Pope Francis: Visit to Kyiv not likely anytime soon

Pope Francis greets 80,000 teens on pilgrimage in St. Peter’s Square on April 18, 2022. Pope Francis greets 80,000 teens on pilgrimage in St. Peter’s Square on April 18, 2022. | Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Pope Francis has expressed doubts that he will travel to Kyiv anytime soon, a prospect he had discussed with journalists during his recent travels to and from Malta.

“I cannot do anything that puts higher objectives at risk, which are the end of the war, a truce or, at least, a humanitarian corridor," the pope said in an interview published in La Nacion.

"What good would it do for the pope to go to Kyiv if the war continued the next day?” he told the newspaper.

Pope Francis earlier this month was asked about the possibility of traveling to Ukraine's capital, an idea he said was "on the table."

"It’s there as one of the proposals that has come in, but I don’t know if it can be done, if it’s worthwhile to do it and if doing it will be for the best, or if it will be useful and I should do it," he said aboard the papal flight April 3 returning from Malta.

In the same interview with La Nacion, Pope Francis said a meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill will no longer take place as planned.

The summit, which would have been the second meeting of the pope and patriarch, was expected to take place in Jerusalem in June, during the pope’s June 12 trip to Lebanon.

“I regret that the Vatican has had to cancel a second meeting with Patriarch Kirill,” Pope Francis said in the interview published in La Nacion

The pope said his relationship with Kirill is “very good,” but “our diplomacy understood that a meeting of the two of us at this time could cause a lot of confusion.”

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