Russia prepared to invade Ukraine for the first time. Many expected Pope Francis to speak out against Vladimir Putin and the war because he speaks loudly on causes he is passionate about, and Ukraine’s Catholics are overwhelmingly pro-European. Instead, the news media were left to puzzle over his silence.

In 2015, as tension over Ukraine worsened, Putin traveled to the Vatican and met with the pope. Did these two come to some kind of agreement?

Just before the invasion of Ukraine, this cooperation continued and Mr. Flurry wrote: “Russia has the largest population of Eastern Orthodox Christians and, by some counts, the second-largest Christian denomination. Has Putin promised some kind of restoration between the Russian Orthodox Church and Rome in exchange for papal support in Ukraine?”

The Bible prophesies Russia will expand its territory (Ezekiel 38) and the Catholic Church will regain control over its daughter churches (Isaiah 47). We will soon see these prophecies fulfilled.

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